Our mission is to nurture the healthy development of pregnant teenagers, young parents and their children.
We are a pro-choice organization that supports a woman's right to make choices about her sexual health and pregnancy options.
Jessie's Centre promotes and endorses:
- Comprehensive, accessible services for pregnant young women, young parents and their children
- Opportunities for pregnant teenagers and young parents to exercise individual choice, experience personal empowerment, resolve problems successfully and move toward adult independence
- A commitment to feminism, anti-discrimination, accessibility, anti-oppression and positive social change in every aspect of our structure and functioning
- A supportive, respectful, anti-discriminatory approach to service delivery
- Systemic or social change designed to promote equity, fairness and respect toward children and young parents
June Callwood was a professional author/freelance writer for the Globe & Mail and Maclean's. In the late 70's, June chaired a Task Force that surveyed and evaluated services in Toronto for pregnant teenagers. The major conclusion of their work was that programs and resources for young parents 18 and under were few and far between. Inspired by the Task Force's findings, she gathered together colleagues from front-line Toronto agencies. With this team, in 1982 Jessie's Centre for Teenagers was born. The 2-floor facility at Bathurst and Queen with a staff of 4 and a few volunteers, began to provide basic and essential services to pregnant teenagers.
In 1992, Jessie's moved into its current home, a brand new 6-storey building on Parliament Street. Our programs operate in the first two floors of the building and we provide supportive housing to 16 young families (the majority single mother-led) on the top four floors.
This year, we celebrate our 30th Anniversary. We now have 20 staff members and close to 80 volunteers. Along with our generous donors, several community partners and supportive neighbouring businesses, we serve over 200 pregnant teenagers and a grand total of 1,100 young parents and their children every year.
Staff List (in alphabetical order)
Beth Poulin, Food Coordinator
Bonnie Tytel, Community Education Program Coordinator
Eileen Alexiou, Counsellor
Gabrielle Collett, Housing Program Coordinator
Heather Bergen, Housing Access Counsellor
Jamella Francis, Counsellor
Laura Hogeboom, Respite Care Program Coordinator
Leanne Williams, Parent Child Counsellor
Leila Palomino, Counsellor (currently on leave)
Linda Gallant, Parent-Child Centre Program Assistant
Lorena Bethancourt, Counsellor
Maritza Sanchez, Executive Director
Natalie Cheung, Counsellor
Patty Bolos, Parent Child Counsellor
Poupak Memar, Health Counsellor
Rebecca Lee, Administrative Assistant
Sharon Sears, Parent Child Counsellor
Shirley Enns, Financial Administrator
Sandra Marleau, Development Administrator/Volunteer Coordinator
- Toronto Public Health
- Midwives Collective
- Literature for Life
- Hospital for Sick Children
- St. Michael's Hospital
- Jobs, Vision, Success-Employment Program
- Kids Up Front
- Planned Parenthood of Toronto
For more information click here to see our Annual Report.