Wellness | Mental Health, Physical Health, Safety, Sports Recreation
Community Connections | Inclusion, Citizen Engagement, Children And Youth

Between Friends (Calgary Between Friends Club – Fun and Fellowship for Disabled Youth)

Between Friends is a charitable organization in Calgary & area working with the disabilities community since 1982. Between Friends provides quality social, recreation, and development opportunities so that children, teens (youth), and adults with disabilities can connect, grow, and belong. We focus on abilities, not disabilities. This allows each person to set their own goals and determine their level of participation. Many people with disabilities seek social and recreational activities that are fundamental to enriching self-esteem, quality of life, mental health, and physical health. Between Friends facilitates accessible programs with these goals in mind.

Our Story

Why We Exist

Children, youth and adults with disabilities seek social and recreational activities that are fundamental to enriching self-esteem, quality of life, as well as mental and physical health. These programs become pivotal in the lives of our participants as they decrease the degree of isolation they may face. Activities are customized to all ability levels to maximize enjoyment, and help participants challenge and grow their individual potential.

Our Impact

What We Do

Constantin’s Story
Opening a World of Opportunities! 

For six long years Constantin was confined to a world of his own thoughts, but could never share them. Living with a disability that impeded his speech made him feel sad, lonely and isolated. He had the words and so much to offer, but just couldn’t share his thoughts as easily as others.

“[All] I felt was: I can’t speak; I can’t hang out with friends, because that involves talking; I can’t have friends really; I can’t fit in; I am always the slowest in my class; I can’t go to summer camp like my brother or sister; instead I see therapists and study for school; kids pity me.” 

He had tried other summer camps, yet never felt like he could belong. He felt judged by the other kids for how he spoke. He was disheartened by coming in last in everything. When he found Between Friends Camp Bonaventure, it completely changed Constantin’s life:

“I couldn’t believe it. Wow! Nobody looked at me weird, they just took me as I was: Constantin. Yes, I have problems, but who cares? Let’s have fun together. They connected with me; we all had a blast! I realized that there are other kids with issues and IT IS OK. No therapy could teach me that, I needed to FEEL it. And I made friends and talked as never before.” 

Now 14 years old, his journey with Between Friends led him to our Between Friends I.C.A.N! services (Inclusive Community Activities with No Barriers) where he, along with the support of one of our Recreation Inclusion Facilitators (RIF), volunteers weekly with Youth Central.

“With my volunteering I learned the biggest lesson of my life: I CAN do things, make a difference, and people are actually grateful that I am there. I don’t see myself anymore as that poor kid with a disability but I have something very special, a ‘ME-ABILITY.’ I can help as much as possible and that makes our community a better place.” 

Through Between Friends I.C.A.N! services we have seen Constantin grow more ambitious and confident. His passion for the community and desire to give back are truly inspiring:

“The Between Friends I.C.A.N! service has empowered [Constantin] to the point where he has plans for his future: what career he wants, and what college he would like to go to. He is realizing his true potential and he now lives without the limitation of a disability. I am so proud of him. His success fills my heart with joy.” – Recreation Inclusion Facilitator (RIF)

Our Programs

How We Do It

Between Friends Camp Bonaventure
A true outdoor summer day camp at Riveredge Park and our satellite Northeast camp at 1000 Voices at the Genesis Centre, where friendship and fun flourish for ages 4 to 17.

Between Friends W.E.S.O.A.R!
(Weekend & Evening Social Opportunities, Activities & Recreation)
A variety of social and recreational group activities like bowling, swimming, movie nights, and dancing, for all ages during the fall, winter, and spring.

Between Friends I.C.A.N!
(Inclusive Community Activities with No Barriers)
A service that promotes social inclusion through training and consultation with community recreation providers such as the Pumphouse Theatre, Calgary Public Library, City of Calgary, and others. Any community based activity can provide a Between Friends I.C.A.N! experience.

Between Friends Adventurers
A summer program for adults ages 18 and older that is customized to varied interests, including day trips and vacation retreats.

Between Friends Camp Fun’zAmust
A fun summer outdoor sleep away camp in partnership with Easter Seals Camp Horizon, adapted and accessible for ages 7-17 and 18-40. 

Our Requests

What You Can Do

Here are ways in which you can make an impact with Between Friends:

 

ADVENTURERS AND ADULT PROGRAMMING:  $200,000

Your investment in Adventurers and Adult Programming will enable participants to:

  • Expand their skills and interests in outdoor adventure activities through day trips, and overnight and week-long adventures.
  • Develop confidence to undertake activities and experiences without fear of failure.
  • Interact in a safe and secure environment.
  • Have positive social interactions with peers and staff.
  • Learn new skills related to adventure activities and leisure travel pursuits, such as: preparing food, learning to work with others, and managing time and money.

COMMUNITY INCLUSION:  $50,000

Your investment in Community Inclusion will enable those who take part to:

  • Be introduced to healthy lifestyle activities and undertake new activities and experiences.
  • Have positive social interactions with peers.
  • Be aware of their skills and interests in activities and experiences.

BETWEEN FRIENDS I.C.A.N!:  $40,000

  • Every donation of $1,000 will enable one member to take part in an action-packed camp for one month.

JUNIOR LEADER PROGRAM:  $10,000

Your investment in the Junior Leader Program will enable the next generation of knowledgeable, skilled youth to:

  • Take part in three weeks of creative inventive/dynamic camp programs.
  • Increase their disability awareness, serious illness education, and special needs adaptive training.
  • Acquire first-aid/CPR certification.
  • Acquire Outdoor Council of Canada Leadership 1 (Hiking) certification.
  • Take part in leadership skills training.

BETWEEN FRIENDS W.E.S.O.A.R!:  $150,000

W.E.S.O.A.R! Programs (Weekend & Evening Social Opportunities, Activities & Recreation) are social and recreational group activities geared towards people with disabilities of all ages. Participants are grouped based on their age, and activities are planned to fit their interests. The activities can be either indoor or outdoor and include: bowling, swimming, dancing, music therapy, movie nights, and much more. Between Friends W.E.S.O.A.R! programs operate year-round in four sessions: winter, spring, summer, and fall.

VOLUNTEER IN TRAINING PROGRAM:  $10,000

The Between Friends Volunteer in Training Program (VIT) was developed to give youth (16+) & adults with disabilities the skills and confidence they need to become successful and independent volunteers in their communities. Many of the Volunteers in Training (VITs) that have utilized the program have been past Between Friends members who aspired to become a volunteer and work with children with disabilities. Training is offered over the course of eight weeks (July & August) at Between Friends Camp Bonaventure as well as in the winter, spring and fall sessions of our year round W.E.S.O.A.R! programs.

LEGACY GIVING | ESTATE GIFT

Plan a gift. Ensure future generations of Between Friends participants have a place to belong, through a bequest, gift of insurance, securities or other planned gift. https://betweenfriends.ab.ca/legacy-giving/

VOLUNTEER!
We are looking for board members or committee members in the areas of fund development, communications, finance and governance. There are many opportunities to volunteer through our weekly evening and weekend programs, or for our summer camps. https://betweenfriends.ab.ca/volunteer/

volunteer

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Contact

Suzanne Jackett

CEO

403-269-9133

Charitable Number: 11921 7925 RR0001

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