Since its inception in 1982, Between Friends has been sharing a sense of belonging with people of all abilities and ages across Alberta. The organization envisions a “community where people with disabilities reach their individual potential and are recognized as valued citizens.” With over 750 members and 59 disability groups represented, Between Friends is making their vision a reality.
Katie Fipke, Program Manager and member of the leadership team, explains it like this,
“Between Friends is about creating a safe place where people can connect with each other, where they can grow as individuals and grow as a collective. It’s about finding what makes us unique and celebrating that, but also what makes us the same, and how we can interact with each other on a personal level and know that we are more alike than different. Beyond that, it’s about feeling a sense of belonging.”
The organization hosts all sorts of events, activities and social gatherings where children, youth and adults with or without disabilities can meet and enjoy companionship and support. These occasions are all about creating a place where there is no judgment, no disappointment and where everybody can just be themselves. It’s also about forming a network of families who can connect through shared experience and understanding.
The “Friends” in Between Friends holds a deeper meaning. It is an acronym that encompasses the organization’s core values and guides their decisions on a daily basis.
Fun – We provide opportunities for smiles and laughter with friends.
Respect – We respect all people and resources.
Inclusion – We focus on abilities and build community.
Equity – We provide support so that everyone can be successful.
No Barriers – We adapt to the changing needs of our members and strive to diminish obstacles to participation.
Diversity – We create a welcoming atmosphere for all.
Skills – We encourage the growth and development of everyone involved with our organization.
These values serve as a guide for the organization, but they can also serve as a guide for us all. At Northwest, we believe in “Friends”, and we have been supporting Between Friends for many years now. Our team members in Calgary participate in meetups and fundraisers for the organization and always look forward to these inspiring events.
The Northwest Way is about giving back to the communities in which we live and work. Partnering with organizations like Between Friends is one of the ways we do this. We hope that by featuring our relationships with these organizations, we can raise awareness for their invaluable work in the community.
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