Thunder Bay, ON – May 8th to May 14th marks Elizabeth Fry Week in Thunder Bay and in various cities across Canada. The Elizabeth Fry Society of Northwestern Ontario provides support and advocacy to women who have been in contact with the criminal justice system. The Society’s part time Coordinator oversees and delivers services and programs to women at the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre with help from approximately 20 volunteers. The Elizabeth Fry visitation program helps women deal with the prison experience itself, connect with appropriate resources within the community and develop a discharge plan to be able to successfully integrate into the community. Recognizing that a large number of women in custody have experienced multiple traumas, the Society offers a wide range of supportive group programming such as arts and crafts, music, meditation and mindfulness, book club and yoga. In addition to providing recreation and skill development, these programs support women on their healing journey and have been shown to have significant therapeutic value.
As a small non-profit, charitable organization, the Society is very much in need of increased and secure funding to be able to more effectively meet the needs of women who have been or are at risk of becoming criminalized. Fortunately, the 9 Directors who currently sit on the Elizabeth Fry Society Board are no ordinary group of women.
With a diverse range of skills and backgrounds, they have been meeting bi-weekly in a variety of committees over the past year to expand the Agency’s capacity in the areas of programming, research, advocacy and fundraising. As they strive to decrease the incarceration of women in northwestern Ontario, the Board and staff are passionate in their determination to keep E Fry’s doors open so that criminalized women feel welcomed and supported as they move forward in their lives.
To celebrate all that the Elizabeth Fry Society of Northwestern Ontario does for the Thunder Bay community there will be events across the city. The City will be making an official proclamation at the beginning of the week to launch the event. Throughout this period community members can go to the Brodie Street Library, Mary J Black Library, and the Waverly Street Library to see vibrant visual displays about the work that the Elizabeth Fry Society of Northwestern Ontario does. This will include a selection of relevant literature selected by the library staff.
Finally, to cap off the week, we invite all community members to come out to the Oliver Road Community Centre on May 12th for our second annual family friendly event “An Evening with Elizabeth Fry and Friends”. This event will feature the talents of local artists: Lorrina Belluz, Dulcisono, and Robin Ranger. Those in attendance will also have the opportunity to experience and purchase some of the unique art created by the women at the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre, with instruction from local artist Kathleen Baleja.
This evening will be offering up some great fusion food prepared by local chef, Nikos Mantis along with beautiful silent auction prizes generously donated by local artisans and businesses. Volunteers are organizing the event and 100% of the proceeds go to support the programs of our local Elizabeth Fry Society.
Copperfin Credit Union generously supports this event.