“My reflection on 2021 is of immense gratitude for the team at Calgary John Howard Society and the way that hope and healing is embedded in how they show up to work, each and every day.” – Alex Laidlaw
A natural turnover occurred, and the new Board members brought new perspectives and questions to enhance our community impact. The legacy of those who left the Board continues to guide us. In 2021, the Board had presentations on Policy Governance, our Practice Framework Principles, and the Community Case Management Service program. Our Roofs for Youth Leadership Team presented research on harm reduction best and current practices and their impact in youth residential settings. At the Board retreat, Elder Ruby Eaglechild shared information about the Seven Sacred Teachings. With the knowledge from all of this learning, the Board members strengthen their capacity to guide our agency towards our ends (goals).
A Crime Survey was initiated by the Board to learn Calgarians’ values and attitudes towards crime and crime prevention. A significant and encouraging result is Calgarian’s strong support for restorative justice principles, alternative to punitive approaches and validation of crime prevention through social development. Restorative justice addresses conflict and crime by bringing together the person who caused the harm, the people who were affected by the harm, and the community to create a meaningful solution. The offender and the victims can heal during the process. The Board is excited that Calgarians value repairing damage and restoring relationships rather than punishment. CJHS is on the leading edge of this work and will continue it into the future.
Don Cameron, Chair
Manager, Wasteco National (retired)
Dr. Harpreet Aulakh, Ph.D., Secretary
Associate Professor, Department of Justice Studies, Mount Royal University
Alex Laidlaw, Vice-Chair
Impact Investment Associate, Calgary Foundation
Jeremy Yule, Treasurer
Detective, Calgary Police Service
Lawyer, Legal Aid Alberta
Stella Penner, FCPA, FCGA
Certified Public Accountant, Stella M. Penner Professional Corporation
Roger Jaswal, MSc
Principal, Roger Strength
I am a criminal defence lawyer with Legal Aid Alberta. I provide legal representation to Albertans who are in custody and can’t afford legal services. After volunteering with CJHS as a member of the Board of Directors, I have realized that the law is a blunt instrument to solve human relations and psychological problems. Our society needs more organizations like CJHS who aim to heal our communities and strongly believe in restorative justice.
Thinking back over 2021, I can say that my association with CJHS has made me look at our society through a different lens, which has made me more forgiving and sensitive towards social issues. I remember attending an online meeting about safe consumption sites at CJHS. Before attending that meeting, I was not in favor of opening any safe consumption sites because they can cause a threat to the communities around them. But during this meeting I got to hear a story of a young man who died at the CJHS center due to drug overdose because he was an addict and couldn’t control himself. It made me realized that addictions can’t be treated in a day or two. In order to save these lives, we as a society needs to be more patient and strategic. Our efforts should be in the direction of guiding and supporting these individuals who have lost their paths by helping them without any prejudices and being judgmental, not to leave them alone when they need us the most.
I am glad that I have joined hands with this organization which aims to prevent crime, make our communities safer and reform the society by bringing positive changes into the lives of troubled individuals.