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?

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

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 former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million

A virtual marketplace and food concierge service has been launched by Willowbrook Shopping Centre in Langley (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Willowbrook Shopping Centre in Langley launches virtual marketplace and food concierge service

Customers can go online to shop product assortment assembled from centre’s food and beverage tenants

Fraser Health has included Brookswood Secondary School to its list of COVID-19 school exposures, alongside exposure events at Aldergrove Community Secondary and Betty Gilbert Middle schools. (Google Maps)
8 Langley schools now on COVID exposure list, 3 added on Tuesday

Public Health has initiated contact tracing

THROUGH YOUR LENS: Frosty came for a visit this past weekend to Sharon Vose’s South Langley home. Her grandchildren erected the snowman in her backyard. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
SHARE: Frosty returned for a short visit

Send us your photo showing how you view Langley, and it could be featured in a future edition

Langley RCMP say they arrested two suspected mail thieves Tuesday morning. (Black Press Media files)
Aldergrove mail thieves caught with letters scattered in Jeep

Both suspects were violating probation orders, police say

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

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
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

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

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

RCMP officers wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 stand by. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
RCMP appeal for witnesses after hit-and-run leaves girl, 17, in critical condition

The Metro Vancouver teenager was found unconscious and critically injured after being hit: police

Most Read