About First Steps
First Steps is a safe, non judgmental housing unit for young women that are
pregnant and/or parenting. First Steps provides access to programs and services in
the community, private bedrooms, healthy and nutritious meals, knowledge in life
skills and 24hr staff experienced to work with women and children in crisis
Second Steps is an apartment program which continues to provide housing and
support for pregnant and parenting young women who have completed First Steps.
The Dr. Christine Davies Education Centre
The Dr. Christine Davies Education Centre provides schooling for pregnant and
parenting women who would like to achieve their academic high school diploma.
We believe all women can embrace who they are,
can define their future, and can change the world.
First Steps, in partnership with the community, offers a supportive environment that enables young pregnant women and their babies to reach their full potential.
Healthy Moms. Healthy Babies. Healthy Futures.
Saint John, New Brunswick has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in Canada. The birth rate in Saint John is almost 50% higher than the provincial average.
For many years, the Greater Saint John Teen Pregnancy Committee, community organizations, non-profit agencies, and concerned citizens of Saint John have tried to address the issue of teen pregnancy, primarily through prevention and educational methods. Although there have been some positive results from their efforts, Saint John continues to have one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in Canada. Clearly, additional steps needed to be taken, and as a result the First Steps Housing Project Inc. Steering Committee was launched.
During the summer of 2000, First Steps Steering Committee coordinated a survey of young women who had experienced teen pregnancy. They confirmed the need for a supportive residence in Saint John. There were, at the time, eleven young women who would have used such a facility.
In 1997, a group of Saint John business people who wanted to help combat the growing poverty problem in Greater Saint John established the “Business Community Anti-Poverty Initiative” (BCAPI). This group of business people wanted to know if they were directing their energies in the right places, and whether they were having an impact on people living in poverty. Consequently, they selected an independent party “Deloitte & Touche” to identify initiatives that could best effect significant and ongoing reductions in poverty in the Greater Saint John area. The study concluded that young, single women and their children represent the single largest group of people living in poverty in Saint John. Furthermore, these young women are likely to have gotten pregnant as teens, experienced broken homes or abusive situations and have ongoing coping or life skill challenges. The study also concluded that these women were unlikely to have finished high school, citing personal problems as their foremost reason for dropping out, i.e.: pregnancy. These statistics are alarming, and indicate that the personal safety and security of these young mothers and their infants is in jeopardy. Based on this extensive research, the Business Community Anti-Poverty Initiative (BCAPI) has chosen to focus its efforts on helping single parent families move out of the poverty cycle, this includes: teens, pregnant teens, single parents, and children of single parent families. The Business Community Anti-Poverty Initiative (BCAPI) fully supports the First Steps Housing Project.
For four years a Steering Committee worked diligently to assure that the project had a vision and a process to fulfill this vision. This committee, lead by founder Dr. Christine Davies held a planning session to develop an action plan, a vision and goals. This committee also developed community relations, secured funding and a building to house the project. Funding came from the community, the province of New Brunswick (Family and Community Services) and the Federal Governments SCPI program (Supporting Community Partner Initiatives). In the summer of 2001, 120 Coburg Street was purchased from the Sisters of Charity. Renovations began shortly after. In March of 2002, an Executive Director was hired and in April 2002 the Residential Support Workers were hired. During this time, a Policy and Operations Committee and a Personnel Committee were formed to look at various policies and procedures that needed to be developed. On May 21, 2002, First Steps Housing Project Inc. opened its doors.
Saint John, NB has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in Canada
Birth rate in Saint John is almost 50% higher than the provincial average
Summer 2000, First Steps Steering Committee coordinated a survey of young women who had experienced teen pregnancy. They confirmed the need for a supportive residence in Saint John.
First Steps Steering Committee was led by the founder, Dr. Christine Davies
Committee developed community relations, secured funding and a building to house the project
Funding came from the community, the province of New Brunswick and the Federal Governments SCPI program (Supporting Community Partner Initiatives)
Summer 2001, the building at 120 Coburg Street was purchased from the Sisters of Charity
March 2002, an Executive Director was hired and in April 2002, Residential Support Workers were hired
May 21, 2002 First Steps Housing Project Inc. opened its doors