Fresh Start Support Services was established in 1987 when a group of people from the community saw a need to support pregnant young women in raising their children. The registered charity opened its doors in Springfield, Ontario under the name of Rehoboth Girl’s Home of Refuge and Support in April 1988. Rehoboth was chosen for the name of the organization at that time as it means “room for all” and comes from Genesis 26:22 where it is written “now the Lord has given us all room and we will flourish in the land.” This meaning encompassed the desire to provide refuge and support for all pregnant and parenting women regardless of age, race, religion, marital status, relationship status and financial status.
In 1995 Rehoboth expanded its services into St Thomas, Ontario to offer supportive apartments to allow young women age 16 and over to live and parent in a semi-independent environment. A pregnancy support center was also created.
In September 2009, Rehoboth changed its name to Fresh Start Maternity Supports to more clearly communicate the mission and vision to the community. At this time, Fresh Start Maternity Supports closed its doors at the Springfield, Ontario location and began to work solely out of its St Thomas location to be closer to and to develop a deeper collaboration with other supportive agencies in St Thomas.
In 2016, Fresh Start Maternity Supports had the opportunity to partner with a group of philanthropists in Aylmer, Ontario to implement programming to support individuals and families in areas beyond parenting. To carry out this new mandate, the organization changed its name to Fresh Start Support Services and then operated two programs: Fresh Start Maternity Supports in St Thomas, Ontario and The Family Central Apartments in Aylmer, Ontario. These two programs were collaborative and shared the same mission to support individuals that found themselves in times of need, but it became evident that The Family Central Apartments was working to support those facing homelessness and work towards housing stability. To further support the community of Aylmer in its pursuit to keep families and individuals housed, in early 2019 The Family Central Apartments became a registered organization and began to work independently of Fresh Start Support Services.
Thirty-two years after Rehoboth Girl’s Home of Refuge and Support opened its doors, Fresh Start Support Services continues to support pregnant and parenting women in raising their children.