A talented artist and boxer, Danny has many enviable skills. But a childhood of abuse and neglect led to mental health challenges. He used drugs to cope with the trauma and, as they often do, drugs led to jail.
Danny was determined to make a change in his life and connected with the Calgary John Howard
Society (CJHS), which is a charity that has been reducing crime and making Calgary communities safer for 70 years by helping youth and adults make positive changes and move away from criminal behaviour. They address the root causes of crime by providing education, employment programs, housing and support so that individuals have alternatives to breaking the law.
CJHS believes that justice is best served through measures that resolve conflict, embrace diversity and repair harm, while holding the individual accountable for their actions. They believe in understanding the context of why a crime was committed or harm was caused. The goal is to restore relationships and support people in order to prevent future harm.
Like Danny’s case, most addictions and criminal behaviour can be traced back to trauma. Studies show that experiencing trauma during childhood affects the way an individual’s brain is wired, increasing the likelihood of stress-related responses that create negative outcomes in adulthood, such as criminal behaviour.
Through CJHS’s employment program, Danny gained the skills to get a job as an ironworker. He still meets with his caseworker regularly for support as he continues to reintegrate back into the community. “CJHS’s employment program is much more than just getting industry tickets,” he says. “It’s meeting new people and making connections with other CJHS staff who are very supportive. This is a turning point in my life.”
For more information, please visit www.cjhs.ca.