Program manager Naydeen Spencer talks about the services Trails Crossing Friendship Centre will provide at the grand opening last Thursday.

Trails Crossing Friendship Centre has new location in Hope

Centre provides support and services to the Aboriginal and Metis community

Trails Crossing Friendship Centre now has an office in Hope.

The centre officially opened its new location on Wallace Street last Thursday with an open house celebration.

“It’s a huge feeling of accomplishment,” said centre president Bonnie Milward. “It’s fantastic to be able  to be more visible and accessible for community members.”

Trails Crossing is a non-profit organization that provides support and resources to the Aboriginal and Metis community and their families in the Hope area. The centre also strives to create greater community awareness and understanding of culture and tradition.

“The friendship centre really tries to help people who aren’t necessarily represented by a local band – so they’re living in a community that’s not their traditional territory,” said Milward. “When people come in and they share their stories with other people, or they hear the stories of the elders, it helps definitely bridge understanding and builds friendships.”

The centre recently received a grant from Service Canada for an employment program, which incorporates many traditional values into the curriculum. The centre also offers work experience placements, and traditional and cultural workshops.

“We really work with all of our community partners so that people are getting the resources they need from the appropriate place,” said Milward.

The friendship centre started three years ago as a way to connect people living in the area and became a registered society in 2010. Over the years, members have participated in numerous community events, including National Aboriginal Day in Memorial Park.

“We get to be whatever the community needs us to be,” said Milward. “We try our best to respond to what the community and our members ask for.”