We embarked on a new year of new missions with hopefulness and commitment to doing more and improving our quality of service for the women we help.
We ended 2019 feeling hopeful about what 2020 had in store for us. After a brief office closure for the holidays, our staff came back rejuvenated and ready to delve into the important work we do to support the women we serve. We hosted a Black History Month event, participated in the Strawberry Ceremony, joined the Women's March and celebrated the National Elizabeth Fry Week. In March 2020, we successfully strengthened our Leadership Team by hiring two new Directors – Sheila Baroro, Director of Finance & Administration and Vibhuti Mehra, Director of Programs – who are going to be instrumental in achieving our agency’s strategic goals.
Like many other organizations and businesses, we too have been impacted by COVID-19. Despite the sudden onset of COVID-19, we have made a fairly seamless transition to delivering programs and services online. We continue to provide ongoing support to our clients and foster valuable community partnerships.
Black History Month
On February 25, 2020 we celebrated Black History Month. Our event focused on the high rates of incarcerated Black folks and the impactthis has on the Black community. We invited 3 guest speakers; Elizabeth Mudenyo, Xiomara Creighton and Donnica Campbell. Elizabeth started us off with some beautiful poetry that highlighted black love, struggle and triumph, followed by Xiomara who shared her lived experience having a step father who was incarcerated and her journey to becoming an author, contributing to Healing the Little Woman Inside-Stories of Rebirth & Renewal. Lastly Donnica, from One World Consultation spoke to us about the overrepresentation of Black people in prison and the impact of labelling Black women as aggressive.
E Fry Week 2020
This year we celebrated National Elizabeth Fry Week from May 4th-10th, 2020. Annually we celebrate the week leading up to Mother's Day to shine light on the fact many incarcerated women are mothers who are separated from their children when they are sentenced to prison. For this year's theme, Canadian Associationof Elizabeth Fry Societies (CAEFS) asked us to imagine what a world without prisons would look like and what a thriving community needs. Our team members created short videos and written messages with their thoughts. Click here to see what they had to say!
Due to COVID-19 we have had to temporarily close our offices to keep our clients, volunteers and staff safe. Despite the physical closure we are continuing to provide services remotely through email, phone and Zoom. Our residence remains open and fully operational along with our toll-free Talk & Listen line. A big thank you goes out to our residential team who continue to show up for their shifts and women as well as our volunteers who take the line Monday to Friday!
As we continue to navigate COVID-19 we have increased our social media presence to keep our followers informed. We launched several live sessions on our Instagram account to keep our clients engaged and active. Thank you everyone who participated in the live classes. We also wanted to thank all our virtual partners for their willingness to participate in the live series and for creating such incredible classes for us all to enjoy!
E Fry Toronto extends its sincere gratitude to all our donors, funders and partners for their generous support throughout the years and their patience while we adapt to changes due to COVID-19 . We would like to specifically thank The Rotary Club of Toronto-Women's Initiative for their support of our Talk & Listen three years in a row as well as United Way Greater Toronto and The Tippet Foundation for your support during COVID-19.