The Port Alberni Friendship Center, established in the 1966, is one of the more than 118 friendship centers across Canada, 25 of which are located in BC, with a mandate of providing services to Urban Aboriginals. The services presently provided at our center are counseling, recreation programs, youth employment training program, Outreach Legal Advocacy Program, some public health services, social events, crafts and cultural events, with a general drop-in atmosphere.
The Friendship Center is a non-profit society made up of individual members, governed by a board, which is elected from the membership at large, and administered by an executive director, and a staff of up to 36 which includes temporary project staff of 2 - 6 depending on the season. The Friendship Center's core budget is funded by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). Other programs are funded by individual agencies with a focus on that particular subject area.
Since the Port Alberni Friendship Centre’s inception in 1966, this social service organization has grown to become an organization that is built on community support, trust, strong leadership, tradition and faith and is well respected by the whole community. It is regarded in the Alberni Valley as an integral hub for the urban Aboriginal community and a respected resource. The Port Alberni Friendship Center has the infrastructure and capacity to provide social, recreational and cultural programs which are focused on improving the health and well-being of family/youth/children and elders using a strength-based approach. The Friendship Centre also maintains an open door policy where services and programs can be accessed by everyone in the community.
“We envision a strong, healthy and empowered community that respects and accepts all people in a safe, culturally connected and welcoming place.”
“To support and empower our community and to provide a safe and welcoming place wherein we provide individualized, meaningful and culturally based programs and services guided by the wisdom of our Elders.”
To offer programs and activities that will enhance the lives, relationships and cooperation and understanding of all peoples in contact with the Port Alberni Friendship Center.
Our mandate is to improve the quality of life for Aboriginal peoples in an urban environment by supporting self-determined activities which encourage equal access to, and participation in, Canadian Society; and which respect and strengthen the increasing emphasis on Aboriginal cultural distinctiveness.