2022 Annual Report

Executive Director’s Message

Leslie McMechan

When I was thinking about 2022, I realized that decision-making emerging out of the pandemic into a “new normal” felt very risky at times. However, I strongly believe that every threat presents an opportunity. These opportunities can invigorate and feel rewarding. They can challenge us in a good way and serve as a great impetus for change.

Then I thought about our clients. They may have a different perspective, and their reality may not allow them to easily see the silver lining. Yet, they rise to the challenge over and over again. As we walk alongside them, we witness their remarkable journeys. When they make courageous lifestyle changes—leaving behind a gang, finding stable housing, addressing their mental health challenges, or embarking on a new career path—these endeavors come with an element of risk. We know that taking these risks can lead to incredible rewards, both big and small. We are grateful for the opportunity to be part of their transformative experiences. 

So how does one combine the two perspectives, recognizing opportunities and honouring real and perceived risks to make for a successful year for all? The following lists a few things highlights on how we did this in 2022.   

  • We participated in Thriving Non-Profits, gaining valuable knowledge that inspired us to think creatively about revenue generation. This led to the incorporation of our social enterprise, SoJust Moving Company. 
  • The Board made significant progress in transitioning our assets to the SoJust Holding Company, with bylaws passed, governance documents created, and directors appointed. Our target date for finalization is October 31, 2023. 
  • The Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF), our largest funder, expanded support for our adult and youth scattered site programs, AHRP and RFY. We now provide 125 community beds in addition to 17 beds at Raido House and Windsor Park. 
  • Our Bedford House and Berkana programs, in partnership with Correctional Service Canada, thrived in 2022, with increased occupancy and many successful graduates.  
  • While the Gang Exit and Community Outreach program, delivered in partnership with other John Howard Societies in Alberta, headed into the sunset, it left a positive legacy for the New Ties or “NewT” program. Stay tuned!   
  • Our other programs and services carried on in 2022, adapting to the post-pandemic expectations and creating new norms. We reapply annually for most of these programs and while we never take them for granted, our excellent outcomes speak to the ongoing support funders provide us. The only “new” program that we started in 2022 was an Occupational Therapist for youth. It has morphed into a Mental Health and Addiction Specialist role. 
  • Our 2022-2023 Action Plan that is tied to our 2021-2025 Strategic plan continues to be a great road map for us to follow. The Leadership Team is actively engaged in reviewing each of the actions, updating, pivoting as necessary but ultimately completing the work that is necessary to move the priorities forward. 
  • Our staff-lead internal working groups, 12 in all at last count, help to operationalize the strategic plan, keep on the forefront important issues that impact each other and our clients, increase our capacity to do the work that we do, and create fun opportunities to get-together.  
  • Our HR Consultant worked with the Leadership Team throughout much of 2022 to get us ready for the addition of our HR Generalist, a key priority for 2023. 
  • Restorative justice remained a focal point, highlighted by the Crime Survey rollout, increasing awareness and showcasing our programs. Here’s the link to the video of that event.  

You will read inspiring stories of individuals who have embraced challenges and uncertainties and made life-altering decisions that have brought them closer to their goals. Their stories remind us that even in the face of adversity, there is hope, strength, and the potential for transformation. Their journeys inspire us to continue our vital work and reinforce the importance of our mission.

Their stories are possible because of the incredible staff team at CJHS. They walk alongside our clients, sharing their dreams, goals, and aspirations. Their support, expertise, and compassion have helped our clients navigate the risks and seize the rewards that come with their journey towards a better future.  

The support services of Finance, Operations and Administration deserve a special shout-out. They are important and essential contributors to every single story and highlight of 2022. Behind the scenes they provide the foundation that is needed so the great work with our clients and community can carry on. 

“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.” — Mother Teresa. This describes the Leadership Team to a “T”. They believe that we can navigate new pathways through unchartered waters. They took risks, trusted in each other and collectively, we made it through in fine fashion.  

I also want to commend our esteemed Board of Directors for their unwavering support and careful guidance. Their wisdom and insights have been instrumental in our progress.  

Our funders, donors, stakeholders, and partners play a crucial role in our success, and we could not have achieved all that we have accomplished, nor continue to make a difference, without their invaluable support. They deserve our deepest gratitude for their unwavering commitment.  

Here’s to a year of risk and reward! 

Warm regards, 

Leslie McMechan 
Executive Director 

Leslie McMechan and her dog Izzy

2021-2025 Strategic Priorities

The 2021-2025 Strategic Priorities bring clarity about our situation and resources, and giving us realistic hope for the future. 

  1. Strengthen the impact of our services and supports to individuals who are criminally involved.
  2. Enhance financial sustainability and increase discretionary funding.
  3. Continue to strengthen the organizational foundation by enhancing internal systems, processes, and structures to build resilience and sustainability.
  4. Enact a comprehensive human resources strategy.
  5. Engage with the community to solidify our role in crime prevention and our influence on justice policy and systems issues.

Calgary Speaks

Calgarians' Perception of Crime, Justice, and Crime Prevention