Langley friendship group bids adieu at the close of 2020

You’ve Gotta Have Friends has been around for 15 years, encouraging kindness and inclusion

Janice McTaggart will retire after serving 25 years as the director of outreach for the Langley Senior Resources Society. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Coronavirus has proven the fatal blow for a local non-profit group that spent years fostering friendship, inclusion and a sense of community.

You’ve Gotta Have Friends (YGHF) is closing down at the end of 2020, citing COVID as too much of a burden to overcome after funding cuts.

“Many of you will be aware that last year YGHF lost its long-term funding from the United Way of Lower Mainland,” explained Dan Collins, CEO of the Inclusion Langley Society. “This resulted in our need to reduce our capacity to be available to citizens. At that time, we changed drop-in frequency and reduced the hours that coordinators were available to facilitate gatherings, share information and stimulate new ways to assist people to connect with others in community.”

But there’s further funding reductions so the society has decided to shut down the initiative.

The Inclusion Langley Society started YGHF about 15 years ago to help people connect. Over the years YGHF has done that through various means such as its book club or supper club, art events, Boppin’ in the Park dance evenings, concerts, and more. The group had done random acts of kindness such as passing out free flowers to people downtown and created the Community Builder Awards which it gave out during fun banquets annually.

• READ MORE: ‘We felt this was an opportunity to raise people up and given some recognition’

“It was never our plan to create a dependency on YGHF, rather nurture a dependency and a reliance on others in community to help us feel alive, and this has been accomplished. We hope that your connections to others you have met in your journey with YGHF will be sustained,” Collins said.

He praised the coordinators, Janice McTaggart, Pat Weibelzahl and Penny Hembrook as well as the many volunteers, residents, businesses, community groups and organizations that have supported the group over the 15 years.

“We are confident that our shared wish to live in a welcoming community will endure and that we will all continue to experience a true sense of inclusion throughout Langley,” Collins said.

McTaggart said the group seems to have come to its natural end.

“I can’t express enough the gift that You’ve Gotta Have Friends has been to me,” she said. “I am sad to retire from it and yet am so grateful for the people I have met along the way and the relationships we have developed. We all feel as though we have made a difference in this community and I see the evidence all around me. Inclusion has become natural and kindness abounds. The pandemic has certainly emphasized that.”

She and Hembrook encouraged people to continue to reach out to make connections with others in the community.

“It would be so wonderful if some of our activities can continue. Anyone can create a Supper Club, Breakfast with Friends, Book Club or even Flower Power – just invite,” Hembrook said.

The plan is to bring back Boppin’ in the Park when pandemic restrictions are over.

.


Got a news tip?

Email: heather.colpitts@langleyadvancetimes.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Investigators placed dozens of yellow evidence markers on the ground near the site of a fatal shooting in Langley City early Wednesday morning. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
UPDATE: 22-year-old man killed in targeted shooting in Langley

South Surrey vehicle fire may be linked to homicide: police

Jack Nicholson (left) presented a cheque in 2020 for the Co-op Community Spaces Grants for local community projects across Western Canada/ (Sean Weatherly/Special to The Star)
Co-op Community Spaces is investing $1 million to fund community projects

Non-profits and registered charities can apply between Feb. 1 and March 1 for funding opportunities

Langley City Coun. Gayle Martin was ‘appalled’ by Cloverdale-Langley City MP Tamara Jansen’s Commons comment calling the city a ‘ghost town’ (file)
VIDEO: Langley council presses MP to explain ‘ghost town’ comment

Response by Cloverdale-Langley City Conservative MP Tamara Jansen failed to answer question: Martin

Langley Township civic facility. (Black Press Media files)
Two cannabis shops close to approval in Langley Township

There were more than 20 initial applications spread across multiple locations

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker have been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
B.C. couple who travelled to Yukon for COVID vaccine ineligible for 2nd dose until summer

The province is ensuring those eligible to receive the vaccine get the second shot within 42 days

(File)
Mask dispute in court leaves Vancouver cop with broken leg

Man allegedly refused to put on a mask and resisted arrest

(Kraft Dinner/Twitter)
Kraft Dinner launches candy-flavoured mac and cheese just in time for Valentine’s Day

Sweet and cheesy treat will be here just in time for the cheesiest holiday of the year

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

SAR crews worked late into the night Tuesday to rescue an injured snowboarder in North Vancouver. (Facebook/North Shore Rescue)
Complicated, dangerous rescue saves man in avalanche near Cypress Mountain

North Shore SAR team braves considerable conditions to reach injured snowboarder

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
UPDATE: No sign of small plane that went down in waters south of Vancouver Island

Searchers out on both sides of border between Victoria and Port Angeles

In this undated image made from a video taken by the Duke of Sussex and posted on @SaveChildrenUK by the Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, shows the Duchess of Sussex reading the book “Duck! Rabbit!” to their son Archie who celebrates his first birthday on Wednesday May 6, 2020. The Canadian Paediatric Society is reminding families that the process of raising a reader starts from birth. (Duke of Sussex/@SaveChildrenUK)
Canadian Paediatric Society says raising a reader starts from birth

CPS says literacy is one of the strongest predictors of lifelong health outcomes

Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough responds to a question during a news conference Thursday August 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Easing rules for parental benefits created inequities among parents, documents say

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough’s office says the government will make any necessary changes

Most Read