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Elizabeth Fry – The story behind our name

September 13, 2016

Have you ever wondered who was Elizabeth Fry? We are often asked that question and want to introduce you to the incredible woman our agency name honours.

Meet the real Elizabeth Fry

Elizabeth Fry has been referred to as the “angel of prisons”, and was a major proponent to make the treatment of prisoners more humane. Elizabeth Fry was born into a wealthy and socially prominent English family in 1789 and was determined to contribute to those less fortunate.

She took an interest in the poor, the sick and prisoners. She began visiting female inmates at London’s infamous Newgate Prison in 1813 and was horrified by the conditions these women lived in. Elizabeth took action and began her life of humanitarian work and prison reform. She achieved significant reform first in England and then over time in prisons across Europe. Her work expanded to include support of the poor, mentally ill and hospital systems and was even credited with influencing health care providers such as Florence Nightingale.

Canadian Societies Working Together

The Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies is built on the foundation of Elizabeth Fry’s work of women’s rights in prisons: the right to equality, opportunities and programs in the justice system, and justice without fear of prejudice and discrimination. The Calgary society was founded in 1975 and one of 24 member societies across Canada that meets the unique needs of our communities and collaborates to address poverty, racism and other forms of oppression affecting women.

Celebrating 50 Years in Calgary

This year, Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary is celebrating 50 years of working with thousands of Calgary’s vulnerable women and youth. These women are all unique in their stories, but are linked together by common themes of poverty, abuse, addiction and trauma. With our help and support, these women and their families get another chance.

The Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary is rich in stories of hope and change for women and children in the justice system. We’re honoured to continue to carry on the legacy of Elizabeth Fry, a passionate advocate for those without a voice and a champion of prison reform.


Celebrating 50 Years of New Chances with Piper Kerman

April 11, 2016

Maybe, because all these good people loved me enough to help me, maybe I wasn’t quite as bad as I felt. Maybe there was a part of me that was worthy of their love.

Orange_Black_PKAn Experience of Incarceration

On April 14th, we have the honour of presenting Piper Kerman at our major fundraising event The View from Behind Bars: An Evening with Piper Kerman. Piper Kerman is the best-selling author of Orange is the New Black, My Year in a Women’s Prison and inspiration behind the Netflix series of the same. She will share her experience of incarceration and the intersection of her life with the lives of the women she met while in prison. Her true story explores the friendships and families with these women as well as their mental illnesses and substance abuse issues, cliques and codes of behavior.

Finding Another Chance

Much like the women in Piper Kerman’s memoir, the women we serve at EFry all have unique stories. They are linked together by common themes of poverty, abuse, addiction and trauma. It is this cycle of poverty that must be addressed and broken for lasting change to occur.

An Evening with Piper Kerman is about finding another chance after incarceration. Through this event, we hope to create new community relationships and understanding about the unique challenges facing women and their families who are transitioning from prison to our community.

Thank you for Supporting 50 Years of New Chances

This event is EFry’s largest fundraiser in its 50-year history and would not be possible without the generous support from our event sponsors: CTV Calgary, Corus Entertainment, Bow Valley College, Athabasca University, Display Graphics, Landstar Communities, Krywolt Insurance, Mosaic Communications, Quantum Place and United Way of Calgary and Area. Thank you to these organizations for being part of our historic event that will shape the future of women and children in our community for years to come.

Tickets: Eventbrite.ca


Piper Kerman – COMING!

January 28, 2016

PIPER KERMAN, THE REAL-LIFE INSPIRATION BEHIND ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, IS COMING TO CALGARY

Piper Kerman is perhaps today’s most popular prisoner on TV thanks to the success of the award-winning Netflix original series, Orange is the New Black. Kerman is coming to Calgary to share her incredible true story on Thursday, April 14, 2016. The View from Behind Bars – an evening with Piper Kerman is a special fundraising event for the Elizabeth Fry Society (EFry) of Calgary.

“We’re incredibly excited to announce this event and to have Piper Kerman bring her humour and passion to our stage to help us shine a spotlight on the very serious challenges faced by women as they transition from correctional facilities back into the community,” says EFry’s Board President Virginia Ashley.

Kerman is the best-selling author of Orange is the New Black, My Year in Women’s Prison and the inspiration for the award-winning series of the same name on Netflix. Her book explores the experience of incarceration and the intersection of her life with the lives of the women she met while in prison.

A brief dalliance with drug trafficking while she was in her early twenties sent Kerman to prison ten years later on money laundering charges. She spent 13 months in the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut.

“The public expects sentences to be punitive but also rehabilitative; however, what we expect and what we get from our prisons are very different things,” says Kerman. “The lesson that our prison system teaches its residents is how to survive as a prisoner, not as a citizen – not a very constructive body of knowledge for us or the communities to which we return.”

 

What: The View from Behind Bars: An Evening with Piper Kerman

When: Thursday, April 14, 2016

  • 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Doors Open & Silent Auction
  • 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Presentation

Where: Macleod Hall, Telus Convention Centre 120 – 9th Ave SE

Tickets: On sale at www.eventbrite.ca

$50 general admission

$100 premium seating ticket includes a signed copy of Kerman’s book Orange is the New Black, My Year in Women’s Prison

“With Ms. Kerman’s help, we want to raise awareness about the unique challenges facing women – and their children – who are transitioning from prison to our community,” says Katelyn Lucas, Executive Director, Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary. “This event will raise funds required to connect more women with new chances at life in the form of jobs, homes and acceptance.”

Since her release from prison, Kerman has worked tirelessly to promote the cause of prison and criminal justice reform. This event promises to be a heartwarming and inspirational evening that brings together Calgarians who need to hear this important message that calls for reform and restoration, issues that the Elizabeth Fry Society has been advocating for 50 years in the Calgary community.