By Lissa Miles

Joshua Hanssens and his wife, Samantha, received the Community Builder Award in Langley from You’ve Gotta Have Friends, a grass roots initiative aiming to involve all citizens in creating a welcoming community where everyone belongs.

“Both of us are pleased and a little in awe that we got the award,” said Joshua. “We just love the people and have always made a point of going to all the events we can, lending a hand where possible.”

Joshua co-leads a men’s group and spent a night sleeping outside in downtown Langley to experience the life on the streets. Samantha participates in a painting class and book club and both she and Joshua help with music in the park.

You’ve Gotta Have Friends recognizes the health impact of loneliness and isolation and aims to break down barriers that keep people from experiencing a rich and rewarding life by:

• Intentionally noticing and raising up the gifts and capacities of individuals and community groups;

• Acting as a catalyst for every citizen to engage in new ways of building relationships;

• Empowering positive change and inspiring action towards an inclusive community;

• Helping people find socially valued roles in community;

• Participating in events that raise awareness of the importance of belonging; and

• Convening conversations that matter.

You’ve Gotta Have Friends brings people together in a variety of ways to share their experiences and to create connections.