About Us

About Us

Who we are


Cornerstone of Hope Alberta Society is a Multi-Denominational , non-profit ministry which has served hundreds of families over the years. We are currently in two churches and seeking to build partnerships with many more. From our Calgary, Alberta headquarters, we develop activity-based curriculum, train others to use it, and help organizations minister to children and adults experiencing family loss. In addition, we offer Peer Support Groups through Partnership with First Assembly Church. Our programs are designed to be duplicable, operating in 12-week cycles which can continue throughout the year, creating an ongoing, volunteer-based ministry and caring environment.

Cornerstone of Hope was born out of a recognition of the emotional needs for children and adults experiencing significant change after separation, divorce, death and/or other losses. As life long children’s ministry workers, and Christians with a heart for helping others, Dennis and Irene Sanders sought out programs to support families. After 18 years of working with families, they founded Cornerstone of Hope in 2002. Cornerstone of Hope proudly supports hundreds of families in Calgary every year with programs for a variety of ages, needs and healing stages.

The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something

Tony Olson


With an eye to continually enhancing our programs, Cornerstone of Hope joined with a team of experienced facilitators, psychologists, and children’s ministers in 2014 to begin developing curricula which better fit our heart and vision. Through the dedication of these amazing volunteers, HeartZone and TeensThrive came to life. HeartZone and TeensThrive are filled with hands-on activities, object lessons, and games. The Cornerstone of Hope programs give children a safe space to identify, explore, and navigate their emotions after loss. Cornerstone of Hope operates both of these support programs in their NW and SW locations in Calgary. HeartZone and TeensThrive are also offered for sale, with training, to other churches and organizations wishing to partner in our mission.

Dennis and Irene retired in 2019, passing the leadership to Sarah Moss. Sarah began her journey with Cornerstone of Hope as a participant in 2010, seeking emotional healing for herself and her young children after her separation. She quickly realized the value of the organization, joining the facilitator team in 2013, and the board in 2016. Her goals are to continue the original vision, to help families live through loss and thrive in the face of adversity, and promote HeartZone and TeensThrive programs until they are offered in various locations throughout Calgary, across Alberta, and beyond.

Over the years, Cornerstone of Hope has remained committed to our goal of helping families live through loss and thrive in the face of adversity, while equipping others to do the same. Our faith-base empowers us to step forward in empathy and compassion, while engaging families through diversity, equity, and inclusion. Many of our staff and volunteers intimately understand the challenges families face, since they have also walked the path of separation, divorce, and grief. We seek to help “heal the brokenhearted and bind their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). Currently, Cornerstone of Hope operates programs at First Assembly Church, beginning the 3rd week of September and January each year. Register or contact us for more information today! Check out our growing Partner page for a location near you.


What Makes Us Different

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Our Mission

To provide engaging and effective peer-support programs to children and families facing a loss, such as separation, death or divorce, so they can find healing and hope for a better future.

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Our Vision

We envision a future where all children, along with their families, find healing after loss, including separation, death, or divorce.

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Our Values

Compassion - We are followers of Christ reaching into our communities.

Serve - We serve with conviction, inclusion, passion, love, grace, and humility.

Empowerment - We empower our participants with support and skills so they can move through their loss towards hope.

Relational - We pursue authentic relationships and encourage community growth.


Meet Our Team

Gerry Merk

Gerry Merk

Board Director

A Senior Financial Analyst with a national firm, Gerry has served on the Board of Directors since 2018. A single parent of 2, he is passionate about supporting the needs of families experiencing separation and divorce and advancing the vision of Cornerstone of Hope.


Dennis Sanders

Board Director

As a founding member of Cornerstone of Hope, Dennis has dedicated his life to ministering to children and families.

A small business owner, minister, and consultant, Dennis ensured the administrative side of Cornerstone of Hope ran smoothly during his time as CEO. Additionally, he served as program facilitator for our adult programs, as site coordinator, and partner trainer.


Irene Sanders

Board Director

As a founding member of Cornerstone of Hope, Irene has spent a lifetime ministering to children and families. Her passion is to help families heal. She is a long-standing, valued member of the Board of Directors.

Irene also served as program coordinator, program facilitator, trainer, and event planner for many years . She was integral to the development of our HeartZone and TeensThrive Curricula, leading the curriculum teams, submitting activities and ideas, and formatting the Facilitator Guides. She continues to offer prayer-counseling support to many hurting souls inside and outside of Cornerstone of Hope.