Mission Statement:

To promote autonomy for adults with special needs through transferable skills training, volunteer experiences and recreation opportunities so that they may reach their own unique levels of independence.

WAVE (Work and Volunteer Experience) Ottawa is a work and recreation program for adults with special needs open to participants of all levels of ability. Founded by Dovercourt Recreation Association in April 2013, WAVE operates at the Centre. Through a combination of skills training, volunteer experience, and recreational activities WAVE staff help participants (referred to as apprentices) increase their independence at home, work, and in the community. The program also gives apprentices a chance to develop their social skills and build meaningful relationships with staff and peers.

The WAVE program runs Monday to Friday, 9:00 AM-3:00 PM. A typical day consists of work placements or skills training in the morning, followed by a recreational activity (usually swimming at Dovercourt or a walk through the community) in the afternoon. Throughout the day staff and apprentices work together to develop a wide range of different skills, including:
•    Fine and Gross Motor Skills
•    Communication and Social Skills
•    Travel on Public Transit
•    Goal Setting and Completion
•    Job Application and Interview Skills

Staff work closely with apprentices to tailor activities to each individual apprentice’s abilities, needs, and goals. This ensures that the skills being taught are relevant and sets the apprentices up for success.   


Registration Process

The intake process begins when an application form for the apprentice is received. The apprentice can complete these if they are able. If they are not, then family members, doctors or teachers can write it. Following this application, an intake assessment will be scheduled. This assessment is to get to know a little more about the applicant and their goals. In addition to the assessment, potential participants will have an opportunity to see the program and meet some of our staff and apprentices. In order to succeed in the assessment, program eligibility requirements must be demonstrated.

Eligibility Requirements

    • The apprentice must have completed High School or be in their final year.
    • The apprentice must be 19 years of age or older.
    • The apprentice must reside in the Ottawa area.
    • The apprentice must want to gain volunteer/work experience.
    • The apprentice must be able to complete all toileting needs independently.
    • The apprentice must be able to change independently for all planned activities.
    • The apprentice may not demonstrate aggressive behaviour towards others.
    • The apprentice must not be a flight risk while on-site or in the community.
    • The apprentice must be able to eat his/her lunch and snacks independently.
    • The apprentice must have independent mobility.
    • The apprentice must be able to manage most transitions independently.
    • The apprentice must be able to participate in community outings and at work placements.

If you or someone you know are interested in joining WAVE, know of a potential volunteer placement opportunity, or simply want more information about the program, please contact [email protected], attention: Sarah Stewart