Karen Sherbut

President & CEO (Volunteer)

Read Biography

A less than ideal childhood and upbringing ultimately prepared Karen Sherbut for the role of her life as a role model, mentor, and humanitarian.  In this capacity she is able to provide what she so desperately had once needed; ultimately improving the lives of many young women, their families, and loved ones.  Karen’s dream of providing for homeless teenage girls came to fruition in 1996, when Karen and her husband founded The Safe Haven Foundation of Canada.  In a volunteer capacity at the helm of the Foundation, Karen’s steadfast commitment to Safe Haven Foundation continues to shape a better and brighter future for all of us.   With over 35 years of senior marketing, management, and leadership experience, Karen has been extensively involved in the development and implementation of strategic plans and financial planning at both grassroots and national levels.  An engaging and innovative leader, Karen’s focus on results-oriented programs, financial accountability, public relations, and award-winning campaigns have provided an enviable advantage to the Foundation at no cost.    Karen’s passion remains visible and reflective through the time she dedicates not only to Safe Haven Foundation but also to the many boards and advisory roles she has undertaken over the years.

Carolyn Holloway

Community Engagement Officer

Read Biography

Carolyn’s intimate knowledge of the Safe Haven Foundation and her connection to the community, combined with her experience in marketing, sales and events, are invaluable to the Foundation’s fundraising and volunteer activities.  In addition to her primary role in fund development, she manages the website, social media and oversees advertising and marketing campaigns which are essential parts of the Foundation’s communication strategy.  Carolyn was previously with Safe Haven from 2002-2007 and rejoined the team in 2017. She states in part, “I am very excited to have been given the opportunity to return to Safe Haven Foundation at this significant time of growth and development.  Thanks to the unwavering passion of Karen and John and the support of board members, stakeholders, donors and volunteers, so many young women have indeed been given their future back.  I am honored to have been a part of their journey and look forward to embarking on this new one.”

Holly Thomas

Operations Coordinator & Executive Assistant

Read Biography

Holly brings 20 years of Executive Administrative experience to the team. It is a strong passion to help others that ultimately drives her hard work ethic and ability to take on many roles and responsibilities. She has represented various companies, from corporate to non-profits, managing commercial and residential real estate, construction, and heavy equipment rentals, and working in the oil and gas industry. Before joining Safe Haven, she was part of a non-profit that serves Calgary’s Senior community where she quickly became part of their pandemic response and outreach. Holly has a strong skill set in organizing, scheduling, and managing, all while contributing and implementing ways to improve office and team support. She thrives in the work she does, ensuring everyone feels supported and, most importantly, she leads with passion and heart knowing there is no task or challenge too big and will always work her hardest to find the solution. Holly is dedicated to the success of the Safe Haven Foundation and the incredible youth that they serve. She has a devotion to the community and being a part of a team that is determined to make the future of our next generation and youth a whole lot brighter!

Heidi Walter, BSW, RSW

Program Development Officer

Read Biography

Heidi has worked in the youth homelessness sector for over 19 years, 17 of which she spent at the Boys and Girls Club of Calgary managing their Housing First programs. She currently uses her expertise in program development with the Safe Haven Foundation in Calgary and the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, conducting trainings and fidelity reviews as a CAEH trainer. Heidi supports A Way Home Canada and the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness through consultation work with the Making The Shift Demonstration Lab. Throughout her career–from studying Social Work to working in community development, managing programs, and program implementation, and now providing consultation, training, and technical assistance to communities across Canada–Heidi has been passionate about supporting youth and families to thrive, ensuring youth have a voice throughout. She is devoted to sharing her learnings, providing support, and building community across the youth homelessness sector.

Krista Mergel

Program Manager

Read Biography

Krista brings over 10 years in the field working with homeless youth. She leads the Haven’s Way team with passion and thrives on innovation and creativity. She is the Program Manager, coaching the staff team and overseeing the inner workings of the program. Krista has a vision for community mobilization and will be quick to talk about our work at Safe Haven Foundation. She has a desire to ignite interest and help our communities feel a part of the work happening in the lives of the youth we support. It is her belief that there is nothing we cannot do when we are working together.

Heidi Griffin

Support Coach

Read Biography

Heidi (Griffs) comes to us with over 10 years of experience in the sector dedicating her career to supporting youth and their families. Putting her learnings from her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, she began her career working in youth homeless shelters in both Calgary and Winnipeg.  This provided her the roots of advocacy and compassion for those seeking support.  Additionally, Heidi has extensive experience working in outreach, therapeutic campus-based care and secure and stabilizations programs throughout Alberta and BC, focusing on supporting young people through their recovery of trauma and addictions. Heidi is committed to guiding young people towards reaching their dreams and full potential. She is passionate in her role as Support Coach, utilizing her positive zeal for life and relationship building skills to motivate the young people at Haven’s Way.

Amanda Maki

Transition Coach

Read Biography

Amanda comes to the Safe Haven Foundation team with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Lethbridge. Her firm belief in a trauma-informed approach and being a fierce advocate for youth and their families, makes her an exceptional fit for the organization. Her experience includes school-based and shelter-based youth work, and she sees the value in education and how crucial it is to ensure our young people grow up to be healthy, happy, self-sufficient adults. Amanda’s goal is to build safe trusting relationships with youth and provide wraparound supports to allow them to thrive, gain independence and achieve their full potential. As the Transition Coach at Haven’s Harbour, Amanda supports our young people with the steep climb from youth supports to adulthood independence. This role will focus on community connections, supporting youth to balance school and employment, aid in navigating family relationships, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, all while living independently in their own apartments.

Samantha Felix

Live-in Peer Support Mentor

Read Biography

Sam moved into Havens Way as a youth in 2010 and began the first chapter in her healing journey.  From there she spent 3 years soaking in all the lessons and love that surrounded her from staff and her roommates. During this time, Sam was also busy focusing on continuing her education and graduated with a diploma in Office Administration and another in Addictions and Community Services.  In 2013, Sam graduated from Haven’s Way and moved out into the community with confidence, life skills and a network of resources and natural supports.  Flash forward to 2020, Sam returned to Havens Way as the Live-In Peer Support Mentor. Along with role modeling a healthy lifestyle for the young women living in the program, giving back to her community and creating space for the next generation of young people to heal, she is actively pursuing her Yoga Teacher certification, all while working full time in the career path her education prepared her for.

This past year has been a wild ride, with many laughs, tears, and powerful late-night conversation that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I’m proud of the team I work with and the brilliant young woman I live with.”