Earlier this year, Causeway received a grant from the Ottawa Community Foundation to improve our Wellness Program. This program offers clients a free and comfortable environment to work on their fitness goals, and learn about the importance of exercise and nutrition – all while looking for employment. Every day, we see the benefits of the program on our clients’ mental, physical, and emotional well-being. These improvements enhance clients’ chances of being hired, and builds up their confidence so they can reach their full potential in all areas of their lives.
A major appeal for many of our clients using the Wellness Centre is the availability of accessible machines. To better serve the diverse needs of our clients and encourage more to use the Wellness Centre, we knew we had to expand – many of our machines were donations, others needed some repairs, and we desperately needed more staffing to cover increased gym hours. When we heard the announcement of the grant from The Ottawa Community Foundation, we knew this would solve many of our challenges. With this grant, we were able to buy a new accessible work out machine, provide our current equipment with some tender love and care, double the hours of our secondary trainer, and establish a monthly Wellness Workshop to youth.
New accessible work-out machine
The new pride and joy of the gym is the new accessible pull-up/dip machine that has instantly become one of the most used pieces of equipment in the gym. The machine makes it easier for someone to do a pull-up because it lets you start without using your full weight. For many of our clients, working out in a traditional gym was not possible because of the lack of accessible equipment. Having this new machine allows everyone, no matter their strength and abilities, to work towards their fitness goals at their own pace.
Take Danny, for example. Christopher says that Danny has only been using the machine for two months, but has already drastically improved his pull-up, both in strength and in technique.
“He is well on his way to doing an unassisted one!” Christopher proudly exclaims.
Take a look at our new machine in action:
Fixing up the other machines
As soon as we received the grant, specialized technicians got to work fixing the other machines in the gym. These repairs ensure that the machines are safe for everyone to use and that they will last. We are happy to say that the technicians were able to get the second treadmill up and running. They are currently fixing another machine as we speak.
More hours for Larry
Doubling the hours of the gym’s secondary trainer, Larry, was the next major step for us to improve the accessibility of our gym. Not only has the addition of hours for Larry allowed us to keep the Wellness Gym open longer, but it has also provided his life with more freedom. Larry first came to Causeway as a client seeking employment. He says the Wellness Program inspired him to rekindle his forgotten passion for exercise, and work towards becoming a personal trainer. Since successfully earning his personal training certification about a year ago, he has been working with Christopher in the gym. Larry is ecstatic to be working more. He says the increased hours will help him move in the spring, which has been a longtime goal of his. He is very proud to have increased responsibilities at Causeway to oversee the gym, and lock up at the end of the day by himself.
Wellness Workshops for youth
The third significant improvement we were able to make is the addition of our monthly Wellness Workshops for youth. The monthly Wellness Workshops are designed to give youth in our Solutions for Youth program the opportunity to learn new life skills, gain confidence at the gym, and work on their overall health. Christopher finds that the program will benefit many of the participants because it encourages youth to explore nutrition and fitness in the context of their own health. For those who might not be ready to make these changes in their life just yet, Christopher says that his door is always open.
Thank you, Ottawa Community Foundation!
Since we first started the program, the Causeway Wellness Centre has become the first step for many clients coming to Causeway for the first time. Having the ability to make some much-needed improvements to our Wellness Centre has meant that we can increase our services to clients with diverse needs. Many of our clients who require accessible machines to work out are often excluded from traditional gyms. They are either too expensive or too intimidating, depending on a client’s abilities. The Ottawa Community Foundation has allowed our clients to enjoy an inclusive gym where they can focus on their fitness goals and access quality equipment and machines.
“It’s pretty cool, to be honest with you,” says Christopher, “I have the privilege of working with people on the equipment they need. It gives me options when planning clients’ work-out programs.”
Thank you, thank you, thank you to the Ottawa Community Foundation! Your generosity continues to change lives, as the upgrades help Causeway clients reach and achieve their fitness goals every day.