The Empowerment Project

The Empowerment Project is a workshop series for 12- to 17-year-old girls and non-binary youth. At Underdogs, we know that mental and emotional empowerment is as important as physical empowerment, so in addition to 90 minutes of boxing, participants will also discuss empowerment, healthy relationships, body image and body positivity, and gender.

The workshop cost is $60 per participant and includes a light lunch & snacks, a 90-minute boxing lesson/class, and topic-specific arts-based activities and discussion.

All workshops take place on Saturday afternoons from 12:30 to 4:30. If you would like us to offer a workshop to your group at a different date and time, please e-mail Laura Ip at Each workshop will run with a minimum of 10 participants and a maximum of 16 participants.

Would you like to support a scholarship for a young person to attend a workshop? Please visit our fundraising campaign here.

Workshop Dates and Topics

April 14 – Exploring Empowerment
What is empowerment? When and how do we feel empowered? This workshop creates space for youth to discuss resiliency and empowerment in relation to their identities and experiences. With “empowerment” being a term we hear quite often, but might not always know what it feels or looks like, this workshop will open up dialogues on what is means to empower ourselves and support each other.

May 12 – Gender
Youth will explore and talk about gender identity and gender expression as they intersect with other aspects of their identity. Through activities and discussion, we will explore and discuss gender stereotypes, myths about gender and gender roles, and learn and share about the diverse ways we experience gender.

June 9 – Healthy Relationships
We have the right to feel safe and be respected in our relationships - with friends, family, partners, colleagues, and peers. This workshop focuses on identifying characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships and provides space to talk about setting boundaries, how to navigate the relationships in their lives, foster and celebrate healthy and meaningful connections, and learn to recognize and name when there is a lack of respect in a relationship or an abuse of power.

July 14 – Body Image & Body Positivity
We hear messages about our bodies and socially constructed ideas about beauty every day. With social media being a constant in youth’s lives, body image ideals are something they are always navigating. Youth will engage with the work of body positive activists and discuss how race, ability, gender, sex, sexual orientation, class, and all aspects of identity intersect with our bodies and body image. We will discuss the messaging we receive about our bodies and the ways we navigate how we feel about and interact with our bodies.

Send an e-mail to Laura at to book a spot.

In addition to being boxing coaches at Underdogs:

Head Coach Laura Ip has a Hons. BA in Sociology, with a concentration in Social Justice & Equity Studies and is working on her Master of Arts thesis about the experiences of white mothers of differently racialized children. She is the author of The Practical Feminist blog, producer and co-host of The Practical Feminist podcast, and also holds a variety of certificates related to leadership and teaching.

Assistant Coach Laura Hughes is a Community Educator who is trained as a specialized counsellor and advocate for sexual violence survivors and has facilitated more than 60 workshops across Ontario. Her Master of Education research focused on centering queer, non-binary, and trans youth in the teaching of Ontario’s updated sexual health education curriculum, and on creating professional development opportunities and resources for teachers to bridge the gap between curriculum and the classroom.


  • Boxing gloves can be borrowed from Underdogs Boxing Club.
  • Hand wraps can also be borrowed, but we strongly recommend the purchase of a pair (ours sell for $15 and there's no HST, as Underdogs is a non-profit).
  • Please advise us of any dietary restrictions, but we will aim to have all food be vegan and gluten-free.
  • Payment must be received within 10 days of workshop date to reserve spot.
  • Payment can be made by cash, cheque, credit card, or e-transfer.
  • Participants are not required to attend all workshops. They can attend any mix of workshops that have been scheduled, including if they prefer to attend only one.