Between Friends raises funds to help special needs Calgarians

Between Friends, an organization that helps disabled individuals in Calgary, recently held a fundraiser that featured two veteran local bands — bORDERLINE and the Advo-Cats — playing their hearts out for a good cause.

“It’s about two corporate bands (that) have decided that they want to support an organization in the community,” says Suzanne Jackett, CEO of Between Friends. “They’ve chosen our organization and they each play a set and go back and forth and see what band can get people more lively and on the dance floor and just have a great time.”

Gerry David, a member of bORDERLINE, has a son in the Between Friends club. David is on the board of directors of Between Friends and linked up with the Advo-Cats to form the Between Bands event.

“We wanted to do a fundraiser for the club so we organized this and I’ve been doing it for quite a few years since,” says David.

Betweenfriends.ab.ca says their organization has been offering social and recreational programs for over 30 years in Calgary and the surrounding area. The programs are aimed to increase awareness, positive attitudes and sensitivity towards fellow citizens who have disabilities.

“It’s just an opportunity to give our members chances to meet other people, and to make friends and to really develop that sense of connection and that sense of belonging that is so important for all of us,”

– Suzanne Jackett

Jackett says that the important part about this year’s event is that they had raised their target amount of funds before the Oct. 24 show even took place. Over 300 tickets were sold for the event at $25 each, raising a total of $33,000.

“Because it’s the third annual event, they are a little bit smoother than they have been in the last couple of years, so we’re excited to hear the improvements that the bands have come up with and the new songs they have come up with,” says Jackett.

Jackett explains the various programs Between Friends offers.

“Between Friends provides opportunities for people with disabilities to connect, grow, and belong. The way we do that is through social and recreational programs or activities. We do summer camps for kids from the ages of four to 17, and we have programs for our adults as well.”

Gerry David (middle) plays with his band bORDERLINE to help raise money for the organization his son takes part in.

Photo by Caroline FyvieBetween Friends hosts vacations for disabled adults for one to four nights in both Alberta and British Columbia. Over 40 events and programs are offered in the Between Friends 2014 fall program guide.

Participants can participate in weekly gatherings, including bowling, dinners, hockey games, movies and more.

“It’s just an opportunity to give our members chances to meet other people, and to make friends and to really develop that sense of connection and that sense of belonging that is so important for all of us,” says Jacket.

David, who works in the oil and gas industry by day, says playing in bORDERLINE is one of his side projects and the Between Friends fundraiser is important to him.

He hopes the event inspires other parents to participate in the club in different ways.

David says that the event is actually in its 13th year but it’s the third annual Between Bands configuration with the additional band.

“I just hope it keeps on going,” says David. “It’s a ton of fun.”

cfyvie@cjournal.ca