Community Connections | Neighbourhoods, Children And Youth
Living Standards | Work, Poverty, Housing, Education And Learning
Wellness | Mental Health, Safety

Calgary John Howard Society

Our community-based organization is dedicated to reducing the incidence of crime and increasing community safety through preventative and restorative justice practices. A place for new beginnings, we work with individuals every day to help restore lives, prevent crime and strengthen communities through providing direct services to individuals at risk; through advocating for effective responses to crime and the individuals involved and through educating youth and adults in the community.

Our Story

Why We Exist

The Calgary John Howard Society (CJHS) is an important part of the Calgary community and has been for the past 65 years. Our organization is made up of people who work, live and care about the communities where we operate. We provide resources to individuals who are at risk of offending and empower them to make positive choices and changes in their lives. This page highlights the work being done to educate communities, encourage restorative responses to crime and help men, women and youth find hope, learn skills and reintegrate into our communities.

The following is a staff story about a former resident of Bedford House, CJHS’ Community Residential Facility – commonly referred to as a Halfway House. 

I was in traffic at a red light when I heard a horn honking. I ignored it until I heard someone calling my name three cars away. I looked out the window and a former resident, who left Bedford House about four months prior, was waving at me. I leaned out the window to say “Hi!” He had an ear-to-ear grin and was excited when he spoke: “Hey! I just bought this van and I have a full-time job! I just wanted to say thanks to you guys for helping me!” I smiled and congratulated him on his new job and told him: “It wasn’t us that made you succeed, it was all you. We were here to support you, and you put in the work you needed to succeed so good on ya!” He smiled and asked this writer to pass on his thanks to the rest of the staff. The light turned green and in my rear view mirror I still remember the smile and look of pride on his face as we waved good bye.

Our Impact

What We Do

Calgary John Howard Society has a vision of an informed community, active in preventing crime.  Through its mission of promoting positive change through humane, just and informed responses to crime and its effects, the CJHS works every day to help individuals change their lives for the better by making positive life choices.  The people most impacted by the work of this organization are the youth who are given a means to turn their lives around, and the adults who come to live at one of CJHS’ housing facilities.  Calgary John Howard Society helps these adults learn what it is like to live in a community again, as they figure out what their lives will look like after they are released from prison.

And while the work of CJHS is based on the unique and very personal “wins” of the individual, it is the community that really wins, as we build a community where it is safe for us all to live, where there is understanding and humane responses to crime, and where every person is treated with dignity, equity, fairness and compassion.

To see how CJHS impacts the lives of people every day, please take a look at the attached video showing the work of the organization.  Also, our recent annual reports showcase the many individuals who have benefited from our programming that include:

  • Community housing with support services for homeless youth and adults;
  • Transitional housing for men and women re-entering the community from Federal corrections institutes;
  • Job skills and employment readiness training;
  • Support for individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder;
  • Adult learning and literacy;
  • Prison services where we connect with individuals in prison to help them plan for life after their release;
  • Support for families who have a family member in prison;
  • Life management and social skills support;
  • Empowerment and advocacy for individual growth; and

Youth services that educate youth about the criminal justice system and provide support for youth who are at risk of, or who have become involved with the Youth Criminal Justice System.


Our Programs

How We Do It

While all of our programs can always benefit from increased financial support, the three programs that would benefit the most from enhanced funding at this particular time are:

1. Extended Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Support Project  At CJHS, we advocate for individuals with FASD to gain independence.  We help them build the tools to make better decisions, connect them with others who are going through similar issues, and help them find information about their condition.

The Extended FASD Support Project helps adults who have been assessed with or who are suspected of having FASD and who are at risk of, or who are already involved in the criminal justice system. The program implements a comprehensive care approach that considers the goals of the client, the resources available to them in the community, and the process of an FASD assessment to ensure each individual in the program has the best quality of life possible. For more information about our Extended FASD Support Project, visit our website at

Anticipated outcomes:

  • Client experiences an improved quality of life
  • Client does not experience conflict with the law and avoids incarceration
  • Client understands their strengths
  • Client has fewer incidents and crises
  • Client experiences decreased anxiety and improved functioning in the community
  • Staff are able to identify how they can help individual clients and provide support to those clients
  • Staff connects clients with additional community supports and resources to extend the services offered by staff
  • Community members have an increased awareness of the barriers that individuals living with FASD face in the community
  • Community members have an increased understanding of how to support individuals living with FASD
  • Significant issues presented by individuals living with FASD are reduced

2. Learning Enhancement Employment Program ( LEEP)  The LEEP program is a very successful program at CJHS and helps develop job skills and supports the personal growth of adults. For example, it helps our students write resumes, learn about what courses they need to take to get an industry certificate and helps them with things like anger management.

The LEEP program provides a comprehensive approach for individuals to gain employability skills, acquire industry tickets and develop self-management and conflict resolution abilities.  It is designed for men and women at-risk or who have been involved with the criminal justice system and are facing barriers to employment.

For more information about LEEP, visit our website at:

Anticipated outcomes:

  • Client establishes and meets meaningful goals
  • Client learns how to communicate more effectively with others
  • Client has an increased understanding of how to resolve conflicts with others
  • Client is able to establish positive relationships
  • Client is able to create a cover letter and resume
  • Client is able to participate in a job interview
  • Client is able to use computers and computer software
  • Client is able to manage their finances
  • Client successfully completes ticket specific training
  • Client is able to secure employment in the community
  • Client maintains contact with resources and periodically uses these services

3. Alternatives for Adolescent Males  Within CJHS’ Youth Advocacy and Support Program (YAS), we offer an Alternatives for Adolescent Males (AAMP) curriculum to provide individuals further insight on behaviour and communication patterns. Through group discussions, the Youth Advocate facilitates sessions to promote empathy and responsibility for participants to develop skills that promote healthy relationships in the home, at school, and in the community.

Anticipated outcomes:

  • Youth feel safe and supported in the AAMP Group setting
  • Youth have increased self-awareness of their thought process and behavior
  • Youth demonstrate a decrease in abusive behavior
  • Youth demonstrate an increase in taking responsibility for their behavior
  • Youth demonstrate pro-social attitudes and behavior

Our Requests

What You Can Do

We have opportunities for adults in the community to volunteer, whether with our adult clients, with Calgary and area youth, or in a more general capacity. As we do not have a volunteer coordinator, the volunteer program is tended by a number of program and administrative staff, who develop and manage volunteer positions to encourage community involvement in the agency. To become a volunteer:

  • Please complete the Volunteer Application Form, and send them to the contact person listed with the position.
  • The program contact person will call or email you to arrange for an interview, where you will need to provide 3 references and complete the applicable clearance forms (including providing copies of specific identification). There is no cost to the volunteer for record check processing.
  • Once screened and selected, the next step requires the new volunteer to complete an Orientation Session and an Education Session on the criminal justice system. Each of these sessions are approximately 1.5 hours long and are typically scheduled every 4-6 weeks.
  • Volunteers receive position-specific training prior to commencing active volunteering.
  • Please keep in mind that it takes a month or more to complete the screening and orientation requirements, due to scheduling of orientation sessions and processing times for groups who assist with our screening measures.

To learn more about volunteer positions currently available, and for instructions on how to apply, please click CJHS Volunteer. To obtain a copy of the volunteer application, please email


Stay Connected


Gord Sand

Calgary John Howard Society


Charitable Number: 107542441RR0001

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