Our philosophy is rooted in the unwavering belief in the transformative power of individuals and the effectiveness of the seven-step approach, guiding offenders and ex-offenders on their journey towards achieving and sustaining their freedom.
We believe people can change. We help offenders and ex-offenders help themselves to become responsible and accountable members of the community, while providing community outreach and education to Alberta’s youth.
Support offenders and ex-offenders to achieve and maintain their freedom, realize their potential and grow within the community, while providing proactive education.
Knowing that my freedom depends on my thoughts and actions, I hereby pledge: To face and accept the truth about myself. To maintain my freedom. To become a useful member of society. To help others as I am now being helped.
Facing the truth about ourselves and the world around us, we decided we needed to change.
Realizing there is a Power for which we can gain strength, we decided to use that Power.
Evaluating ourselves by taking an honest-self-appraisal, we examined both our strengths and our weaknesses.
Endeavouring to help ourselves overcome our weaknesses, we enlisted the aid of that Power to help us concentrate on our strengths.
Decided that our FREEDOM is worth more than our resentments, we are using that Power to help free us from those resentments.
Observing that daily progress is necessary, we set an attainable goal, towards which we can work each day.
Maintaining our own FREEDOM, we pledge ourselves to help others as we have been helped.
The philosophy of Seventh Step is based on history; a history of having faith that people can change and faith that by way of utilizing the seven steps, one can begin to achieve and maintain their freedom.
This was the vision of Seventh Step’s originators; Bill Sands and Reverend James Post in Kansas State Prison. A recidivist offender himself, Bill Sands gained inspiration through San Quentin’s Warden at the time, Clinton Duffy and in 1963 Seventh Step took its first step. It was designed to reach the recidivist; the rounder, the hardcore convict population with the end goal to reduce and eliminate those recidivist behaviours. By reformatting the 12 steps into 7 to fit the principles of freedom and the value on that freedom, individuals are challenged to think realistically and take responsibility for their thoughts, attitudes, and behaviours.
The main premise of Seventh Step is perspective. For the individual to gain a well-rounded perspective of the society they will have to re-enter, the triad of membership is imperative. This triad includes the non-offender, the ex-offender, and the current offender. The non-offender plays a crucial role in that they bring a perspective that can offer new ways of thinking and acting for the offender. In 1967, Seventh Step was introduced into Canada. Tom Gordon, Jim Sabourin, and Jack Lynch began in Haney Correctional Institute and then into other facilities in the lower mainland in the Vancouver area. Under the direction and passion of Pat and Bea Graham, the Seventh Step Society of Canada became a registered charity, a non-profit organization in 1981, and remains in current good standing with the Government of Canada.
In 1971, Patrick Graham started the Alberta Chapter of Seventh Step. He began running groups in Drumheller Institution with the help of two ex-cons; Art Walmsley and Mike Hewlitt. This new initiative was fully supported by Drumheller’s Warden of the time, Pierre Jutras. In 1975, Alberta Seventh Step opened their first halfway house within the TWCA and housed 11 individuals. It was decided that a larger facility would be needed and a permit to construct their own facility was applied for. Around the same time, a Community Residential Centre was established in Edmonton through cottages at Belmont Correctional Centre.
On July 3, 1977 the doors to Alberta Seventh Step’s Community Residential Facility were opened. It is one of the first purpose-built halfway houses in Canada that is still currently active and running in Calgary, AB. The facility houses 35 male federal offenders at any given time and operates 24/7 throughout the year funded by the Correctional Service of Canada.
Between the years of 1981 and 1983, Alberta Seventh Step secured funding from both The Alberta Law Foundation and the United Way for their Public Legal Education and Community Services programs. The United Way funded the program for 38 years and our partnership with The Alberta Foundation continues to current day.
Peruse our frequently asked questions where we provide answers to common queries about our mission, programs, and the support we offer to individuals seeking a second chance.
Also known as a halfway house. These facilities provide a bridge between an institution (prison) and the community where offenders can enhance life skills as well as receive support in areas of substance abuse, employment, crisis intervention, among others.
The Alberta Seventh Step Society receives referrals for any federal offender being released into the community on Day Parole, Full Parole, and Statutory Release.
When the facility was built and opened in 1977, Alberta Seventh Step made an agreement with the community to not take anyone with convictions related to sex-related offenses.
Referrals to the CRF come out of federal institutions across Canada and through the local Parole Office. These referrals are then sent to the CRF for review before acceptance.
Core Groups are closed meetings. Prospective members must be sponsored by an active member before coming to a meeting.
Yes, volunteers are an integral part of our weekly Core Group meetings. All volunteer requests are answered by the Community Services Manager.
Yes, all practicum placements are overseen by the Executive Director and can be requested via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, all prospective employees need to obtain federal level security clearances.
Yes, please forward all inquiries regarding this program to email@example.com.
Yes, different perspectives are highly valued on the Board of Directors. Please forward all inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Alberta Seventh Step Society is a Not-for-Profit organization overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors.
The Seventh Step Board provides volunteer Directors with opportunities for personal growth, to make a difference in someone’s life, to experience the unique nature of the organization, to garner volunteer experience applicable to the work force and for civic duty.
If interested in further information or application to join the Board of Directors, please contact email@example.com or by phone at 403-228-7778, Ext 103.
Heather is the present Chair for the Board of Directors and past Treasurer and Chair of the Human Resources and Finance Committee (HRF). Heather started with Seventh Step in May 2005 and was an HR Business Partner with Agrium at the time. Now retired, she operates a dog daycare & boarding business out of her house.
Bonnie joined the Board in 2010 and took a two-year break in 2020 to complete a Masters in Social Work as she has a passion to help individuals realize their potential and identify their strengths and resiliency when overcoming challenges. Bonnie’s youth probation experience will contribute to the mission and vision of the organization as we support offenders in recognizing their potential and becoming accountable for their actions.
Rod joined the board in July of 2023. Rod strongly believes in showing his fellow human beings compassion, support and understanding. For some, that means a second chance in life and embracing those who need it most with forgiveness. Rod is a Partner at Pinnacle Accounting and Finance, and holds both the PBA and IPFM designations.
Bernie spent his 35 year career in Corrections in institutions and in the community in both provincial and federal jurisdictions. He has been connected with Seventh Step since 1976 in various capacities due to his employment and joined the Board in 2011. Bernie is presently the Lead of the Funding Committee.
Mick has been involved with the Alberta Seventh Step Society since the mid 90’s, both as a program participant while incarcerated and since his release. Having had first hand knowledge of the program and its benefits to those re-entering the community, Mick is a lifelong supporter and contributor to those in need of the Society’s help. Mick is currently the Board Chair of the National Seventh Step Society of Canada. Mick owns and operates Kane’s Motorcycle Shop in Calgary.
Amanda is a mining engineer who recently completed her MBA. She joined the board in May of 2022. She hopes to use her MBA to further Seventh Step’s goals to give back to the community. She believes in the ability for people to change and grow with effort and determination.
Ashley is a young professional who currently works as a political assistant. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics. She joined the board in 2023 because she believes in the mission that given the right support, everyone should be given the opportunity to live a dignified and meaningful life. She loves working with charities that support men and women who work hard in changing their lives. She hopes that her past volunteering experience will help her aid in fulfilling the Alberta Seventh Step Society’s mission.