Board of Directors
Karen Venables is a Calgary citizen, a wife and a mother. Karen’s life changed with one phone call on Nov 4/2002. After ONE-DECISION made that evening by another young man her 18-year old son was critically injured. After the words that a father, mother or brother never want to hear “Devin has no chance of recovery, no chance of survival, you need to discontinue life support”. With the help of the HOPE program Devin saved the lives of many people in Alberta that fateful day.
Karen is the founder and Director of the DEVIN Foundation which is an acronym for Diligently Ending Violence In Neighborhoods. Karen has spoken across our province at schools and conferences from as far north as Yellowknife and south as Lethbridge and dozens in between. In April of 2007, Karen was one of nine Albertans appointed to the Premier’s task force of Crime Reduction and Safe Communities and travelled across our province listening to Albertans and recording their thoughts about the crime that has plagued our province. The task force then submitted 31 recommendations to the Premier on how they felt the province could help reduce the crime in our province and she is happy to report that 29 of those recommendations were approved.
After the criminal trial, Karen entered a program in our province called “Restorative Justice” and sat across the table from the young man who changed her life forever.
Debbie lost her son to homicide. In the spring of 2012, her beautiful son Joshua had just finished his first year at the Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, BC. Missing family so much Josh came home to spend his summer break with his family in Calgary.
While out for a night of pool with a few of his friends a verbal altercation ensued with one of them. Later that night that same young man requested a late night meeting with Josh by phone and Josh thinking it was to make things "right" agreed to that meeting. He was then stabbed to death and died alone. That date was August 21, 2012 , three days before he was to return for his second year of University. To say Josh's death ripped her world apart is an understatement…she will never be the same.
It is what was not available afterwards that gave her the strength and determination to do something! She had nowhere to turn, no one to talk to who simply “got it”.
Her son's dream and belief was that we can make a difference in this world..one person at a time and Debbie is confident that this Society and Support Group will do just that. Make a difference.
Penny Ferguson began volunteering with the Calgary Police Service Victim Assistance Unit (VAU) in 1994. In January 2000 she was hired full time as the coordinator for the newly created Victim Assistance Support Team 24/7 program. She continues in that position today. Penny has served as the President of the Alberta Police Based Victim Services Association and continues to be part of the Executive Committee today.
Nancy has been reporting for over 20 years, covering crime since 1997, starting at the former RDTV in Red Deer before moving to Global Calgary.
Nancy has a passion for telling stories others might be reluctant to tell. She is best known for holding criminals accountable, and can often be seen knocking on a criminal’s door to ask them questions the victim’s can’t ask. She takes pride in giving a voice to people who may not otherwise be heard.
Nancy has covered some of the most high-profile crime cases in Alberta’s history, including the mass murder of five young students in Brentwood. Nancy was the first reporter on the scene of the Garland acreage, after the disappearance of five-year-old Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathy Liknes.
Nancy has a blog and crime page on Facebook that’s become a forum for victims to meet and an online community where they can discuss issues. Many of the original members on the page have lost children, parents, or friends to murder, impaired driving or other unspeakable tragedies. Many are victims of sexual assault or their children have been abused. Some never find justice, or must continue to live with missing loved ones. This page is a place where they can feel safe and share their stories, and has become an extended family for the members.
Nancy saw a gap in the system, with no support group for families of homicide victims in Calgary. In the spring of 2014, she introduced two mothers who shared the tragic common bond-both had their son’s murdered. From that moment on, Debbie Hogarth and Karen Venables worked together to establish The Calgary Homicide Support Society. Nancy is proud to see this vision a reality, and helping families in our city.
When Nancy isn’t working, she loves to be outside camping, hiking, or snowboarding. She loves to travel—especially when it involves the ocean and a nice beach.
Ms. Kendall is currently the Chief Crown Prosecutor for Calgary with the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service, managing an office of approximately 80 Crown prosecutors and the staff who assist them. In that role, Ms. Kendall also sits on the Boards of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, the Calgary Homicide Support Society and Homefront. Prior to that position, Ms. Kendall was the Director of Policy for the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service. She provided advice about criminal law reform to the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General and to the Deputy Minister. She also provided advice to Crown Prosecutors across Alberta through development of policies and the Crown Prosecutor Manual. Ms. Kendall joined the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service in 2004 and has held a variety of positions with them including prosecuting in Special Prosecutions (Organized Crime), Assistant Chief Crown Prosecutor, and Education Counsel. Prior to joining Alberta Justice, Ms. Kendall worked for the Federal Department of Justice, first as a prosecutor in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, and then as Deputy Director of the Calgary Office. Ms. Kendall started her career in London, Ontario where she worked as defence counsel at the firm of Libis and Kendall.