Created in 1973, the St. John’s Women’s Centre is the charitable non-profit arm of the St. John’s Status of Women Council. The Women’s Centre is dedicated to providing women-centred, community-based programs delivered within a safe, non-judgemental, open, and caring environment. Throughout its long history, the Women’s Centre was instrumental in opening the first transition house for women fleeing domestic violence and was home to the first rape crisis centre in the province.
For the past 44 years, the Women’s Centre has offered support and programs on many issues that affect women’s lives, including social isolation, mental health, violence, marginalisation, poverty, housing, trauma, and system navigation. All of our programs and services are women-focused and for women only and aim to provide opportunity for personal growth, empowerment, and social connection. All programs are offered free of charge.
Women’s Centre Programs
Right here, right now drop in counselling program for women
What: Right here, right now drop in counselling is a program that will provide single session therapy to women in St John’s area.
When: Tuesdays and Wednesdays – Available between 12- 5pm
Where: The Women’s Centre – 170 Cashin Avenue Extension
What should I expect? No appointment or referral is necessary. A woman can show up during drop –in hours and, after some simple intake information is collected, she can receive service. The sessions can vary in length. It could be as long as I hour. We will take women on a first come first serve basis and we will do everything we can to accommodate everyone who comes.
Why: Overall, there are long wait lists and a shortage of mental health professionals in this area. Particularly there is a lack of appropriate women centred mental health services that can be accessed when they are most needed. It is our hope that this drop-in counselling program will be useful for women either as a stand-alone service or as a stopgap service while women connect to the other services they need and/or are requiring support during the long wait times.
Drop-In Lunch & Learn Program
The longest running Women’s Centre program, the Thursday afternoon Drop-In Lunch & Information session is offered year round and serves a nutritious lunch to an average of 25 women per week and more than 1,000 women per year. Participants are encouraged to network, socialize, and participate in information sessions and activities on a range of topics, including body image, healthy relationships, healthy living, self-defence, sexual assault awareness and cervical screening awareness just to name a few. Women’s Centre staff is available for informal counselling support during this program.
Clothing Boutique Program & Personal Care Pantry Program
Our Clothing Boutique Program is available to any woman in the community and appointments are available monthly on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This program has been a great resource to women experiencing homelessness, living on fixed or low incomes, experiencing violence, or simply seeking something new to wear.
Distributed through the Clothing Boutique, the Personal Care Pantry Program provides an array of hygiene products for women and their families free of charge. On average, approximately 650 appointments are made annually, not including numerous emergency referrals. Gently used clothing and new personal care items are donated to the Centre regularly by the caring community and as-needed drives.
Morning Yarn Program
This craft based program is open to women of all skill levels and is offered year round on Friday mornings from 10–12. Morning Yarn operates with a view to replacing upheaval, unpredictability, and self-doubt with personal mastery. Further to skill development, this program helps to foster a sense of accomplishment in one’s ability from a creative perspective. This program has the additional support of a mental health and addictions social worker from Eastern Health that is available during the program. Approximately 40 Morning Yarn sessions are offered per year.
Pre-Release Program at the Newfoundland and Labrador Correctional Centre for Women
Every 10 weeks, a staff member visits the Correctional Centre in Clarenville, Newfoundland (140 km west of St. John’s) as part of a their pre-release process to talk about programs in the community. The Clothing Boutique and Personal Care Pantry Program have been great resources for women transitioning back into the community from the Correctional Centre. In addition to providing much-needed clothing and personal items, visits to the Women’s Centre following release help prevent the isolation and loneliness that often result in recidivism.
This closed, eight-week support group is designed specifically for women who have experienced domestic violence. Women can self-refer or come from physicians, social workers, and government or community agencies. Led by experienced facilitators, these supportive sessions are offered in the spring, fall, and winter of each year. These sessions share information, skill-building opportunities, and offer critical support to women. When funding is available women receive often crucial transportation and childcare stipends.
The Women’s Centre also holds many workshops and events throughout the year, including:
Sewing Group/Quilting Club
Following the mastery model of the Morning Yarn, Sewing Group is 6-week beginners’ prerequisite program to Quilting Club in which women learn basic sewing skills. Occurring on Tuesdays, Sewing Group and Quilting Club require registration due to limited space. The Women’s Centre provides all materials including sewing machines and nutritious lunches are offered. Participants learn basic skills to make small projects for themselves then move on to bigger projects, which they donate. Donating to organizations gives participants the opportunity to experience the joy felt when sharing their collective hard work with others.
The St. John’s Women’s Centre offers a variety of free programs that encompass mind, body, and soul. Yoga and Meditation, for example, are open to all skill levels. Our holistic programs aim to build strength, tap into one’s personal energy, are designed to heal, uplift, and inspire, and leave participants feeling empowered.
We will continue to offer interesting and inspiring programs to all women in a safe, supportive women-only space. Some additional examples of the Women’s Centre’s recent programs and projects are:
drumming circles, mindfulness workshops, spirit horse program (equine therapy program), belly dancing workshops, art pottery program, creative writing classes, container gardening, violence awareness, music program, healthy living series, depression workshop, vision boarding workshops, and much more. There is always something new happening at the St. John’s Women’s Centre.
Our annual Christmas Dinner with Santa and his elves serves up a full festive meal complete with gifts and a holiday sing is a great way to start the festive season!
The St. John’s Women’s Centre will no longer have the Holiday Christmas Hamper program beginning December 2016. It has been a wonderful four years offering this support to community and we are truly grateful to all those who sponsored families in the past.
Please contact The Salvation Army or Single Parents Association to inquire about their Holiday supports.