Women And Gender-Diverse People Are Free, Strong And Have The Courage To Make Positive Choices
EFryNB was founded in 1987 by Marian Perkins as a volunteer agency. Marian had raised her four children as a single parent, after the early passing of her husband. She decided to enroll in University to become an addictions counsellor. After graduating, Marian worked at an addiction treatment facility as a counselor and saw many men and women struggle after being released from prison. Seeing this struggle in so many people, Marian decided to find a way to support women involved in the criminal justice system. After much research, Marian collaborated with the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies to start a chapter in Saint John, New Brunswick.
As a newly minted EFry society, Marian offered weekly one-on-one counselling, advocacy, and support services to women incarcerated in Saint John on Thursday mornings. Marian’s program grew, and so she began a quest for volunteers. She connected with Marianna Stack, a retired teacher. Marianna came with many fresh ideas starting with a monthly Bingo game for women in custody. This program was so popular they decided to offer a monthly arts and crafts day. Another new volunteer, Wanda Sheppard Cosman brought the idea of the Mother-Child-Read-Aloud program to the organization. Innovative programs germinated, grew and expanded from there!
In 2012, the Province of New Brunswick announced the decision to move incarcerated women from Saint John to the New Brunswick Women’s Correctional Centre in Miramichi. Marian Perkins fought this decision fiercely but was not successful.
Continuing to be actively involved in EFryNB as a member of the Board of Directors, Marian Perkins unexpectedly passed away in 2020. She offered hope and light to women in vulnerable places for over 33 years. We are committed to honoring her legacy.
Sarah Campbell is a mother of three who was born and raised in Saint John, NB. She studied Biology and Applied Health Services Research at the University of New Brunswick and has a special interest in geographical analysis of health data. She is currently the Research Manager of NB Social Pediatrics and is dedicated to developing, implementing, and evaluating community-based interventions that address the social determinants of health. This includes the Parent-Child Assistance Program, which supports women who experience alcohol- and substance-use during pregnancy. Sarah is also proud to be serving on the Board of Elizabeth Fry Society – Saint John Chapter.
Kristen O’Hanley is the Prevention Coordinator at Fresh Start Services for Women. She is a long-time friend and volunteer of EFry by providing court support and hosted past mental health court meet and greets at the courthouse. In 2012, she began working in local group homes for at-risk youth. She received a BA from St. Thomas University with a double major in Criminology and Psychology. Kristen began Volunteer work in 2006 as a Katimavik participant and has a passion in advocating for social justice for vulnerable people. She was most recently recognized as a leader in the local implementation of HIFIS (homeless individuals and families information system).
Sandra Mitchell BFA, BAAE, MED in Curriculum and Instruction
Past: Visual Arts Teacher. Early Technology adopter. Curriculum developer in Technology and Social Studies. Online educational resource developer. Provincial and national grants for collaborating, integrating technology and art. Facilitator of workshops and participant in conferences provincially, nationally, and internationally. Thesis: “Women’s Clubs and Art Education in Saint John, N.B. 1897 to 1907”.
Diane O’Connor is a retired teacher who lives in Rothesay. After retiring in 2010, she began working as the Fundy Region Coordinator for Go Ahead Seniors, a provincial organization dedicated to empowering seniors through education & information, to make healthy lifestyle choices. Through partnering with various community & health organizations, Diane has organized many Wellness Fairs over the years, Speakers Series with Rothesay Age Friendly Communities & has partnered with EFry to create the Bridging the Gap project & Toolkit. She is also on the Board of the Fundy Wellness Network, Senior Voice (advocacy) & the Rothesay Hive Advisory Committee (Age-Friendly Communities).
Alexia Bovaird, originally from Toronto, moved to Saint John in 1998. Alexia studied e-business at NBCC-Saint John and has worked in Business for over 20 years. Alexia currently works at Gentle Path Counselling Services Ltd both as a mental health advocate and as the designated Executive Assistant for the Inter-Country Adoption Program for the Province of New Brunswick. Alexia, while living in Toronto, volunteered with Covenant House (Canada’s largest agency serving youth who are homeless, trafficked or at risk) as well as in the Emergency Ward at North York Branson Hospital. Alexia is looking forward to using her skills and knowledge to help and serve EFryNB and the women that they lift up.
Chris London is the Coordinator / Instructor for Information Technology programs at the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) Saint John campus. An award-winning Educator, Information Technology Professional, experienced Programmer/Analyst, Project Manager, Account Manager, Business Analyst, and Technical Writer. A lifelong learner and early adopter, Chris has proven educational, business and communication skills. Chris has previous board experience as a Governor on the NBCC Board of Governors (serving on both the Governance and Audit Committees), and currently serves on boards with the Saint John Theatre Company and EFryNB.
Isabelle Caissie, always being passionate with politics & activism, graduated from l’Université de Moncton with a bachelor’s in Political Science and a minor in Criminology. Currently pursuing her J.D at Umoncton, she is interested in criminal law as well as human rights law. She volunteers with Pro Bono Students Canada and with the New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission. Having women’s issues and criminal justice reform be areas of great interests, she has been volunteering with the Elizabeth Fry Society of New Brunswick Nouveau-Brunswick since the spring of 2019, primarily working out of the Moncton Provincial Court.
Jasmine Kranat grew up in London, England and moved to New Brunswick in 2009. In 2011, Jasmine attended Saint Thomas University, earning her B.A. in Human Rights and Criminology. Jasmine attended Law school at the University of Leicester in 2016. During Law School, Jasmine was a member of Lawyers without Boarders and had an internship at a Criminal Law Firm. Jasmine is an associate at Carleton Law Group and was called to the Bar in November 2020. Jasmine has a practice in Family Law and Wills and Estates and Property. In Jasmine’s spare time, she enjoys hiking, cooking, and exploring New Brunswick.
Dawn Ferris is the Executive Director of the Cumberland County Transition House Association (CCTHA) in Amherst Nova Scotia. The CCTHA consists of a women’s shelter, Autumn House, and a men’s intervention program, New Directions. Dawn is also the President of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS). CAEFS is the national organization consisting of local Elizabeth Fry Societies across Canada that work with and for criminalized women and gender-diverse people in Canada. Dawn is a passionate feminist, socialist, activist, abolitionist, and a self-proclaimed comedian. Dawn has spent the better part of the last 30 years working on social justice issues, human rights issues, attempting to smash the patriarchy and advocating for equality for all.
Wanda Sheppard Cosman is a lifetime resident of the Saint John area. She became involved with Elizabeth Fry back in 2000 when she began the Mother Child Read Aloud program for incarcerated women and their children. Since 2002, Wanda presented the anti-shoplifting program to thousands of grade 5 children in the greater Saint John community, retiring from the program to become society president in 2017. Wanda is married with two grown daughters and lives in the Kingston Peninsula.
Bev Doherty was Supervisor of Student Services in District 6, now incorporated into Anglophone South School District, for the past 16 years. She was a member and then President of the Rothesay Association for Community living, a Big Sister with Big Brothers/Big Sisters for 8 years and is still involved with her “little sister” who is now 20 years old. She was volunteer with Avenue B (Aids Saint John and is currently a member of 100 Women Who Care and the Hampton Amnesty International Group. She is passionately interested in Social Justice Issues.
As Executive Director, Judy is excited to bring her experiences to EFry by drawing on her professional and volunteer leadership roles in national and provincial non-profits. With her Masters in Adult Education, she appreciates a work environment that integrates a feminist, holistic and participatory approach that is inclusive, creative, and kind. She is a dreamer of collaborative projects that invite the whole person to learning, an advocate for Human Rights and social justice issues, especially for vulnerable, yet strong, women who yearn to have a voice for personal and community change. She loves having the opportunity to play outdoors with friends, family, and dogs.
Melissa is the Special Administrative Support of EFry New Brunswick. She became a member of the team in October 2019. She sees herself as a provider of stability and functionality in her often fun, but frantic days around the Elizabeth Fry office. In her downtime, she can be found at home being a hermit with her video games and fur babies.
Aubrey is the Community Outreach Worker with the It’s My Life program. She has a passion for working with people using a trauma-informed, anti-oppressive practice that values the whole person and honours their story and strengths. As a registered social worker, Aubrey works collaboratively with people on a one-to-one basis providing support to people that are experiencing exploitation in their life. The It’s My Life program gives women, gender-diverse, and Two-Spirit people the opportunity to reshape their future. In her quiet time, she enjoys hanging out with her chickens, dogs, and cats, and embracing the call of the wild.
Denise has been actively involved with the Elizabeth Fry New Brunswick Nouveau-Brunswick since 2002 as a woman with lived experience. She is a former president of EFryNB as well as a member of the CAEFS Atlantic Advocacy team. Denise is the Women’s Support Worker at EFryNB. She creates a welcoming and safe furnished living space for residents of My Place and supports their journey as they navigate everyday tasks such cooking, budgeting, and housekeeping. She assists residents in taking all the necessary steps required to become a tenant and sustain a healthy and independent lifestyle for themselves and their families. Her hobbies include gardening and being outdoors.
Elizabeth is the Court Liaison Program Coordinator at EFry New Brunswick. Elizabeth has a background in Social Work and has worked in several capacities in the criminal justice system. She works collaboratively as an ally for women, gender-diverse people and their families as they navigate the court system. It has been told that Elizabeth can sometimes be found riding on sandy beaches in her spare time.
Christine is the Wellness Coordinator for Mental Health and Addictions for EFryNB. She has expertise in mental health and addictions developed through previous roles, life experience and formal education. She has a background in Criminology, as well as Sociology and Psychology. Having focused her personal development on mentoring and promoting self-development, Christine prides herself on providing support that is person focused, strength based, empowerment sourced and meeting people where they are. In her downtime she enjoys painting, music and exploring new places.
Melissa is the Human Resource Program Lead and someone with lived experiences. As a former entrepreneur she is passionate about creating employment pathways for the vulnerable community in the Saint John area. She hopes to provide valuable employment and employees moving toward combating poverty and unhealthy cycles in the Saint John community. Melissa believes wholeheartedly employment is the best rehabilitation. With an education in advanced Human Resource Management, Melissa also provides business support to EFryNB. When Melissa is off work, you’ll find her beachcombing, reading a book or curled up with her cats.
EFry Student Ambassadors
Imagine yourself joining an interdisciplinary team that offers opportunities for you to develop your student placement position in collaboration with EFryNB. You will gain practical experience in a creative, innovative environment that prepares you for your next step in entering the workforce. We provide mentorship and support, open doors to develop community relationships, and the opportunity to enhance an organization whose primary role is to support individuals who may be vulnerable or criminalized. We encourage students of all disciplines to contact us to discuss our Student Ambassador opportunities.
We have worked with Students from Nursing Faculties, Law Schools, MBA programs, and Social Services programs. We all have wisdom; we invite you to consider sharing yours with us.
EFryNB loves awards, especially when we get them!
“I am discovering a lot more because I am making changes on things that I wouldn’t have before. A burden has been lifted.”
“What was important to me was everyone formed a unit, and everybody cared about the other person. This is what made the group strong – we were invincible – we could conquer Mount Everest!”