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.
In the summer of 2018, Debbie moved from Calgary to Vancouver Island to be closer to her family, especially her new granddaughter, Norah.