Women And Their Families Are Free, Strong And Have The Courage To Make Positive Choices

Social issues of poverty, unstable housing, mental health, gender imbalance, and violence can lead women to be caught in the net of the justice system. EFrySJ reaches out to women who are freeing themselves from the cycles imposed by correctional systems. Women who may be criminalized engage in education, advocacy, and direct services that provide hope and confidence to move forward from a position of strength.

EFrySJ is a woman centered organization committed to gender diverse people. Women experience compassion, acceptance, dignity, and connection as EFrySJ, in collaboration with its community partners, offers personalized, responsive services, safe and secure housing, education, and advocacy.

Our Story

EFrySJ 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 EFrySJ 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.

Our Mission

Elizabeth Fry Society of Saint John NB Inc is a non-profit, charitable organization supporting women and their families affected by socio-economic factors that may contribute to being involved with the criminal justice system. Through EFrySJ’s advocacy work, education, community relationships, and direct services, women and their families gain strength and resiliency to make positive changes for themselves and their communities.

From a solid base of being passionate about what we do and how we do it, we know we will continue our 33 years of offering innovative, creative, and effective solutions to ongoing challenges faced by women and their families. We stand behind our belief that the best solutions lie in a spirit of collaboration and relationship building with our community partners and the women and families whom we serve. Our core values of collaboration, compassion, dignity, innovation, and trust guide us. Together with our committed staff, volunteers, donors, and community partners, we believe we can create communities in which women and their families can thrive.

EFry Celebrates – EFry loves awards especially if we get them

2018 – The Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick’s Dr. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell Literacy Award in the category of Early Childhood Literacy.

2018 – YWCA Woman of Distinction award to EFrySJ Executive Director, Judy Murphy.

2015 – Fundy Wellness Network’s Wellness Champions.

2013 – Volunteer Spirit Award to Marian Perkins from the Saint John Volunteer Centre.

2010 – New Brunswick Human Rights Award.

2008 – Marianna Stack received the Order of New Brunswick Award for her selfless volunteerism.

Our People
EFry Staff

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 EFrySJ. 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 EFry office. In her downtime, she can be found at home being a hermit with her video games and fur babies.

Aubrey’s role as a case worker and advocate with mental health and addictions experience comes from her passion towards working with people using a trauma-informed, anti-oppressive practice that values the whole person and honours their story and strength. Aubrey works collaboratively with people on a one-to-one basis providing support in goal planning and counseling using aspects of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  Aubrey completed her Bachelor of Applied Sciences with the University of Guelph and completed a Master of Social Work with Wilfrid Laurier University. 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 Society of Saint John since 2002 as a woman with lived experience. She is a former president of EFrySJ as well as a member of the CAEFS Atlantic Advocacy team. Denise is the Women’s Support Worker and My Place House Manager at EFrySJ. 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. 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 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. 

Board member info to come!

“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!”

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