Community Connections | Children And Youth
Wellness | Mental Health

Wood’s Homes

We're a multi-service children's mental health organization with 40+ programs and services offered in Calgary, Strathmore, Lethbridge, Canmore and Fort McMurray.

Our Story

Why We Exist

I grew up in a rowdy and loud family of 5. My whole childhood was filled with constant conflict and so I signed up for everything extra I could at school and church so I always had a good excuse to be out of the house.

When I was 12, my grandmother was killed, and that changed me forever.

Nobody really paid attention to how upset I was. I started skipping school, drinking, smoking, cutting myself, taking pills and staying out until all hours – sometimes I didn’t come home for days at a time. Once in a while, my dad would call me at 4:00 am to see if I was coming home.

One day when I was in grade 9, my parents told me that their rent went up and they couldn’t afford to stay in our house. Suddenly, my whole family was homeless.

My older sister went to stay with her boyfriend; my parents and brothers moved in with my grandparents, but for some reason this wasn’t an option for me. I’m still not sure why, but they suggested I move in with friends or something…but I didn’t really have friends like that, someone that would let me LIVE with them.

I had a guitar and a few changes of clothes. I was homeless and terrified.

With a few detours along the way, I ended up in Wood’s Homes Youth Culinary Arts (YCAP), part of the Street Services programs. I took classes for 6 weeks with Amanda, a Red Seal chef and Kayla, a Youth and Family counsellor that helped with everything else, including my mental health, which was pretty miserable!

I met Carly one day while I was washing dishes, and we were instantly best friends. She told me a bit about how she ended up at Wood’s Homes too.

She had been through some really rough times – her older sister had been really sick when they were little, her parents had struggled with addictions, and their family had often been on the edge of homelessness.

When she was 10 years old, her parents separated, and not long after that, things got worse. Carly and her sister ended up in foster care for two years.

Eventually, her mom got custody of Carly and her sister, and they moved to Calgary. If all that wasn’t enough, when Carly was just out of high school she started getting sick. She couldn’t eat anything without throwing up; she couldn’t sleep, and felt so badly most days that she couldn’t get out of bed. She lost 80 pounds in less than a year.

Just after her 19th birthday, her mom kicked her out, saying it was time for her to support herself. Carly was still unable to eat or sleep, making it pretty impossible to find or keep a job.

She was suddenly on her own and homeless too, and that’s how she ended up in the kitchen with me that day.

We found out that we both had been to several of the Wood’s Homes programs. We went to EXIT Community Outreach and the EXIT Youth Shelter because we needed a safe place to sleep, but we also found counselling and caring staff. Amanda helped Carly figure out what was making her sick and she helped get her an apartment with New Horizon, which is a supportive housing program. John is the program worker for the LEAD program (Linking Employment, Abilities and Development) and he helped both of us find jobs!

Now, we’re renting a basement suite together with Carly’s sister, and we are both working full time as cooks. Amanda even asked both of us to be mentors for others in the Culinary program.

I never expected to live past 13. There were too many things stacked against me, and I was making some pretty bad choices, too. I’d never imagined I could have made it to where I am today at 19 years old. Having the people I met at Wood’s Homes believe in me is what made me want to be better.

There are lots of reasons kids like us might ask for help. You can help us get the support we need as we work towards independence and learn to become “confident and resilient adults”, as Amanda and Kayla would say!

I am so thankful for your generosity. Please help make it possible for more kids and families to learn firsthand that Wood’s Homes lives their promise to never give up!

~ Michelle

Our Impact

What We Do

We Never Say No. We Never Give Up. We Never Turn Anyone Away.
We offer services to children and their families in Calgary, Lethbridge, Strathmore, Canmore and Fort McMurray. Young people in our intensive campus-based treatment programs come from Alberta and from many other areas across Canada.

Our Mission: To promote and assist the development and well-being of children, youth and families within their community.

Our Vision: Locally and nationally known and respected as a centre of excellence for child and family treatment, research and training, a workplace of choice and a leader in the development of innovative service choices.

Our Annual Report showcases many of the people and programs that contribute to our ability to serve more than 20,000 children, youth and families every year.

Since 2001, our in-house Research Department has been measuring program and client outcomes by regularly collecting and analyzing data from every program and service.

We are excited to announce Dr. Angelique Jenney – the Wood’s Homes Research Chair in Children’s Mental Health as she begins her work in the spring of 2017!

Our Programs

How We Do It

Wood’s Homes has 40+ programs and services for children, adolescents, and families. We are very grateful for the generosity of individual, corporate, and community volunteers and donors. Details on the programs listed below (and more!) can be found on our website by following the links. All Wood’s Homes programs are LGBTQ2S friendly.


  • EXIT Youth Shelter and Community Outreach – shelter and support programs for homeless and at-risk youth (12-17 yrs) including on-site medical clinic and counselling and addictions services
  • New Horizon – apartment units and support for young adults (18-24 yrs) at risk of being homeless
  • Employment Services – Youth Culinary Arts Program to prepare at-risk/homeless youth for employment in the restaurant/food industry; the Linking Employment, Abilities and Development program to provide work and life skills for young people and connect them to sustainable employment



  • Home Connections – family support program that provides culturally-sensitive services for children, youth and families in their home, school, and community settings
  • Foster Care – family-based care to children of all ages with consistent in-home support to foster parents and transitioning to family, kinship care, and adulthood


  • Schools, school-based programs, and counselling support, specializing in serving young people who have had previously unsuccessful school experiences and those in campus based mental health programs
  • Partnerships with the Calgary Board of Education and the Calgary Catholic School District


  • 9 campus-based programs housed in individual cottages on our two campuses, each with a specific treatment focus from short-term stabilization of a crisis situation to long-term intensive treatment for complex mental health needs
  • Whole Family Treatment Program – intensive on-campus program for families struggling with complex issues including mental illness, crisis management, parenting strategies and child development that includes pre-program assessment and goal setting and long term follow up support and resources


  • Professionally supported transitional housing programs
  • 7 are designed for young people (ages 14-20) to teach life skills and safely transition to independent living
  • 1 offers short-term care for children 6-12 years experiencing a family crisis


  • Lethbridge – youth shelter, Housing First program, and in-home support
  • Canmore  – community outreach and in-home support
  • Strathmore – house-parented program and in-home crisis support
  • Fort McMurray – emergency housing, support, and mobile outreach services for families and homeless youth

Our Requests

What You Can Do

Our greatest areas of focus for support at this time are:

Street Services – help give young people a safe place to stay, counselling and therapy, medical care, life skills and job training to set them on the path to success!

Crisis and Counselling Services – your support will provide 24/7 resources in a variety of ways – in person or online – for anyone facing an immediate crisis or managing a life-long challenge.

Family Centred Care – help us ensure that everyone involved in a child’s life is considered and included as an active participant in treatment.

Ask us about the opportunities at our signature events – the Never Give Up Gala will be held September 29, 2018 and Wood’s and the City in April 2019, and we’d love to see you there!

Contact us anytime – we’d be glad to welcome you to the Wood’s Homes family! Reach the Wood’s Homes Foundation at 403-270-1718 or [email protected]; our Community Engagement Coordinator at 403-270-1750 or [email protected]

Stay Connected


Karen Karpuk

Wood's Homes


Charitable Number: 891849218RR0001

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