Dedicated to helping young mothers and their families
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Our founder, June Callwood, was a celebrated writer and a passionate activist determined to make the world a better place. In 1982, she helped launch Jessie’s: The June Callwood Centre for Young Women (formerly Jessie’s Centre for Teenagers) in downtown Toronto.
The Centre was established to offer comprehensive services to pregnant teens and young mothers and their children facing enormous obstacles such as poverty and social isolation with few programs available to provide help.
Today, with 20 staff members and 80 volunteers, we pursue a holistic and sustainable approach, recognizing the importance of economic and social conditions on health outcomes. Jessie’s offers a range of services to help empower the young women we serve – those who choose to terminate their pregnancies as well as the pregnant teens who come through our doors who choose to have their babies. Our programming is developed to help each of them reach their full potential as engaged parents and independent adults.
Along with our generous donors, community partners and supportive neighbourhood businesses, we serve over 1,000 pregnant teenagers, young parents and their children every year. Learn more…
In 2010, Jessie’s Centre received the $50,000 Ruth Atkinson Hindmarsh Award celebrating one of Ontario’s leading child and youth organizations.
Alexa Minichiello is the Manager, Clinical Knowledge Translation at the Association of Ontario Midwives. In this role, Alexa helps to advance the clinical practice of midwives and promotes accessible, high-quality, and client-centered pregnancy and postpartum care. Alexa holds a BA in Political Science and a Masters’ of Science with a specialization in public health policy.
Valarie is a lawyer who practices exclusively in the area of family law. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and her law degree from Harvard Law School. She has a particular interest in ensuring equity in education and has volunteered with various organizations that support underserved youth in the United States and Canada.
Micaela is a former Jessie’s participant, Jessie’s graduate, former birth doula, and former Community Education Speaker. Currently she is a Social Service Work student at George Brown. She is a very pound mother of two. She has experience in volunteering as a mealtime host at St. Joseph’s Hospital. She hopes to shine light on the tough experiences she overcame and give back to Jessie’s.
Noelle is a business strategist, problem solver and storyteller. She is a Principal Consultant with Slalom, a purpose-driven consulting firm that helps companies solve business problems and build for the future. An Industrial Engineer by training, Noelle built her career in helping organizations move from ideation to execution, create high-functioning business, and drive operational efficiencies. She is passionate about intersectional feminism and is excited to contribute to the community through Jessie’s.
Shelley is a governance professional at Foresters Financial primarily responsible for Legal Operations and is currently also acting Assistant Corporate Secretary. She has over 24 years of progressively senior legal and corporate governance experience, specializing in legal operations as well as corporate secretarial and regulatory services. Over the years, Shelley has participated in a number of volunteer activities for SickKids Hospital, Children’s Miracle Network, and KaBOOM! Playground Builds and most recently organized workplace volunteer events for a local women’s shelter and community outreach program for the homeless. Shelley is excited to have the opportunity to be a part of Jessie’s.
Laurel is a litigation lawyer with the law firm of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. Laurel’s practice focuses on intellectual property law. She represents clients in a wide range of intellectual property matters in the life sciences and technology industries. Prior to joining Blakes, Laurel worked at a litigation boutique and at the Federal Court of Canada. For the past three years, Laurel has also volunteered on the Board of Directors for Young Women in Law.
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