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LEADS employment program supports survivors of violence


After leaving an abusive relationship, there may be long-lasting repercussions.

Women can experience a lack of confidence that results in months or even years of unemployment. Finding work is daunting at best; for some, the task of moving beyond survival and securing employment feels impossible.

YWCA Learning Employment and Development Skills (LEADS) is a specialized program that breaks down the walls of isolation and silence for survivors of violence and/or abuse.

Titi Adebanjo is the LEADS Career Counsellor, and has more than 10 years of experience working with clients affected by trauma.

LEADS is unique, she says, because it treats “people as capable and experts of their own lives.”

LEADS provides guidance and support for its participants and a community that understands the trauma they have experienced. Over 12 weeks, participants learn to recognize, understand and overcome the impacts of abuse and begin the process of achieving economic independence. Group workshops support them to work through trauma caused by violence and abuse. Participants learn to stop “shaming and blaming” themselves and to recognize the coping skills they have developed over time.

LEADS offers an environment for every survivor to flourish and achieve success on their own terms, while giving them access to a wealth of supports through the YWCA’s WorkBC programs.

Clients who began the program struggling to leave the house are now beginning to look at achieving their financial and employment goals. As one client put it, “LEADS is exactly what I needed.”

The Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia fund the Employment Program of BC. LEADS is offered at various WorkBC Centres in Vancouver. For find more information, contact leads_vancouver@ywcavan.org / 604-908-1227. 

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