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 counseling, 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 Cosmanbrought 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 EFry 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.
Board of Directors
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 Efry Saint John and the women that they lift up.
Isbelle Caissie, Always being passionate about politics & activism, Isabelle 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 Saint John since the spring of 2019, primarily working out of the Moncton Provincial Court.
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. Sarah spent several years running the scientific and environmental restoration projects at the Hammond River Angling Association before taking a position with the provincial Department of the Environment, where she managed the large-industry portfolio. Sarah then spent several years focusing on her studies and raising her family. During this time, she volunteered in the Goodlife Fitness daycare, in the Quispamsis Middle School library and became a strong advocate for TirNaNog Forest School. More recently, Sarah’s focus has shifted to health research. In her previous position with the Maritime SPOR Support Unit, Sarah coordinated the set-up of a national, multi-site Oncology Study, and supported numerous other research projects at Horizon Health Network. 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 the Elizabeth Fry Society of Saint john.
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 he 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.
Patrick Dunn, an associate in the Sint john office of Cox & Palmer, was called to the Bar in June 2012. He has a general legal practice with a focus on assisting clients in the areas of litigation and administrative law. He majored in political science with a minor in history while studying at Carleton university. While earning his law degree from Dalhousie University, he received the Alistair Fraser Scholarship and prized in Legislation, Conflict of Laws, Alternative Dispute Resolution, and judicial Remedies. He gave his time and knowledge for Pro Bono Students Canada through the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society Equity Office and as a member of the Dalhousie Journal of Legal Studies Reading Group. Patrick enjoys reading, classical music, and choral singing.
Chris London is the Coordinator / Instructor for Information technology programs at the New Brunswick Community College (NBCKC) 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. Proven educational, business and communication skills. Seeks challenges. Chris has board experience as a former 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 the Elizabeth Fry Society of Saint John.
Kristen O’Hanley has been a board member for 5 months, but a long-time EFry friend and volunteer. She helped with court support and hosted the mental health court meet and greet at the local courthouse. Kristen has work in non-profit since 2012, beginning as a youth care worker in local group homes. Kristen’s current role is as client support and homelessness prevention expert at Fresh Start Services for women. She grew up locally and received a BA from st Thomas university with a double major in criminology and psychology. During her time there she was also a conversational partner for students from Japan. Kristen has a long history of various volunteer work, beginning in 2006 when she was a Katimavik participant. Kristen has a passion for advocating for social justice and vulnerable people. She has most recently been recognized as a leader in the local implementation of HIFIS (homeless individuals and families information system).
Victoria Scott is a Learning Strategist for the New Brunswick Community College at the Saint John campus. She also leads the provincial NBCC Learning Strategy team. Victoria began her career as an instructor at NBCC before transitioning to Student Development in 2012. Her passion for supporting individuals that face barriers to education and assistance is evident in her work and volunteerism. Victoria is a board member of Options Outreach Employment Inc. and is a regular volunteer at the Saint John SPCA. She is a passionate advocate for both human and animal rights. Her personal pursuits include SCUBA Diving, ocean conservation, sailing and travel.