Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary
Our Story Why We Exist
I've been a staff member at EFry for almost three years and have worked in different programs and clients groups within the agency. I've had the opportunity to gain an understanding of how our work transforms the lives of our clients. From adult women that have been criminalized, to youth that are entering the justice system, as well as the successful integration of newcomers to the country. EFry provides an essential service.
From the start, I've been enthralled with my work at EFry. We hold a unique position within the social service sector based on our programming focus of working in the justice system with women. We offer clients a place of support and safety in their path to personal change. As females ourselves, we give women the opportunity to meet in a non-judgemental space to encourage and empower them.
Over time, I've observed the positive outcomes of the meaningful connections between staff and clients. I've seen how these connections have altered the lives of the women that we have the honour of working with. We've seen them in their times of struggle supporting them during the tough periods of incarceration, as well as their times of success such as succeeding on the road to sobriety and making changes towards positive growth.
Each day offers a new opportunity for clients and we are there for every step; this is what engages me in my daily work – the chance to empower another woman on her journey.
Kate Joseph – Prison Community Outreach Caseworker
Our Impact What We Do
Elizabeth Fry has provided services to women and their families since December 1965 encourgaging positive change and awareness to women. We work on a continuum of service with an integrative program model that begins with preventative supports and engages at a level of intensified intervention.
Mission: The Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary offers pathways to healing, through supports and advocacy, for women who are affected by systemic social issues which contribute to their criminalization.
Vision: Equality that promotes a woman’s sense of self in her journey through lived experience towards infinite potential.
- Integrity - Consistency and truthfulness in actions and values
- Advocacy - Foster an environment of courage and empowerment for all those who interact with the agency
- Ingenuity - Flexibility and adaptability in providing value-added services within an ever-changing social framework
2015 Program Highlights: After 50 years of service...
We began developing our Youth Mentorship and Legal Information program to provide individualized support to youth who fall between the gaps of services and paid supports.
The constantly changing immigration system continues to guide our work to assist women and their families with immigration needs.
We facilitated the SAGE Employment Readiness Program for vulnerable women experiencing barriers to employment with consistent programming supports to assist them on their journey to personal success.
Our Indigenous programming was expanded to include Blackfoot Literacy and Language classes and monthly talking circles. An Aboriginal Program Resource Worker was hired to coordinate and enhance our Indigenous supports.
Our Programs How We Do It
Calgary Awareness Programs for Immigrants:
- Legal workshops and clinics are conducted to assist newcomers with accurate information to navigate the legal system and prevent negative interactions with the law.
- Information and awareness is provided to newcomers to inform them of their individual rights and responsibilities within Canadian legislation. In particular those systems that they may interface with more regularly (housing, employment, human rights).
- Individualized assistance to women and their families with challenges to their immigration status in Canada. Support is provided around immigration documents and legal information.
Calgary and Regional Court Programs:
- Court Support is provided to adults and youth (both male and female) regarding legal information on plea options and referrals for first and second appearances.
- Legal Information and referrals are provided on the Family Justice Services floor of the Calgary Courts Centre
- Supports are provided in the Calgary Court Centre as well as six Regional Courts (Airdrie, Didsbury, Cochrane, Canmore, and Okotoks)
Legal Information Program:
- Women are supported with individualized assistance regarding their legal issues that may require further supports with processes, legal documents, advocacy, and direct legal referrals.
- Support for women seeking support around Records Suspension (Pardons).
Prison Community Outreach Program:
- Incarceration: Women are provided with support to manage incarceration constructively and assistance in their release planning.
- Community and Outreach: Assists women in intensified case management supports to address core issues, and increasing opportunity for stabilization.
- Group programming (U.N.L.O.C.K function skills program) is provided in the Calgary Remand Centre and the Calgary Attendance Centre.
- Program Resource Supports are provided in the main office to assist women with systems navigation and short term support that does not require intensified case management supports.
Aboriginal Cultural Supports:
- Talking Circles and Elder Supports
- Access to Indigenous Ceremonies
- Moccasin Making and other activities
- Blackfoot Literacy Classes
Berkana House and Housing:
Through our partnership with the Calgary John Howard Society we co-own and co-manage Berkana House, which provides transitional housing supports to women and their children who are under conditional releases after leaving federal and provincial institutions.
SAGE: Emotional Wellness and Employment Readiness Program:
SAGE supports women with emotional wellness, Aboriginal cultural connection and supports, functional life skills, and preparation and planning towards the next steps of employment.
Youth Legal Information and Mentorship Program:
Provides support to youth engaged in the justice system to assist with understanding and navigating the expectations of their orders. Mentorship is available to youth who fit between the gaps of resources, or who require additional supports to be successful. In particular a focus on Indigenous and Immigrant youth are a priority.
Elizabeth Fry volunteers provide an essential support to the agency through their assistance in the court and legal information programs. Other opportunities are available to contribute to the agency's special programs and events. Volunteers benefit from the experiences of working within a justice environment and contributing to the welling being of women.
Our Requests What You Can Do
The Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary is proud to have committed volunteers from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. We look for individuals who are passionate, open-minded, non-judgemental and willing to join an energetic team!
“Volunteering with EFry has shown me that giving back to the community can be very easy... I encourage people looking to volunteer to find topics that they truly care about, and just go for them. Your contributions and skills will always be put to good use by people and organizations in need.” - Volunteer, Melissa Chow.
Assist our Court Liaisons providing legal information and resources in the following Courts:
- Calgary Youth Court
- Calgary Adult Court
- Calgary Family Justice Services
- Regional Courts (Airdrie, Canmore, Cochrane, Didsbury, and Okotoks)
Assist our Legal Information Specialists:
- Support women or youth in addressing their legal issues
- Assist with documentation
- Attend court as a emotional support
- Mentorship of youth
Other opportunities include:
- Newsletter and marketing
- Office and program support
- Special Events
If you would like to find out more about our available volunteer opportunities or apply for a position in the court programs email our Court Volunteer Coordinator at email@example.com
For Legal Information and Mentorship programs contact our Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
As with all non-profits, your donations contribute to the overall capacity of the agency to provide ongoing programming, and enhance client support.
When possible we assist women with opportunities to restabilize their lives after release. In a difficult housing market, our supports are essential to aiding women with subsidy supports, as well as providing assistance with skill sets to contribute to their sustainability in housing. Housing donations to assist with housing subsidies, as well as starter kits of basic housing items assist our women with the opportunity to regain their lives.
Additionally new in-kind donations of the following are always appreciated:
- womens underwear
- sports bras
- plain one color women's t-shirts with not designs
- yoga or jogging pants
- hair ties
- Feminine Hygiene
“Out of all the resources out there I know Elizabeth Fry helped me the most. Elizabeth Fry covers so many areas of a woman’s life, from housing, education, financial, legal and personal needs. I donít know what I would have done without you guys.” – EFry client