The Port Alberni Friendship Center is an Indigenous Social service organization which was established in 1965 and is one of more than 100 friendship centers across Canada, 25 of which are located in BC, which opens their doors to all community members with a mandate of providing services to Indigenous peoples living away from their home community. 

Our non-profit society is made up of individual members, governed by a community board of up to 10 persons who are elected by the membership at the Annual AGM.  This organization is administered by an Executive Director, a diverse staff of up to 40 and over 60 volunteers.

The Friendship Center’s Operations budget is funded by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), Provincial Capacity funds from the Provincial Government, fund raising, donations and admin funding from other programs.  Our primary programs are funded by The Law Foundation of BC, MCFD, Public Health, Island Health, Urban Aboriginal Head Start, MIRR, CAPC, New Horizons, First Peoples Cultural Council, Community and Gaming Grants. 

The services presently provided at our center are Addictions & Mental Health Counseling, Sports & Recreation programs, youth & adult employment training programs, Family Law and Poverty Law Legal Advocacy Programs, Family Support, Early Childhood Development & Early Years, Elders Programming, COVID Emergency Response, Homelessness Support, Family & Youth Programs, Aboriginal Head Start Program – Childcare Centre, some public health services, social events, crafts and cultural events, with a general drop-in atmosphere.

Our Programs

  • Addictions & Mental Health Counseling
  • Brighter Futures Parenting Program
  • Early Childhood Development
  • Early Years Program
  • Elders Program
  • Family Support Program
  • Family Law Advocacy Program
  • Healthycare Pregnancy Program
  • Outreach Legal Advocate
  • Training for Employment
  • Youth Drop-in Program

Addictions & Mental Health Counseling

Funded by Island Health, the Mental Health and Addictions program continues to provide quality counseling services to members of the Port Alberni and surrounding communities.

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Brighter Futures Parenting Program

Brighter Futures is a weekly peer facilitated program for parents, extended families and caregivers that encourages parenting growth by sharing and learning from each other. Brighter Futures was designed for use by our community with input from Elders and parents.

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Early Childhood Development

Outreach Liaison Workers provide support to families and caregivers from pregnancy through the early years. The ECD program was developed to meet the needs for culturally relevant programming specific to Indigenous families and children. The Outreach Workers provide support and information to families in their homes, in the community or at the Friendship Center building upon existing parenting skills, reducing isolation and encouraging & assisting families to build a community to support them.

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Early Years Program

The Early Years Program supports families and caregivers with children ages 0-6 years old through a variety of drop-in groups throughout the week which focus on friendship, nutrition, child development, parenting information, language and cultural teachings.

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Elders Program

The Elder’s activities provide opportunities to build relationships and social support, enhance well-being, and have input into programming.

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Family Support Program

Family Support Workers assist families who are in need of more intensive support in maintaining a healthy and positive environment for their children. Family Support Workers are connected to families either through referrals by the Ministry of Children and Family Development, Usma or by self-referrals.

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Family Law Advocacy Program

This program delivers a range of family law advocacy services including legal information, referral, advocacy and assistance to individuals in the community.

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Healthycare Pregnancy Program

We are here to walk along side of you on your journey if you have used or are thinking of using a substance and feel you could use extra support.

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Outreach Legal Advocate

The primary goal of this program is to ensure quality service delivery of legal advocacy for anyone needing assistance. If we can't help you with your legal issue, we will support you in connecting with the local Legal Aid office.

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Training for Employment

We will deliver services to unemployed and/or under-employed participants with the aim to enhance their employability while testing the impact of innovative and collaborative solutions to assist in addressing a wide range of socio-economic challenges within Indigenous communities.

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Youth Drop-in Program

The primary goal of the Youth Program is to create opportunities which will support and assist Urban Aboriginal Youth in enhancing their economic, social, and personal growth.

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Mission Statement

“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.”