New Partnership Supports Paid Training and Employment for Youth and Young Adults

BALANCE and CCRW (Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work) are very pleased to announce a first-time United Way-funded partnership to provide customized support to young adults living with sight loss to participate in…

Youth the Future (YTF) Scarborough!!

A Pre-employment Training Program for Youth living with disability, aged 15-30*

Youth the Future (YTF) is a pre-employment training program through the CCRW. Youth with disabilities, with barriers to employment, are provided job-readiness training and are assisted and supported to find ongoing, entry-level work in Toronto, including Scarborough.

Do You…

  • Have a SIN card?
  • Have basic reading/writing skills?
  • Have a positive attitude?

Are You…

  • Between the ages of 15-30?
  • Not on EI?
  • Unemployed?

This program includes:

6 weeks of PAID, in-class job readiness training:

  • Learn how to effectively job search
  • Interview techniques
  • Create resumes and cover letters
  • Learn all the skills and knowledge you need to be successful in today’s workplace


14 weeks of PAID employment (min 25 hours/week):

  • We support and empower you throughout the transition
  • Continuous feedback and coaching, on-the-job
  • Support to your employer
  • Weekly PAID classroom training throughout

If you live with sight loss, you will receive direct support within both the in-class and on-the-job training, from a dedicated project staff member, in addition to the support and training provided by the YTF program staff.

To learn more and/or to apply, please contact:

Cristina Lopes, Program Facilitator/Job Developer

The Insight Project

BALANCE for Blind Adults



* The YTF Program is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Skills Link program.

BALANCE Announces our Spring 2019 Group Courses and Workshops!

East End Sharing Space Support Group (ending May 31)

BALANCE is offering a Sharing Space Support Group led by Lisa Derencinovic (more info about Lisa below).
When: Friday afternoons from 2:00-4:00 PM
Where: at The Healing Collective at 2005 Danforth Avenue, on the south side of the street, less than a block from Woodbine Subway Station.

Last meeting: Friday May 31, 2019

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 visual impairment, having been diagnosed at age 4 with a genetic eye disease causing blindness.

Registration and more information: contact Radka at or (416) 236-1796 X 0.

Relax and Learn: Anxiety and Stress Management Course (April 29, 6 weeks)

Do you feel overwhelmed and worried about life’s challenges? Need some practical strategies to deal with anxiety, worry, and stress? BALANCE for Blind Adults presents our Anxiety and Stress Management Group, a 6-week program facilitated by Naomi Hazlett, registered occupational therapist at BALANCE.

The group will meet once a week, for 6 weeks, for two hours. Group members will learn about a variety of topics on the subject of anxiety and relaxation, including:

  • What are the connections between my mind, body, and actions?
  • How can I cope when things go wrong or when I feel bad?
  • Mindfulness: what is it all about?
  • How do I deal with loss, pain, and other challenges?
  • How do I re-frame and move forward?

Group members are encouraged, but not required, to share stories and work together to learn how to lead a more balanced, centered life.

The group will run Mondays at 4 PM starting April 29 and ending on June 10.

Registrar: Naomi Hazlett, 416-236-1796, ext. 229, or

First-Ever Toronto Self-Defense Course for Blind Adults! (May 4, 7 weeks)
Register now to secure a spot!!

When: 7 Saturday afternoons in May and June at 1 – 3:30 PM

  1. Saturday, May 4
  2. Saturday, May 11
  3. Saturday, May 18
  4. Saturday, May 25 (1 week skipped)
  5. Saturday, June 8
  6. Saturday, June 15
  7. Saturday, June 22

Location: West Toronto Support Services (1709 Bloor St. W.)

Certification: Each participant who completes the course will get a Certificate from us.

Registration fee: There will be a $40 deposit (collected at the first lesson). If you attend all or 6/7 classes, you will get $40 back, if you attend 5/7 classes, you will get $20 back.

To register: contact Radka at or (416) 236-1796 X 0 to secure a spot! (Please note there is limited space in this course.)

Description: This amazing course will be run by Alexis Fabricius, a self-defense instructor and violence prevention specialist. Over the course of this series of workshops, participants will learn self-defense basics, have an opportunity to build some essential foundational skills for personal defense and have the opportunity to ask questions in a safe space, about personal safety and violence that are relevant to them.

BALANCE is pleased to acknowledge the financial support of The Arthur and Audrey Cutten Foundation in making this course possible.

Unlocking the power of Google Maps, BlindSquare and Bluetooth beacon technology Course (May 3, 3 sessions)

Are you an independent traveler? Are you looking to further that independence?
Do you use an iPhone? Have you purchased BlindSquare in the hopes that it would enhance your mobility experience? If so, this course may be just what you require to fulfill this goal!

When: Beginning Friday, May 3, from 9:30 – 12:30, at the BALANCE office – workshop focusing on how to get the most from BlindSquare together with Google Maps navigation.
As a follow-up to the workshop, there are two practical components:

  1. At the BALANCE for Blind Adults office, 2340 Dundas Street West, Suite G-06, May 10, from 9:30 – 12:00, OR, 1:30 – 4:00.  Here you will be taken on a one-on-one walk-about with one of our O&M instructors where you will learn how to apply several BlindSquare and Google Map tools meant to enhance street navigation and route orientation.
  2. At the CNIB Hub, located at 1525 Yonge Street, May 17, from 9:30 – 12:00, OR, 1:30 – 4:00.  Here you will learn how to use BlindSquare together with its beacon technology designed to enhance indoor navigation.

You are expected to attend only the morning or afternoon time slots for these one-on-one sessions and depending on availability, it is your preference as to which ones work best for you.
The instructors leading the presentation are Doug Poirier Adaptive Technology instructor, and Anita Laurnitus and Bill Phung both certified Orientation and Mobility instructors.
In all, including the workshop, participants are expected to attend 3 sessions over 3 weeks resulting in a strong understanding of how to use Google Maps along with BlindSquare to enhance both outdoor and indoor navigation.
Those wishing to participate must:

  • Be an efficient user of iPhone, iOS and the VoiceOver screen reader
  • Have previously purchased a licensed copy of BlindSquare and have on their device the latest version of the software
  • Have installed on their device the latest version of Google Maps

If you are interested in attending, please contact Anita Laurnitus, X228, or Doug Poirier X224.

Dialogue with a Dietitian! (May 21, 1 session)

Are you ready to refresh your nutritional knowledge this spring? This is the chance to learn from an expert, find out about ongoing nutritional resources and groups in the community, and munch a few healthy goodies in a comfortable group discussion.

Where: BALANCE office, 2340 Dundas St. west, Unit G-06, call for directions

When: Tuesday May 21, 1:30-3:00 PM, Multi-purpose room

Dietitian: Paige To, RD, MAN, The Four Villages Community Health Centre

Yoga is Back at BALANCE–in the East End! (May 24, 12 sessions)

Are you interested in learning more about the practice of Yoga but have difficulty following the directions of an instructor?  Well, BALANCE has just the course for you.

When: Start your weekend off right! Starting May 24 from 12:30 until 2:00 PM. The course runs for 12 weeks and ends on Friday, August 23, long weekends not included.

Where: East end of the city at The Healing Collective (2005 Danforth Avenue)

Participants will relax and de-stress with mild stretches thereby gaining relief from aches and pains associated with muscular tension. You will reinforce their independence and mobility through balance practices and increase energy and confidence through body resistance strength training. Your course runs from 12:30 until 2:00 PM.  Conveniently timed before our “Sharing Space Support Group”, this program will be a nice complement to your mind/spirit health sessions! You are encouraged to wear comfortable, stretchy clothing and running shoes for ease of movement. Taught by Fazia Ackbarali, a professional therapeutic yoga and certified fitness instructor who has been teaching for BALANCE for almost 3 years.

IMPORTANT: there will be no classes on Friday, June 28 and Friday, August 2nd.  If you have any questions about the location, or may need assistance with orientation and mobility routes, please contact our front desk.

Please note, we are asking all participants to pay a $25 deposit fee to secure their spot. If you attend 10 or more classes, your $25 deposit will be returned to you.

How to register: contact Radka at or (416) 236-1796 X 0 (limited spaces, contact us now to secure your spot).