Peer Support Groups – Fall 2022

What: GraceWins offers Peer Supporter-facilitated recovery oriented courses and support groups in small class sizes of up to 8 persons. 

For Whom: Persons (18+) struggling with mental health challenges that are looking for a recovery oriented community, a compassionate, non-judgmental, empowering space in which to share, learn and grow. No referral or diagnosis required. Just a desire to move forward in one’s unique recovery journey.

When: October – December, 2022. Starting October 3.

Where: Most groups are on Zoom. Some are in-person. Refer to specific group for more information. 

Fees: None

To sign up: Connect

Group Facilitators

Ashley Olmstead

When it comes to life experiences Ashley has seen and overcome tremendous challenges. Ashley struggles with major depressive disorder, anxiety, PTSD and borderline personality disorder. She is also a very caring mother to two children who struggle with ADHD, ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) and PTSD. As such, focusing on her wellness and learning new, healthy ways to cope are very important to Ashley. Her resilience and willingness to try new things have significantly contributed to her recovery journey. Ashley is passionate about helping others to advance on their journey to wellness by sharing her life experiences and strategies.

Jodie Saunders

Jodie finds her life’s purpose in supporting and showing great care and compassion to others. She is a grateful Peer and Housing Support Worker in her community of Oshawa. The individuals that she is blessed to work with are mostly homeless, addicted and marginalized. As someone who found freedom from a 25-year drug addiction and life-long mental health illness Jodie brings to GraceWins her lived-experience and a new found hope for the future. Her purpose at GraceWins is to be present as people move forward and realize their true potential, one step at a time.

Pamela Lewis

Compassionate and empathetic, Pamela has experienced and overcome significant trauma and life-transforming challenges. She is a mother of three children all of whom struggle with specific needs – autism, bipolar, anxiety, drug addiction and other medical ailments. Pamela is a qualified Personal Support Worker who tends to both, the physical and mental health needs of her clients. Her welcoming and friendly nature naturally draws people to her. Pamela finds joy and fulfillment in using her wealth of lived experiences and unique abilities to support others through their unique recovery journeys.

Percy D’Souza

GraceWins is an expression of Percy’s own life journey: from losing almost everything at the depths of his ‘dark nights of the soul’ which, among other things, included a diagnosis of ‘severe, treatment-resistant, psychotic depression’; to passionately living in the moment every day since, by grace, he was given a second chance at life in the spring of 2018. This is the core value Percy brings and realizes through GraceWins. He also brings a unique blend of skills earned through his diverse academic and professional experiences.

Tanya Brennan

Tanya is exceptional in her ability to connect with the most marginalized and vulnerable among us – the homeless, those struggling with addictions and mental illness. She works with them hands-on daily. Tanya’s exceptional ability has been hard won through her own lived experience with trauma, addictions, mental illness, loss and tragedy. She is hard worker who believes that everyone deserves chances in life. She brings boundless energy, empathy and loving support to those she works with, striving hard for their successes. Because their successes are her successes. 

Trisha Stapley

Trisha has always had a passion for helping others and has tried to incorporate this into every interaction/ job/ volunteer position she has found herself in.  At GraceWins Trisha hopes to use her life experience with trauma, mental health, and life navigation to walk with others looking to seek wellness.

Abuse Peer Support Group for Women

The abuse of women is way more prevalent than most of us realize. It happens in various forms – physical, mental, sexual, emotional, psychological, financial – across all strata of society. If you are a woman who has experienced or is experiencing abuse, this is a group you would do well to consider participating in. Facilitated by Peer Supporters who have lived experience of abuse, this group aims to empower through empathy, compassion and shared learning in a safe, non-judgemental space.

Date: Mondays: Starts October 3, 2022: 8 weeks

Time: 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Where: In-Person:  Employment Resource Centre, Level 2, Midtown Mall, 200 John Street, Oshawa

Facilitators:Pamela Lewis, Tanya Brennan

Addictions Peer Support Group

The Addictions Peer Support Group is a space to meet and engage with others that are struggling with an addiction to whatever it may be – alcohol, drugs…in a safe, compassionate, non-judgmental, small group. Facilitated by Peer Supporters who have struggled with and overcome their own addictions, you will share, learn, support and be supported in your recovery journey forward.

Date: Mondays: Starts Monday, October 3, 2022: 12 weeks

Time: 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Where: Online:  Google Meet

Facilitators: Tanya Brennan, Chris Lockhart

Art Therapy

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life” – Picasso

Art and therapy? In the same course? Whaaaaaaat? Every week we will be using the expressive power of art to encourage freedom of self-expression, self-exploration, self-esteem  and understanding. We will look at kinesthetic, sensory, perceptual, and symbolic opportunities to provide a creative outlet. Come join us for a unique and creative approach to help reduce stress, have some fun, and let our inner child fly.

Date: Fridays: Starts Friday, October 8, 2022: 12 weeks

Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Where: In-Person: Employment Resource Centre, Level 2, Midtown Mall, 200 John Street, Oshawa AND online on Google Meet

Facilitators: Ashley Olmstead, Melanie Rees

Creative Writing

In Creative Writing we explore our creative side through stories, poems and songs. We explore ourselves, navigate our experiences and express our emotions through the written word. Creative writing is the art of ‘making things up’ through words, which can be a powerful magic. If you feel like you have a story inside of you, you probably do. Why not let it out?

Date: Wednesdays: Starts October 5, 2022: 10 weeks

Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 am

Where: Online: Google Meet

Facilitators: Ashley Olmstead, Trisha Stapley

Grief Sharing Peer Support Group

Everyone has been impacted by loss in their lifetime and as a result we have all felt and are challenged by grief.  Grief is a very hard emotion to move through and even harder when we try to journey it alone.  The Grief Sharing  Peer Support Group is a safe space where we gather as peers to support one another, and present material and ideas to help move forward in this journey.

Date: Thursdays: Starts Thursday, October 6, 2022: 12 weeks

Time: 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Where: Online: Google Meet

Facilitators: Jodie Saunders, Trisha Stapley

Mental Health Peer Support Group

In this group we connect, share, learn from and support each other through our mental health recovery journeys. In a space that is safe, respectful, compassionate, non judgemental, encouraging.

Date: Mondays: Starts October 3, 2022: 12 weeks

Time: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Where: Online: Google Meet

Facilitators: Trisha Stapley, Melanie Rees

Organizing Ourselves to Maximize Time

The goal of this course is to get clients started on a life-long path to making the most of time. We examine, even challenge contemporary perceptions of time, explore what is truly important to us, understand the process of prioritizing and planning and, importantly, learn to manage expectations of ourselves to so that we can realize joy and contentment in our endeavours. This course is based on lessons that the facilitator, Percy D’Souza, has learned and applies every day in the pursuit of maximizing his own potential; lessons from various sources and particularly from two seminal works in personal improvement literature: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

Date: Tuesdays: Starts October 4, 2022: 8 weeks

Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 am

Where: Online: Google Meet

Facilitators: Percy D’Souza

The Muse in Music

Music has a way of transcending time, space, backgrounds, cultures. It can stir up emotions, trigger memories, inspire, exhilarate and more. In this class we use our common love of music as a platform to engage, share, learn and grow. Maybe even be inspired. This is a light, easy class focused on making connections. We listen to a song or two and share whatever we want to. The music can be from any genre. The more diverse the better.

Date: Tuesdays: Starts October 4, 2022: 12 weeks

Time: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Where: Online: Google Meet

Facilitators: Trisha Stapley, Ashley Olmstead