Welcome to Ability First Ottawa

Comprehensive services and support for people with disabilities.


Christina Ranieri Headshot

Christina Ranieri

Executive Director & President

BA.Soc., SSW, DSW & OAMHP-affiliate Cert

Christina Ranieri has a long history of involvement within the people with disabilities community, but her story began in a strict Italian household. As a child diagnosed with 13 different disabilities, just like all of those she helps today, she experienced many challenges. Christina’s disabilities were so severe that doctors told her parents that she would never be able to complete school or sustain a job. She persevered, finished school and received her Social Service Worker Degree and then her Developmental Service Worker Degree – making the Dean’s Honours list. That wasn’t enough though, she went back to University and got a B.A. in Sociology, winning more awards along the way.

"Working with a wide variety of people and helping them has really made me realize how much support is needed in the disability community" 

– Christina Ranieri, 2017

As a DSW and SSW, Christina realized that there were too many gaps in the system. She decided to start her own charity to help correct the problem. The charity started as a summer camp, under a different name (CISDEP) and then grew in to the charity under its current name.

Within the first few years, Christina (and volunteers) housed 55 homeless people with disabilities in the Housing Navigation Program until funding ran out.  The Life Skills and Training Program provides our participants with the opportunity to choose various activities to do or attend.  AFO also provides a Parent Support Program and a yearly Summer Camp that sells out every year.  In 2019, Ability First Ottawa celebrated its 5th Anniversary.  AFO hopes to grow even more in the next 5 years!