My name is Stacey Friesen and I’m 26 years old. I love music, singing, dancing, karaoke, colouring, babies, animals, zip lining, downhill skiing in the winter, camping in the summer, and of course, church! I attend a day program called Trailblazers Life Choices. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, you can find me at Tova Café in Transcona where I work as hostess. I LOVE this job as I get to meet so many people while I work. If you enjoy going for breakfast or lunch, I promise a warm welcome and fabulous food at the Tova Café.

L’Arche Tova Cafe was established in 2012 by L’Arche Winnipeg Inc. to further their mission of making known the gifts of people with developmental disabilities. In addition to providing wholesome food and great service (open 8am-2pm Monday to Saturday), the L’Arche Tova Cafe strives to: provide meaningful employment to people with a disability, encourage the general public to interact and get to know people with a disability, demonstrate social responsibility and ultimately to build a more compassionate society.

I have participated in the MDSS Walk with Us (formerly Buddy Walk) every year since my mom started it 11 years ago.  I get to dance to great music, get together with lots of friends and meet new people; all while supporting The Manitoba Down Syndrome Society! This year’s walk was September 23 at CMU North campus. My team is called Stacey’s Social Butterflies, which accurately describes my need to be around people:  my family & friends…and all those potential friends I haven’t met yet!  There is always room on my team for more friends!!

It was a very chilly September day, but we were lucky that the weather man was wrong about the rain. We were able to complete the walk without the use of umbrellas! We had a very large tent, which provided a gathering place of shelter and warmth, especially when filled with nearly 700 participants! The band before the walk provided entertainment while participants visited or perused the many raffle baskets available to win. After the walk, Jake Chenier sang for the younger crowd and all those young-at-heart while we munched on cookies & drank warm beverages. For more information about the Manitoba Down Syndrome Society, please go to