Living Standards | Housing
Community Connections | Children And Youth
Wellness | Mental Health

Safe Haven Foundation of Canada

Helping Give Calgary's Vulnerable and At-Risk Children and Youth Their Future Back

Our Story

Why We Exist

Imagine the streets are safer than home.  Spending day after day floating between friends, sleeping on couches. When your welcome has worn out, you are faced with either returning to an abusive home or surviving the streets, you choose the streets, they are safer than home.  This was the reality for one Calgarian, Karen Sherbut while growing up in Winnipeg.  Although Karen survived with the support of friends, unimaginable tenacity and a fair amount of good fortune, and managed to build a life for herself, Karen recognized that many were not as fortunate.  Years later after Karen built a career for herself as a Marketing Executive in the commerical real estate industry, her and her husband sat down one evening to dream, to envision and map out their goals as a couple.  Karen shared with John her dream to create the home that she never had, a Safe Haven for young women.  Being the pragmatist that he is, John concluded that all they had to do was raise a million dollars, buy some land, build some homes and hire some house parents, and that is exactly what they did!



Our Impact

What We Do

Giving a young lady a home that removes her from the street and provides her a ‘Safe Haven’ greatly furthers her chances of becoming a positive contributing member of society. 

We play a critical role in addressing the needs of our city’s vulnerable and at-risk youth by working in partnership with organizations that are providing front line services.

Safe Haven Foundation of Canada is the result of one couple’s vision of creating a better and brighter future for homeless and at-risk youth by breaking the cycle of neglect, poverty, abuse, and homelessness. It was their belief that helping to change even one child’s life helps change the very fabric of our society.  From our grassroots beginnings to keep at-risk teenage girls off the street, we have grown to become a funding organization committed to creating positive, lasting change in the lives of our city’s most precious resource… our children.

Founded in 1996, the first two homes in Marda Loop opened in 2000 for homeless young women without child welfare status.  In 2004, after doing a thorough needs assessment, founders John and Karen concluded that their expertise lay within the business and fundraising side, and that another organization was required to enter into a partnership to run the homes, allowing for additional outreach and transition services.  This was when their partnership with Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary was born, and when the founding program was renamed Haven’s Way.  Since 2004, Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary has operated the homes, and Safe Haven Foundation has maintained ownership of the land and homes and remains the primary funder of the program.

Currently, our energies are focused on raising the funds necessary to sustain all the programs we support, while at the same time building an endowment fund that will provide forever funding for at-risk child and youth-related programs in Calgary. We remain committed to serving these youth, providing them with new hope and the opportunity to create limitless possibilities.

OUR IMPACT – As of December 2016, we have…

  • Reached over 3,000 youth a year through our alliances that focus on programs that help keep kids safe, off
    the streets, and in school
  • Funded programs assist youth up to the age of 24, and spans a broad range of services, including support to at-risk children, elementary school children in need of a mentor in their lives, and homeless teenage girls
  • Provided a total of $390,000 in financial support to programs that provide enriching experiences and the care and support needed for youth to make positive life decisions
  • Invested in over $2,490,000 in programs that serve the vulnerable youth in our city

Our Programs

How We Do It

HAVEN’S WAY™: Safe Haven Foundation’s founding program, Haven’s Way, provides a safe, nurturing and positive home environment for homeless and at-risk teenage girls between the ages of 14 – 24. Serving six young girls at a time, the program duplicates that of a healthy, caring family environment. The girls are provided counselling and support in mental health, trauma, addictions and attachment as they learn about themselves and explore the challenges and adversity that have fraught their lives.  Haven’s Way provides each girl with the opportunity to spend quality one-on-one time with their live-in supports, allowing them to build trusting and healthy relationships, while providing the stability and structure so desperately needed to thrive in their daily lives.

SAFE HAVEN FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIP FUND: Giving a young lady a home that removes her from the street and provides her a ‘Safe Haven’ greatly furthers her chances of becoming a positive contributing member of society. Providing her a scholarship to attend post secondary school once she has successfully turned her life around, provides her the opportunity to escape the cycle of poverty and realize dreams that otherwise may never have been possible. This Safe Haven Foundation initiative was established in 2008 as part of our ongoing commitment to serving vulnerable young women in our community.  Young women, who are either still in the Haven’s Way Homes or have moved out on their own, are afforded the opportunity to attend post secondary schooling, further empowering them to realize dreams.  The scholarship program earmarks $10,000 per year in anticipation of receiving submissions from Haven’s Way high school graduates and alumnae.

SAFE HAVEN FOUNDATION THERAPEUTIC RECREATION FUND: Recognizing the growing need to remove barriers that prevent our youth from achieving optimal health and quality of life, in 2011, Safe Haven Foundation established and now administers a Therapeutic Recreation Fund. With family histories that most often prevent the young women in the Haven’s Way home the opportunity to pursue recreational activities, this program provides a pivotal role in their challenging journey of healing by opening doors to identity discovery and confidence development.  Girls are eligible to apply for funding when they are working towards their educational goals and are participating in maintaining a positive home environment within the Haven’s Way program.

TEEN MENTORING: Because of the generous support of Safe Haven Foundation and its donors, children and teens in Calgary and area are growing together and learning to help each other. Your support connects teen mentors with elementary school children; an impactful way to support children in navigating issues like bullying, poverty and family violence. At the same time, the experience of mentoring builds a resilient generation of strong, community-minded leaders.  Through this innovative program, teens and children often surprise themselves as they grow in confidence, excel at new activities and school, and become more of who they truly are.  Many of the mentors also experience the joy of giving back for the first time.

JUNO HOUSE: Juno House was created as a centre of excellence for girls, young women and their families. Utilizing a team approach, Juno House provides on-site individual and family counselling, and has off-site consulting partners – dieticians, pediatricians, psychiatrists, and personal trainers – to provide comprehensive and coordinated treatment. Safe Haven Foundation remains one of their main funders, working closely with their team to create a brighter future for our youth

THE ALEX: The Alex provides primary medical care and housing support to our most vulnerable youth, tackling tough health and social issues head-on. Their focus is crisis prevention, and their team of professionals work hard to to step in before long-term interventions are needed. Safe Haven Foundation helps fund these programs in the hopes of creating a healthier, stronger community of youth.

Our Requests

What You Can Do

  1. DONATE: In today’s economic climate the need for your help is growing. We are seeking both individual donors and Corporate Community Partners to aid us, both in delivering our programs and explanding our reach.  We welcome gifts in kind and donations of services. Donate HERE today.
  2. VOLUNTEER: The volunteer arm of Safe Haven Foundation is referred to as “Haven’s Angels”, our volunteers truly are heaven sent, and we are always looking for volunteers to assist us in a number of ways.  As we approach our twentieth anniversary of actively serving the Calgary community, in 2020, we have our sights set on some lofty goals and we have no doubt that we can achieve them through the generosity of Calgarians.
  3. ATTEND AN EVENT: Click here to see upcoming Safe Haven Foundation events.

“Growing up I didn’t have many opportunities to do extra-curricular activities because my mom didn’t have the funds to support me. Living at Haven’s Way has given me opportunities that I never would have gotten if I had continued living the way I was living. These recreational times lets us girls bond and create such strong friendships that will last a lifetime” ~ Haven’s Way Resident

Stay Connected


Rachel Rex

Safe Haven Foundation of Canada


Charitable Number: 894907682RR0001

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