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Developmental Services

We’re there for those who need us most.

Through our Developmental Services Department, YWCA Hamilton offers 24-hour Residential and Supported Independent Living programs that support adults with differing levels of independence and abilities. Services are designed to support individuals 18 years and older in building life skills, community safety skills, as well as in promoting community participation and social inclusion, which are key factors in developing lasting relationships.

Our Community Participation Day programs focus on delivering engaging recreational activities outside the home that promote health and wellness, build self-esteem, empowerment and social connections geared to both younger adults (Y’Art) and older adults (CASS).

PROGRAM UPDATE FOR COVID-19: Our Developmental Services staff are committed to providing exceptional essential care for our residents in our residential homes across the city. For the safety of our residents, we have restricted access to our homes to essential service workers only.


Community Participation Day programs and Fee-for-Service programs

Programs are offered on a seasonal basis, subject to change according to number of registrations. For more information on each program or to inquire as to the next available session, please call 905 522 9922 ext. 178 or cchesson@ywcahamilton.org. Please email if you would like your email to be added to our seasonal newsletter promoting the registration of open programs.

We are committed to enhancing the opportunities that are offered to our community. If you have a suggestion or inquiry of programming that may benefit the community we serve please send your suggestion to cchesson@ywcahamilton.org

Developmental Services Online Participation Membership

Our Developmental Services Community Participation Program is pleased to announce the Developmental Services Online Membership for adults with a developmental disability to access online programming to decrease social isolation, enhance cognitive stimulation and promote emotional and psychological wellness for participants socially distancing at home.

With the success of the online programming in May and June we are excited to be able to enhance our programming with extended program hours, and starting in August evening and weekend program options.

Activity Kits, available with a $5 delivery fee, are available with contactless delivery and will provide the supplies needed to enjoy each program.

Registration with the Developmental Services Community Participation Program Membership can be completed over the phone or via email with cchesson@ywcahamilton.org or 905 522 9922 ext. 178 with payment options available through credit card or with mailed cheque.

The Membership is considered a Passport Funding reimbursable expense. We look forward to seeing everyone online!

We realize that it’s not the easiest in these times to go to different stores for supplies needed for each craft or kitchen cook-off etc. So, we have come up with a plan for each week that us three staff will be preparing kits for those individuals who need them and will drop them off Wednesday mornings each week. We do ask that if you are able to or have items for the craft or item we will preparing for kitchen cook off that you let us know that you do not need us to bring you a kit and we can send you a supply list for the crafts and ingredients for what we will be preparing that week! For those who need the supplies dropped off we are more than happy to prepare the kits and bring them to your home once a week, but we do ask that you PLEASE let us know by Monday evening that you will need a kit. All of our online programs are FREE of charge during this difficult time but we are asking that if you do need a kit dropped off to you with all the supplies each week it will be a fee of $20 per kit that will be invoiced to you when everything is back to normal at the YWCA. We thank you for all the support during this time and we are looking forward to another full month ahead of online programming via ZOOM!!!

The Power of Gratitude

Understanding and utilizing the power of gratitude will have an enormously positive effect on your life. Through this program we will explore many different exercises to develop our own gratitude practices and take time to pause, notice, and appreciate the little things we often take for granted. There is scientific research that it is life changing!


Our trivia program will follow the theme of the week throughout the month! Trivia will be weekly, Friday mornings from 10:30-11:30.  Put your thinking caps on!

Chair Yoga

As the name describes, this gentle form of yoga is practiced sitting on a chair. The class incorporates breathing exercises, stretching, modified yoga postures, and a mini meditation. Chair yoga helps increase flexibility, circulation and strength, improves balance, and relieves stress. A great pick me up to help rejuvenate your mind and body. No yoga experience required.

Horticultural Therapy

Come get your hands dirty! We will teach basic gardening skills, explore different types of plants, and best of all you get to care for what you plant within your own home! Connecting to nature can be very therapeutic, and what better time to start learning than now during gardening season!

Kitchen Cook-Off

Every other week for the Month of June we will be preparing something that is related to the theme of the week, as well as teaching kitchen safety to everyone via Zoom. Every other week it will be something different!


Grab a journal and a pen and come join us for some creative writing! Each week we will be providing different journaling topics. Find new ways to express yourself and delve into your imagination.


This month our crafts will follow the theme of the week every Thursday afternoon! Crafts may vary from: Painting, Coloring, Creating, Drawing, and more!

Y Social (with Themes):

The Y Social is available to any individual that takes part in any of the YWCA Day Programs or Fee for Service programs. The Y Social is a get together for everyone via Zoom to catch up and hangout. Mondays 1:30-2:30, Wednesdays 2:00-4:00, and Fridays 1:30-2:30. This month, many of our socials have a theme! So feel free to dress up and/or bring a cool snack to the backyard! The 31st is our Hawaiian social. A lei will be included in that week’s craft kit. If you do not need the craft kit, leis can be found at the dollar store!

Move & Groove:

A dance inspired fitness program to stay in shape and have fun doing it! Lets move, groove and break a little sweat


This program is all about testing your memory! Concentration will have participants trying to match images posted up on a wall. Whoever has the most pairs at the end of the game claims victory!

Laughter Yoga:

This month we are introducing a laughter yoga session that will be facilitated by Raee & Ingrid! We’re very excited to get our giggle on!

Virtual Tours:

On the 13th and 14th of this month you’ll see two virtual tours. We’re going to visit all of our favorite animals as we armchair travel through Toronto’s Ripley’s Aquarium and an African Safari!  All you have to do is sit back and enjoy!

Christmas in July Week:

As we celebrate Christmas in July, we’ll have programs all week to get us into the holiday spirit! Feel free to put on your Santa hat, reindeer antlers, or jingle bells!

–          Get a pen & paper ready! We are going to write up an extra early Christmas Wish List!

–          We would love to hear about everyone’s favourite Christmas/Holiday Traditions! Come with all your best celebratory stories!

–          Following a vote, we are going to sit together for a Christmas Movie & Popcorn! (Or whichever snack you prefer)

**NEW for July** Weekly Challenges:

You may have noticed looking at the calendar that on the Sunday it mentions a challenge. In the month of July we thought we would make your time off of ZOOM that we give you a challenge to complete and share with us in a social throughout the week. Don’t feel pressured if you don’t complete it because we are more than happy to help anyone out during socials! All challenges can be accessed and completed throughout your own home! If you have any questions about the challenge feel free to email any of us.


Sports Week: We are asking that everyone to participate in some kind of physical activity each day throughout the week (Swimming, walking, biking, running, working out, playing a sport or game outside, etc) and while doing it to drink lots of water and keep track so you can tell us!!

Animals Week:  During this week, we want everyone to research about an animal that they don’t know much information about and write down some fun facts on the animal to share with everyone on a social during the week so we can all learn together! Examples: Chinchilla, Koala, Hedgehog, Bearded Dragon, Kangaroo, Chimpanzee, etc.

Christmas in July Week: We want everyone to find their creative mind and think of a homemade gift for every individual in their household that they would like to make them for Christmas or have always wanted to make them and write down a list to share with everyone over social! These may include homemade jewelry, drawings, cards, paintings, wood creations, etc.

Around the World Week: Research a country either listed on the calendar or any other one and find a food from that country! Once you find a food, we want you to find a recipe involving that food that you want to try and tell us about it! We want everyone to try and make this recipe if they are able to to make this more fun!

SUPPLIES needed for July:

July 2nd – Bring photo memories if you have any from past Canada Day celebrations to share with everyone!

July 6th- Paper & Pen for Journaling!

July 8th- Healthy Snack (Pasta Salad) Ingredients: https://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/roasted-veggie-mediterranean-pasta-goat-cheese/

July 9th – Sports Craft: Creating a personal banner/flag in a sport theme. You will need: Paper, Bristol Board, Cardboard of any kind, a wooden stick to glue to the back to hold onto your flag, Stickers, Markers, Glue Stick and Scissors.

July 14th- Paper & Pen for Power of Gratitude!

July 16th- Animals Craft: Peacock paper plate. You will need: 1 large paper plate, 1 small paper plate or you can cut a circle in construction paper, 1 coffee filter or you can cut a circle in construction paper, googly eyes, orange construction paper to cut a nose out, popsicle sticks, markers, blue and green paint or marker to color plates.

July 20th- Paper & Pen to write wish list and Popcorn or favorite snack to enjoy while watching movie!

July 21st- BINGO cards: We will send out template ahead of time for those who will print it at home! And Christmas Granola Recipe for Baking: https://www.alphafoodie.com/healthy-homemade-christmas-granola/

July 23rd-Christmas Card supplies: Paper or cardstock, markers and stickers!

July 24th- Bring any pictures from your Christmas memories and traditions you have done!

July 27th- Bring all your plants we have done in past programs so we can see the progress and talk about them!

July 28th- Kitchen Cook-Off: TACOS!!! We will be making tacos and you will need the basic ingredients of: Meat (Chicken, Beef, Fish, etc.), Cheese, Taco Seasoning, Shells/ Wraps, Lettuce, Tomato, Sour cream, Salsa and any other toppings you enjoy! And you will also need a Paper & Pen for Power of Gratitude!

July 30th- Flag Craft: We will be creating our own personal flags that represent us! So you will need paper, markers and a pencil to show your creative skills!

July 31st- Wear your Hawaii Leis!! You can find these at dollar store, or we can drop off in a kit for that week to show the spirit of being in Hawaii that day!!

For more information contact:




Supervisor – Chelsea

Experience a multi-sensory environment that blends sights, sounds, textures and motion to provide stimulation of primary senses.

This client-centred room can be modified to meet specific goals and sensory needs to ensure every individual has an opportunity for meaningful relaxation and sensory awareness in a tranquil environment.


$10/hour with your own support staff (please inquire about one-time training fee for support staff)

$15/hour if a trained Therapeutic Recreation Practitioner staff is required.

Location: 75 MacNab Street South.

For more information or to register contact Chelsea Chesson at 905-522-9922 ext. 178 or cchesson@ywcahamilton.org

The purpose of this therapeutic recreation-based program is to offer participants with a developmental disability the opportunity for new experiences through community involvement with support that helps develop social skills and relationships. There will be a focus on utilizing resources from YWCA Hamilton as well as from the City of Hamilton.

The P.A.T.H. program is a strengths based-program that will provide opportunity for participants to engage in daily goal-oriented activities that reflect their personal goals and desired pursuits. Each goal-oriented activity will promote social, psychological/emotional well-being in small group formats which may access community resources.

Time: Mondays and Wednesdays 1p.m.-3p.m.

Cost: $40/day, invoiced monthly

Currently accepting new participants for Monday sessions. 

Community Recreation to Enhance Wellness (C.R.E.W.)

The YWCA Hamilton C.R.E.W. program is most beneficial to participants that have some independent living skills with a 1:5 staff ratio.

Daily activities are designed to promote individual growth through creative expression (craft, art, creative writing, drama, music), group team-building games, fitness games, community outings, group volunteering. Activities address improved wellness in the following areas:

  • Independence in and awareness of the community
  • Psychological well-being and emotion regulation
  • Social networking and social interaction skills
  • Physical literacy, health and wellness
  • Intellectual and cognitive processes
  • Leisure, recreation and boredom busters

Dates: Mondays to Fridays (excluding stat holidays)

Time: 10a.m.-3p.m.

Cost: $200-$250/week

10% discount for full camp registrations (8 weeks).

Location: YWCA Hamilton, 75 MacNab St. S., Hamilton.

For more information, contact Chelsea Chesson at cchesson@ywcahamilton.org or 905-522-9922 ext. 178

  • $60 + tax for 8 Weeks
  • 8-week program designed to stretch and strengthen muscles while learning fun and safe ways to incorporate fitness into your daily lifestyle. This program will lead participants in adapted and accommodated physical activities to increase opportunities for physical activity each week.
  • 905 522 9922 ext 178 or cchesson@ywcahamilton.org to register
  • $60 + tax for 8 weeks
  • Offers participants the opportunity to participate in calming mindfulness-based art activities with the purpose of enhancing mood and quality of life. All supplies included.
  • 905 522 9922 ext 178 or cchesson@ywcahamilton.org to register
  • $40 + tax person session (one Saturday per month for up to 4 months)
  • Provides participants the opportunity to learn the skills and competencies of adventure therapy-based activities such as nature hikes, festival visits and various cultural events. Participants are guided in the community with staff to ensure appropriate accommodations and supports are received.
  • 905 522 9922 ext 178 or cchesson@ywcahamilton.org to register
  • $40 + tax per session (one Saturday per month for up to 4 months)
  • Participants build creative energies, developing self-esteem, confidence and an increased understanding of socially appropriate emotional expressions through the use of dramatic arts activities.
  • 905 522 9922 ext 178 or cchesson@ywcahamilton.org to register
  • $2 Drop-In Fee
  • All participants are invited to attend to play board games and more! Learn to problem solve, practice social skills and team build with friendly, enjoyable company.
  • Offered September to June on Thursday Evenings from 6 to 8pm

905 522 9922 ext 178 or cchesson@ywcahamilton.org to register

  • $60 + tax per 8 Week Session
  • Create beautiful Jewellery with your own unique and artistic flair! Beginnger and experienced jewelers are welcome to participate and discover a new creative outlet.
  • 905 522 9922 ext 178 or cchesson@ywcahamilton.org to register
  • $60 + tax per 8 Week Session
  • Provides participants with the opportunity to learn new recipes within group activities with the purpose of educating participants on kitchen safety and healthy foods to increase independent living skills.
  • 905 522 9922 ext 178 or cchesson@ywcahamilton.org to register
  • $60 + tax per 8 Week Session
  • Come join an innovative form of exercise that promotes the use of laughter as a physical form of exercise. No need to be funny or know jokes, just be ready to have fun and laugh your heart out!
  • 905 522 9922 ext 178 or cchesson@ywcahamilton.org to register
  • $60 + tax per 8 Week Session
  • Participate in an inclusive class where instructors will adapt techniques to individuals abilities.

905 522 9922 ext 178 or cchesson@ywcahamilton.org to register

  • $40 + tax per session (one Saturday per month for up to 4 months)
  • This fun and interactive workshop will provide the opportunity for participants with a photo taking device to practice photography skills and self-reflection. Participants will have the opportunity for their photos to be displayed to the public.
  • 905 522 9922 ext 178 or cchesson@ywcahamilton.org to register
  • $60 + tax per 8 Week Session
  • 8 Week Certificate of Participation Workshop that will teach young men and women the skills to develop and maintain helathy, violence free relationships. Participants learn about rights and responsibilities, elements of healthy relationships and sexuality, social skills, effective communication, problem solving and generate a sense of agency in their personal bonds with others.
  • 905 522 9922 ext 178 or cchesson@ywcahamilton.org to register
  • $40 + tax per session (one Saturday per month for up to 4 months)
  • A Certificate of Participation workshop that will help participants learn self-advocacy skills and the competencies to voice their opinions, make choices, participate in brain-storming/voting activities and learn about their rights.
  • 905 522 9922 ext 178 or cchesson@ywcahamilton.org to register

Community Participation Programs

This day program provides older adults with developmental disabilities the opportunity to participate in structured, community-based recreational and leisure activities. The emphasis of programming is on increasing or maintaining social, physical and emotional well-being and thereby enhancing each individual’s overall quality of life.

For more information please contact Carol Fraser, Manager Community Supports, at Cfraser@ywcahamilton.org or 905-522-9922 ext. 119

This day program is offered 3 days per week for adults with a developmental disability, focusing on self expression and creativity through various art mediums. Y’Art enhances communication, growth and community awareness skills.

For more information please contact Chelsea Chesson cchesson@ywcahamilton.org or 905-522-9922 ext. 178


This initiative of the Ontario Ministry of Community and Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) provides funding for individuals with a confirmed developmental disability and can be utilized for community participation and caregiver respite.

As a Service Provider Agency, YWCA Hamilton can assist individuals and their families with their funding allocation to meet goals that enhance the individual’s community participation as well as help to develop social skills, independent living skills, recreation and job readiness.

The focus is on interests and goals that are meaningful to the individual and that promote personal growth and development.

For more information, please contact Community Supports Manager Carol Fraser at 905-522-9922 ext. 119 or cfraser@ywcahamilton.org

Residential Programs

YWCA Hamilton operates a wide variety of housing options for adults with developmental disabilities. These include group homes, residential care facilities and supported apartment settings. All residential group living provide 24-hour support and supervision to adults with a Developmental Disability based on their abilities and skills associated with activities of daily living. The home environment provides residents with the opportunity to further gain independence building life skills, social and communication skills, and puts an emphasis on social inclusion and community participation.

For more information, please contact Tracey Helwig, manager Developmental Services  at 905-522-9922 ext. 153 or thelwig@ywcahamilton.org

A semi-independent housing model for 10 individuals located on the entire 6th floor of a geared-to-income city housing complex in partnership with Wesley Urban Ministries and St. Joseph’s Hospital. The program mandate is to provide permanent housing for individuals who are dually diagnosed and inappropriately placed within the hospital.

For more information, please contact Tracey Helwig 905-522-9922 ext. 153 or thelwig@ywcahamilton.org

YWCA Community Support Programs (CSP) and Supported Independent Living (SIL) provide in-home support to adults living with a developmental disability. Supports are based on individualized needs in all areas of daily living skills. The emphasis is on skill-building development and increasing or maintaining independence.

Recreation & Leisure activities are offered regularly to provide opportunities to enhance social skills and develop meaningful friendships.

For more information, please contact Carol Fraser, manager Developmental Services-Community Supports at 905-522-9922 ext. 119 or cfraser@ywcahamilton.org

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