HFC turns 25 in 2020, hosting provincial AGM

File photo from Friendship Centre Indigenous Day 2019

Masha Scheele

The Hinton Friendship Centre turns 25 years old in 2020, and to celebrate they’re working on some events to show the community who they are and what they’ve done throughout the years.

The headline event for the Hinton Friendship Centre Society will be as host of the Provincial Annual General Meeting (AGM) for Alberta Native Friendship Centre Association in 2020. 

Delegates from more than 20 Friendship Centres will make their way to Hinton for the event. In honour of their 25-year existence they will host a celebration during the AGM as some provincial dignitaries will already be in the community, like the Minister of Indigenous Relations.

But since the AGM itself is closed to the public, they hope to have something besides this to honour the ones who helped start the centre 25 years ago.

“We will be doing something with the people that were involved with spearheading the Friendship Centre 25 years ago,” said Lisa Higgerty, program manager at the HFC.

Elders, and other members from the community, along with different agencies, have been involved in the centre and will be recognized for what the centre has become. The Centre was first incepted in December 1995 and over the years, the Hinton Friendship Centre has grown from a one-program organization with two employees to an organization with eight current major programs and around 40 employees.

“We’ve grown in nature and are very community orientated. We sort of start programming from what we hear from the community,” said Higgerty.

One of the first programs at the centre was the FLIP (Family Life Improvement) program, recalled Higgerty. Programs have shifted over the years to be a lot more socially engaging, such as family violence programs, and programming that meets the needs of the community.

“We’re trying to [build] a lot more profile with our friendship centre, we haven’t done well with that in the past. We’re doing a lot more community outreach,” added Higgerty.

Higgerty said a variety of programs and services are offered in a culturally appropriate manner, practising an open-door policy where anyone, regardless of race, religion, income or nationality can access programs. 

Referral and advocacy services, cultural programs, education and training, employment counselling, health programs, justice programs, children and youth programs, recreation programs and economic development are available to the centre’s visitors. The centre has many more training opportunities and social events.

For more information or volunteer opportunities, email yvonne@fchinton.com or call (780) 865-5189.