Shape Your Life (SYL) is a free non-contact boxing program for self-identified women who have experienced violence. The program operates as a partnership between Joanne Green, Executive Director with Opportunity for Advancement and Dr. Cathy van Ingen, Associate Professor in Kinesiology at Brock University.

Since the program began in 2007, more than 1,600 women, girls and trans-identifying persons have participated in Shape Your Life. For 10 years Shape Your Life rented space at the Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Gym before relocating to its new home at Bloor Street Boxing & Fitness. At the beginning of the project, Shape Your Life also partnered closely with Jessie’s – The June Callwood Centre for Young Women.

In the spring of 2017, Shape Your Life launched a fully redesigned 14-week boxing program and all coaches have taken a trauma and violence informed coaching workshop designed and led by Cathy van Ingen and Joanne Green. The trauma and violence informed coaching workshop is based on 10 yrs of supervising and running Shape Your Life, researching the effects of trauma and pathways to recovery.

For info on trauma and violence informed workshops – please contact cathy.vaningen[at] or jgreen[at]

Over the course of the program’s life, SYL has received generous sponsorship from municipal and provincial government agencies, fundraisers and many wonderful individual donors.

Currently Shape Your Life operates on funding provided to Brock University by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s “Supporting Victims of Violence and Protecting Children: The Health Perspective” investment. We thank everyone for their continued support.


The Team

Frequently Asked Questions

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