Our Programs

Ability First Ottawa provides services and opportunities for people with and without developmental disabilities.

This non-profit organization offers flexible programs devoted to the development and promotion of creativity, well-being and community among those with Learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder, Autism spectrum disorders and Developmental Disabilities.

The staff ratio is one staff member assisting two participants and the goal is to have ten participants per program. At all times, there will be Developmental Service Workers, along with Developmental Service Workers field placement students, a volunteer from the community, two nurses on staff and two Personal Support Workers.

This community program is being created to build bridges with other organizations such as police services, day care services and other mentorship programs. This program will allow individuals with disabilities to help and mentor other individuals with the same disability as well as help them achieve their goals successfully.


Monthly Programming Available:

Summer Camp: Ages 10-70 years of age. Programming includes: recreational activities, special guests, motivational speakers, live bands,  artistic activities, theatre, and much more.

AFO-Adult-Skills-TrainingAdult Skills Training:

Our Adult skills training is uniquely designed to build and develop the skills necessary for individuals to maximize their potential. We have multiple styles of learning to focus on individual needs such as music therapy, art and recreational activities as well as several workshops. We utilize these methodologies to stimulate learning and encourage developing skill sets such as:

  • employment search and enrichment
  • communication and social development
  • computers and technology


AFO-MentorsProfessional Mentors Team:

Our Professional Mentors Team is a group of individuals with disabilities who discuss personal experiences to help motivate and empower the participants to build up self confidence within a work place setting. The Professional Mentors Team set up workshops and motivational speeches that assist students  in the Developmental Service Worker program as well as the Personal Support Worker program.


AFO-Youth-VolunteersYouth Volunteers:

Youth Volunteers are persons with disabilities who assist participants with program workshops. These mature individuals are seeking a better understanding of the Developmental Service Worker field as well as the Personal Support Worker field. General volunteers are a great asset to our program as well as co-op students. They have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and guidance alongside the professional mentors.


Housing Assistance:

AFO assists vulnerable members of our community in obtaining safe, market-rental housing. Being homeless is EXTREMELY dangerous for individuals with developmental disabilities, and Ability First Ottawa works tirelessly to provide this population with the support they desperately require.

The goal of the program is to provide participants the opportunity to thrive independently in safe and affordable accommodations.

A.R.T. in Action Workshop:

art_in_actionAFO is thrilled to partner with A.R.T. in Action to offer a 12 session art program for our participants.

A.R.T in Action was founded in 2014 by artists Mailyne Briggs of  Dream Love Grow and Sarah Lickley. Mailyne and Sarah met while engaging youth and promoting employment and entrepreneurship. They are both passionate about art’s vital importance in young people’s lives and believe strongly in the positive impact that art can have. They noticed the lack of arts programming in various communities and wanted to make an effort to change that. With the support of local artists and generous donors, they were able to facilitate a free 6 week art and multimedia workshop for youth ages 14-29 at PQCHC.

The programming offered by A.R.T in Action has connected youth with art professionals and business owners and in doing so, provided mentorship and employment opportunities. With a small but dedicated team, A.R.T in Action is growing to become an inspiration and integral part of building relationships with youth so they can be a positive change within their own community.