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What is Shape Your Life?

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


What is trauma-informed?

SYL uses a trauma-informed approach which takes into account the lasting effects trauma in the lives of participants. Trauma and violence-informed boxing is participant-centred and is built on knowledge about the impact of violence and trauma on people’s lives and health. We run SYL in a way that integrates this knowledge into all aspects of the boxing program in ways that foster participants’ safety, respect and empowerment.

"An amazing program that runs free non-contact boxing program for self-identified women who have experienced violence"

The History of Shape Your Life

Since the program began in 2007, more than 1,600 women and trans-identifying persons have participated in Shape Your Life. In 2017, we relocated to our new home at Bloor Street Boxing & Fitness.

Quick Stats Of Our Progress

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.


 10      1600          23          20+

For info on trauma and violence informed workshops - please contact cathy.vaningen[at]brocku.ca or jgreen[at]web.net

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.


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