Core Group Programs

INSTITUTIONAL CORE GROUP

Eligibility

Any person who meets the criteria is eligible to apply for a  membership of a Core Group, with the following exception;

  • The Core Group shall not include any individual as a member, if that membership would in any way, deter the participation of the primary target group, the  hard-core,  “solid con” from involvement.
  • The core group is the self –help component of the organization.  Membership is comprised of  offenders, ex-offenders and non-offenders.  Most of which are community volunteers.

Criteria for Core Group Membership

  1. Applicant is sincere in the desire to get out of the criminal justice system and more importantly, stay out.
  2. Applicant must make a personal commitment to change their lifestyle.
  3. Applicant must adhere to the basic self-help concept as philosophized by the organization.
  4. Applicant must be willing to accept the offender, the ex-offender, the non-offender as equal parts of the change process.
  5. Applicant must be willing to learn self discipline through exercising self-control, which may involve some sacrifice of former lifestyles
  6. Applicant must strive to abide within the law, regardless of personal or moral conviction.

 

COMMUNITY / STREET MEETINGS

These meetings are on going on a weekly basis and are a means of support and encouragement for a member in the community.  They could be newly released, living in a residential facility or on full parole.  The Street Meetings provide ongoing continuity of the program, and offer a place to come and discuss any life issues that could deter them from remaining on the street.

A strong component of volunteers are needed to facilitate these meetings.  These volunteers can be offenders, non-offenders or ex-offenders. We are a grass roots organization and can usually operate on strictly a volunteer basis.

 

CORE GROUP MEMBERSHIP

An individual must be voted in by their peers either in the institution or at a community Street Meeting.  It is required the candidate attend 4 consecutive meetings and be hot seated on the 4th meeting.  The person must receive 100% of the vote from the people in attendance.   Once you are voted in, you are eligible to attend any 7th Step Core Group or Community meeting in Canada. There is no cost to this membership, however it is limited to the meetings as described above.

The Seventh Step: “Maintaining my Freedom, I pledge myself to help others as I am now being helped”

As a Seventh Step member for 38 years, I recently reflected on my life journey, while applying the Seven Steps to Freedom. My story began as a college student in Calgary in 1973 while enrolled in the Applied Social Sciences/Correctional Careers program at Mount Royal College. I was offered a practicum with Seventh Step, supervised through the John Howard Society as the organization was in it’s infancy in Alberta and was looking for broader exposure. The Self Help concept was new to me but had particular relevance as I had been a young offender at 16 and 17 years old, having been convicted on 2 occasions of property offences and sentenced to incarceration plus probation. Following these sentences and fortunately having the support of family and friends, I was able to continue with my education and was taking steps toward a career in Criminal Justice, having learned some hard lessons from my previous experiences.

I quickly found that Seventh Step was a way of life and a positive road map for living. Participation in the self help groups assisted me to develop leadership skills and gave me a sense of purpose while pursuing a career and raising a family. I worked closely with the founder of the Alberta Seventh Step Society – Mr. Pat Graham, along with a group of dedicated volunteers to obtain funding and establish the organizations as an agency which today is seen a valuable partner in the Community Corrections network. I left the organization as a paid senior staff member in 1982 to pursue a new career in the Oil and Gas business and was able to apply many of the management and communications skills I had gained while I was involved with The Seventh Step Society.  I subsequently always maintained my volunteer involvement with the organization however, as a core group member and board member of both the Alberta Seventh Step Society and The Seventh Step Society of Canada.  I have participated in many group meetings in the community and institutions over the years and always feel a sense of renewal at the end of a “hot seat” when I see a spark of hope and enlightenment from an offender or ex-offender who has just gone through the process of facing the truth about themselves. I also realize that I have gained new insights about myself and my own life journey through this process.

Seventh Step isn’t for everyone, but for those people who have a sincere desire to change and better themselves, it is a definite formula for success. We believe that everyone is capable of change and continue to nurture the organization to create the opportunity for those who are willing to take the first step.

George Myette
Executive Director
The Seventh Step Society  of Canada