LIFE - Learning Independence for Future Empowerment

L.I.F.E Program Banner 
LIFE - Learning Independence for Future Empowerment - serves young adults with disabilities make the transition to greater independence by providing new skills and hands-on opportunities for growth and development. 

The program provides participants with a learning environment to expand their social and professional skills while practicing the daily responsibilities of adulthood. Participants learn new skills through a combination of Life Skills Workshops, Transit Training, and Social & Recreational Outings.

The LIFE program is ten-weeks long, and runs four times per year, with each session able to accomodate ten to fifteen youth.   


 What is L.I.F.E.?

Program Goals

LIFE is designed to adapt to the needs and interests of its participants, who provide input and set goals at the beginning of the sessions. Along with the instructors working with the participants, they select the program components that will benefit them the most. Goals are evaluated at midpoints and at the end of the sessions to determine the extent to which the participant's goals were achieved. Participants also receive a binder of information on local organizations and resources they can access in the future. 

Participant goals may include:
  • Improving mobility and the ability to manage their own health
  • Moving out of the family home
  • Enhancing employment or volunteer potential
  • Making new friends
  • Learning how to take transit
  • Improving financial literacy​
Along with the fun and adventure, participants will experience some challenges. Indeed, the very purpose of the program is to help find untapped resources within yourself and within your group, to help you discover that you are more capable than you know. The complimentary components of the program will foster independence within the individual.​

Program Components

Life Skills

  • Goal Setting
  • Coping Skills
  • Self-Advocating
  • Budgeting & Banking
  • Living On Your Own: What to Consider? 
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Technology & Assistive Devices
  • Volunteering & Employment
  • Health & Wellness: A Healthy Body & Mind ​ 

Picture of participants having lunch 

Social & Recreational Outings

One of the components of the disability management program are opportunities for real-life application in the community will be encountered during the Social & Recreational Outings. These Outings take participants into the community for activities like bowling, visiting parks, hiking, going to lunch and a movie, participating in organized sports, shopping, banking, and many others.  

Picture of group of participants at Jack Darling Park 

Music Therapy

All people have a basic ability to take in, enjoy, and respond to music. Benefits include:

  • Personal development
  • Exploring and resolving personal issues
  • Increasing self-expression, relaxation, mobility
  • Improving communication, learning, social skills, motor skills
  • Developing or maintaining, cognition, memory

Training Transit

To decrease reliance on heavily stressed door-to-door accessible transit services, participants learn to plan and take accessible transit routes during private and semi private lessons with the program instructors. There’s also a certain amount of problem solving to overcome unexpected boundaries in the physical environment.

Conductive Education

Participants are taught skills and techniques to help them overcome the challenges of their disability – neuroplasticity allows patients to find new ways of doing things. They learn how to apply these strategies to their everyday life, becoming more independent

Each applicant must:
  • Have a disability
  • Be able to direct his or her own care
  • Have goals related to increasing independence 

March of Dimes Canada has operated successful LIFE programs in Toronto and Mississauga for several years. In 2017, we launched the program in Calgary, and are planning pilot programs in Vancouver and Halifax in 2019.

If financial circumstances limit an applicant’s ability to participate, assistance may be provided.​

LIFE Locations

Select a LIFE program near you for more information:


The LIFE Program is sponsored in part by:
TD Bank Financial Group United Way Greater Toronto Symcor
Mississauga Central Lions Club McKesson Canada TJX Canada


TE Connectivity
Savaria logo 
The Calgary Foundation logo
Community Knowledge Centre logo  
GMP Securities 
March of Dimes Canada Vital Toronto Fund Logo from Toronto Community Foundation
Alex & Wendy Campbell Fund at Calgary Foundation
Alectra Utilities

Great-West Life PWC

CIBC Mellon


​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Share via:
Click to Share on Facebook

Recommend and Like:

join our Annual Online Fundraising Campaign

Join our Mailing List

Join our Mailing list and receive our March of Dimes Dime Times Newsletter. Simply enter your name and email address after you click the button below to start receiving our newsletter


Imagine Canada Logo
The Standards Program Trustmark is a mark of Imagine Canada​ used under licence by March of Dimes Canada.