CALGARY (660 NEWS) — Based in Calgary, Skipping Stone is a foundation that works to provide transgender and gender-diverse Albertans with resources to support them. In the past year, the foundation estimates they have supported more than 1,000 families in 17 Alberta communities.
Founded in 2016, the charity was originally known as the Skipping Stone Scholarship Foundation. They provide people in the gender-diverse community with opportunities to express themselves, offer scholarships, and host community-building events.
Eddy Robinson is the community programs and outreach team lead with Skipping Stone. Robinson says the services they provide “are life-saving” across the province.
“When there is a lack of representation or a lack of resources, it fills a gap. It fills a need.” Robinson said. “Recent research has told us that wait times are the hardest for trans folks and that’s when you see high suicidality.”
LISTEN: 660’s Devon Banfield speaks with Skipping Stone’s Eddy Robinson
Started by Lindsay Peace and Amelia Marie Newbert, the foundation has expanded to fill gaps in healthcare, education, social services, and other needs of transgender people in Alberta. In 2017 the organization became a direct service provider, and in 2018 they launched their own care program.
“We envision a province where trans and gender diverse individuals are surrounded by positivity, affirmation, and support free from barriers, stigma, and discrimination,” reads the vision statement on their website.
Their site also lists the three core values of Skipping Stone as empowerment, support, and love. Something that Robinson says they demonstrate every day.
“The simplest acts can be empowering, and leading with love and care,” Robinson said of their services. “Everybody at our organization works from a place of internal passion and love, so I support and see it every day.”
The organization provides a variety of services to the community. These services include gender-affirming clothing such as binders, recreation activities, food, counselling, legal aid, mentoring and employment opportunities. Robinson says that these services are needs-based, and always will be.
“We are central to our community, and we are lead by the needs of our community,” Robinson said. “When I meet someone in an intake, I want to do everything I can to meet them with love, and uplift them, and make them feel that they are empowered to make the choices for their life.”
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Skipping Stone also provides educational resources to workplaces looking to become more inclusive.
Several online events are planned for the upcoming weeks. A calendar of events can be found on the Skipping Stone website.
According to Statistics Canada, in 2018, more than 75,000 Canadians over the age of 15-years-old identified as gender diverse or transgender. They also report that transgender people were three times more likely to experience sexual and physical violence than their cisgender peers.