Mother/Child Read Aloud Program: This program is conducted on six weekends per year by four volunteers. An average of thirty women read to seventy-five children and two hundred and twenty-five books plus tapes and walkmans are sent across Canada and USA. A bilingual volunteer is available upon request to provide services in French. Books are available for aboriginal children and children of color. This Program receives some financial assistance from Correctional Services Canada through Nova Institution, yet we must constantly seek additional funding in order to sustain and continue our Program. Once per year, the Society provides each woman at Nova Institution with a book of her choice, and remaining books are donated to the library at Nova.
Monthly Visits: Volunteers spend two days at Nova once a month to conduct individual interviews with women to assist them in re-integrating into the community and support them in dealing with issues affecting their confinement.
Christmas & Summer Socials: Members attend these events to show our support for the women.
Atlantic Advocacy Committee [AAC]: A volunteer from our Society plays an active role on this committee, which meets for a day and a half, monthly at Nova.
Federally Sentenced Women living in the Saint John Community & at the Half-Way House: The women have access to one-on-one mentoring, outreach, transportation assistance, and referrals to other community services and programs. The women can also pick up hygiene items at the Office, should they need some.
Court Support: Volunteers are available on a daily basis to provide information and ongoing support to women who come before the courts. Women, who are appearing before the court for the first time, will often contact our office so that they can be better prepared for their appearance. We also maintain an ongoing relationship with these women and their families. We have compiled a volunteer court work training manual that has been used for training and educational purposes.
Anti-Shoplifting Program for Youth: During the past eight years, a volunteer has conducted this program in two school districts in our immediate vicinity reaching many students at schools. The program helps children see the negative effects of shoplifting via a video and workbook, written and designed by E. Fry Saint John. The Elizabeth Fry Society of Saint John NB Inc. owns the copyright to the video and booklet.
Cross Roads to Success: This teen intervention program is designed to facilitate insight and transition of past coping strategies with youth. This project will assist them in dealing with stress, peer pressure, feelings of depression, etc. and will provide an opportunity for our youth to practice and prepare responses to various situations so that they will make better decisions in the future. The young women were referred by youth probation. The Program was very successful. E. Fry has developed a relationship with the participants that will last long after the closing of the Program. Currently, this is the only gender specific, female lead program in Saint John and surrounding area.
Scholarship Program: The Elizabeth Fry Society of Saint John NB Inc. has been granted $25 000 over a period of five years to grant clients financial assistance should they be enrolling in an educational institution in the fall. $5000 will be awarded annually, and it is open to any woman who has utilized an Elizabeth Fry service. Two $2,500.00 scholarships were awarded. One scholarship was awarded to a single mom to attend university to work towards an education degree and the other to a young woman to attend a Dental Hygienist Program.
Street Outreach and Drop In Centre: As of May 17, 2012 we opened a safe Drop In location for women. This is open every Friday evening from 7-11pm. A hot meal is provided and the women can get involved in conversation. The volunteers provide services and information that the women request. This is a safe women’s only program where women can be free to express themselves.
Advocacy: Our volunteers write letters on a woman’s behalf to judges, lawyers, social workers, parole officers, rehabilitation centers, Ombudsman, College of Physicians and Surgeons, etc. We will call family members if requested. We also do speaking engagements and media interviews to inform the public, and we write to the Premier and the Legislative Assembly to provide rehabilitative services to criminalized and marginalized women. We meet on a regular basis with a representative from the Office of the New Brunswick Ombudsman and provide him with updates on the current situation.
Family Contacts: This is an important part of our work as on any given day, there are 25 000 children in Canada who have a mother in the criminal justice system. These hidden victims and their care-givers need our support. We are in contact with many of the families and are able to provide information about resources that can be accessed and give them much needed moral support as they experience a loved one undergoing this tragic event.
Phone Line: Women can contact a volunteer via cell phone daily, from 6 am to 9 pm; they can also leave a message at our office or use our toll-free number.
Memorial for Ashley Smith: In October we held our third annual candle light vigil as a memorial to Ashley Smith and other women who have died in custody. It was well attended and we will be holding another one again this October.