Courses & Workshops

Great Wellness Groups Returning for Fall 2017!

BALANCE is pleased to offer the following groups for fall! To sign up, call Laura Antal, Office/Intake Coordinator, at extension 0.

  1. “Sharing Space Support Group” We are so pleased that Lisa Derencinovic has agreed to return in order to facilitate her “Sharing Space Support Group” for those BALANCE clients who have not yet had an opportunity to share with others and benefit from Lisa’s experience and superb facilitation skills. When she ran this group for the first time this spring, the feedback from participants was excellent. The group is shaped around the concerns of participants, with some structured topics built in to every session. Participants will spend 12 weeks getting to know each other, sharing experiences and learning from each other.

Detailed information:

  • 12 sessions, each lasting 2 hours, please plan to arrive on time
  • First meeting: Wednesday September 6, 12:30-2:30 p.m.
  • Last meeting: Wednesday November 22, 12:30-2:30 p.m.

Discussions could include: understanding ableism, effects on self-esteem, dealing with negative emotions, and building strength and resilience.

The group will be facilitated by a registered Social Worker, Lisa Derencinovic. Lisa runs her own counselling practice specializing in working with people with disabilities. She has also facilitated many groups throughout her career. Lisa knows first-hand the experience of living with vision loss, having been diagnosed at age 4 with a genetic eye disease causing blindness.

Pre-registration required: Call Laura Monday through Thursday at 416-236-1796, extension 0. Group minimum-5, group maximum-10. First come, first served.

  1. Stress Reduction Through Breath Awareness-Introductory (same course as offered in Winter ’17)

BALANCE is pleased to offer a course in Stress Reduction through mindfulness and breathing practice, led by Fazia Ackbarali*, our Yoga Instructor.

Visually impaired adults live with daily stresses related to getting around, getting things done, accessing information, as well as the attitudes of others in society. Becoming more mindful can help with concentration and focus, and assist in the prevention of accidents and injuries. The objective of this program is to teach adults with vision loss how to manage stress using mindfulness practices, which are relaxation techniques done with breath awareness.

The course, made up of 8 sessions of 2 hours each, will cover topics such as:

Relaxation techniques

Seated/standing yoga

Seated meditation

Mindfulness in everyday activities

Body Scan

Timing:  Friday afternoons, 1-3 p.m.

Start date: September 8, 2017

End date: October 27, 2017

*Fazia has 30 years of experience in Yoga, 16 of them as an instructor. She specializes in teaching people who require adaptations to typical yoga practice.

  1. Additional course added!! Advanced Mindfulness including Pain Management

We are pleased to announce the addition of an advanced Stress Reduction course being added this fall! Graduates of the Introductory program (spring or fall) will be able to take the Advanced, or Mindfulness Part Two, which includes a pain management focus, as well as a refresher on mindfulness meditation techniques (because it’s easy to let it go when you are not attending a class regularly!); the course will include some additional techniques as well. The attendance will be limited to a maximum of 8 participants.

Dates and Times: November 10-December 15 (6 weeks), 2 hours, Fridays, 1-3 p.m.

Teacher: Fazia Ackbarali

Cost: Free of charge

Registration: call or email Laura at 416-236-1796, ext. 0

  1. About Yoga…Yoga classes are now taking place at the same location noted above! If you are interested in attending yoga classes (try it! first class is free; 20$/4 classes, $8 drop in fee), and if you have not signed up before, please call Laura at extension 0. If you have attended Yoga at the previous location, please contact Laura to set up your orientation and mobility session(s) for the new location.

Don’t forget!….Always check our website What’s New section at

for the latest information about BALANCE activities. Keep up to date, don’t be late, make sure we are on your slate!



Are you a job seeker between the ages of 18 and 30 who is legally blind?

Apply Now for our Brand New Summer Pre-Employment Program! (Only a few spots left)

Are you looking to enhance your job search techniques and walk away with the pre-employment skills needed in the job market?

This one week, intensive program will offer you the tools, resources, and insights necessary to help you to take charge of your own job search.  As such, this program will be a mix of workshops, individualized feedback, and personal one-to-one coaching to enhance self-esteem and confidence.  This course consists of two separate and unique one week programs. Both programs offer a multidisciplinary approach specifically geared to help blind and visually impaired youth highlight their strengths, and teach them how to develop new employment related skills.  You may sign up for one or both programs depending on your interest and skill level.

Dates: This program will run July 31-August 4 inclusive and August 14-18 inclusive, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily

Walk away with an action plan developed in partnership with expert faculty who have lived experience in the area of employment and vision loss!  After completion of the program, through e-mail and telephone appointments, our instructors will offer you the opportunity to receive ongoing support as you navigate your job search.

Read more details at our Blog page:

To learn more or to register, please contact Chelsea Mohler at or 416.236.1796 X.225.

New courses for Spring!

Spring Forward:  Mainstream Tech Workshops for a “Balanced” Life

When: Every second Saturday from 1:30 – 3:30 from April 8th to June 3rd

Where: The Balance office: 2340 Dundas West

Balance is pleased to offer five workshops which will focus on how to use mainstream technology to live an independent, balanced life.  Each workshop will give you an overview of the different options available, how accessible they are and how to use them in your everyday life.

  • Healthy Hints, April 8th, 2017:

    From accessible websites to apps to wearable tech and specialized products, this workshop will focus on what you can do to improve or maintain your health.  Whether you are interested in better managing your medications, adding recipes to your repertoire, tracking your calories or increasing your fitness we have something for you!

  • Online Banking, April 22nd:

    Come and understand how online banking works and how one can bank using their smart phone or PC.  Please note, due to the time limits, we cannot go into detail concerning the various institutions but can provide this detail in more one-on-one instruction.

  • Online Shopping, May 6th:

    Come learn the advantages and disadvantages of taking part in the vast online market place! Whether you are seeking out online grocery options or are just wanting to learn online stores that will allow you to purchase accessible products.  We will also cover the issue of security when shopping online.

  • The Need to Navigate, May 20th:

    There are multiple tools that can help blind and visually impaired people travel independently (E.G. Blind Square and other accessible GPS systems).  This workshop will focus on some free and inexpensive options. We will introduce the applications, briefly go over how to use them and discuss their pros and cons.

  • Smart Home Basics for VIPs (visually impaired persons!), June 3rd, 2017:

    Smart technology is rising in popularity, but did you know it can help you make inaccessible items around your home accessible and help you control them through your smart phone?   From locks to doorbells, lights to thermostats, kitchen tools to virtual personal assistants we have you covered!

Please note:

  • This is not a class. Though you are encouraged to attend all workshops, feel free to only register for the workshops that interest you.
  • The purpose of these workshops is to provide an overview of existing resources and how they can be applied in your life.  We will not necessarily give step by step instructions on how to use every feature.
  • We require at least five people registered per workshop in order to hold the event.
  • Places are very limited! First come, first serve!
  • Not a balance client? No problem!   Everyone is welcome.

For more information or to register, please contact Rosie Arcuri at 416-236-1796 or at

Get Connected with Social Media

Two Wednesdays: April 26th and May 3rd, 2-4 p.m.

Instructor: Chelsea Mohler

Have you wondered what Facebook and Twitter are but aren’t sure how to use them?  Well, BALANCE is offering a 2 part workshop on how to get connected using the Facebook and Twitter platforms.  Classes will be held once per week for 2 weeks, 2 hours per class.  If you are interested or want to learn more, please contact Chelsea at (416) 236 1796 extension 225 or

This winter BALANCE offered a range of free  group opportunities for BALANCE clients. People who are blind or partially sighed chose from the following course descriptions. These courses are going well and will be launched again in the spring.  Remember, most BALANCE courses are free for our clients.

Microsoft Excel

Wednesdays, May 10-June 14, 2017, 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Instructor: Doug Poirier

BALANCE is pleased to present a series of lessons on the power and precision of Microsoft Excel.

Prerequisites: Participants should have a good understanding of their assistive technology I.E. Screen reader/screen magnification software.
Please note: This class is not appropriate for those new to this technology.
The primary focus of this class is Microsoft Excel itself and how to use your adaptive software together with it.

Topics covered include:

  • Excel and your Access device
  • What is a spreadsheet?
  • Formatting a spreadsheet
  • Using formulas and functions
  • If analysis
  • Data forms and charts
  • Introduction to the power of macros and the Microsoft Visual Basic Editor

Participants will benefit most if  all 8 lessons are attended.

Much of the material covered in these lessons is laid out such that participants work individually through the course material.

If you would like more information or are interested in attending, please contact Doug Poirier at 416-236-1796 X224 or by Email at  When using Email, use the subject BALANCE classes.