Women's Centre of York Region (WCYR)

Making Changes

Since 1977, the Women's Centre of York Region (WCYR) has offered a safe place where women can get the support to build self-esteem, the tools to develop a plan of action, and the opportunity to build the skills they need to help themselves and their families. The majority of women seeking support are experiencing domestic abuse and related socioeconomic barriers to success. We assist women from all backgrounds and cultures in building confidence and skills, helping them transition from hopelessness to possibility. Our mission is using a strengths-based, trauma-informed feminist approach, we provide opportunities, support and resources to all persons who identify as women on their journey of self-discovery and empowerment. We offer the necessary evidence-informed programs and services to assist women along the Sustainable Livelihood Continuum, all in one place.

Making Changes is a group program designed for women from various disadvantaged backgrounds to foster long-term, meaningful changes that enable them to thrive socially, personally and economically. Many women we serve have experienced abuse, trauma, or mental health illnesses and live in poverty, creating unique barriers to success. Making Changes provides the tools to increase self-esteem, develop healthy relationships, become strong decision-makers, set healthy boundaries, manage conflict and effectively communicate. Over one and a half years, this skill-building program helps women move out of poverty toward prosperity.

The five modules in the program include:

  • Self-empowerment:Participants increase inner strength, develop confidence and self-acceptance, find ways to feel secure and trust in themselves and decisions, accept responsibility and take control of their lives.
  • Effective Communication: Participants will have the opportunity to examine their existing communication skills and their effect on others.
  • Healthy Boundaries:Setting good personal boundaries is critical to creating healthy relationships, increasing the sense of self-worth and reducing stress, anxiety and depression.
  • Getting Unstuck:Identifying emotions, how they are constantly changing, and how emotions signal that there is something we need to pay attention to. Doing so allows participants to heal from past events and find new coping skills to move forward.
  • Rising Above Old Patterns: When we feel triggered and in danger, our automatic survival responses are activated, and we react using old patterns and coping mechanisms. Participants identify the underlying emotions and find healthy coping mechanisms.

Project Initiation




Organization Website

“WCYR is honoured to receive program funding from the Aubrey & Marla Dan Foundation. The funding has been critical in the delivery of our Making Changes Program. This program is designed to provide life skills and resources to women experiencing mental health illness and experiencing gender-based violence. With the support of the Aubrey & Marla Dan Foundation we were able to provide services to 318 women. Your support is changing lives.”

Liora Sobel

Executive Director