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“The opportunity to participate must be equally available to all; and the greatest advantage goes to the most disadvantaged.”


- Joe-Anne Priel, GM Community Services, Hamilton

Mission

We strive to provide Wever children, youth and families with the foundation and hope for a brighter future by equipping them with the tools to succeed in school, work and life.

Vision

The Wever Core focuses on “leveling the playing field” for children, youth and families in our neighbourhood.

We work to mobilize the Hamilton Community assets to reduce barriers to participation and provide equal opportunities and accessibility.

Principles

  • Increase accessibility to healthy recreation and social activities for every child, youth and family
  • Focus on action through partnerships and community collaboration
  • Child centre decision making
  • Create shared physical, social and emotional space to promote resilience in children, youth, their families and the entire neighbourhood.

Who We Are

A group of dedicated volunteers brought together to make a positive difference in the lives of children, youth and families in the Wever Hub. The Centre of Excellence created by partnerships from funders, service providers as well as hard work from volunteers have made an impact of this inner city community.

We work collaboratively with each other and with several partner organizations to improve life quality and life chances for Wever residents by:

  • Providing a safe, shared physical space (Norman Pinky Lewis Recreation Centre, Mission Services and Cathy Wever Elementary School) that fosters healthy community interaction and connection
  • Striving to surround at-risk Wever children and their families with support and positive learning environments in their school, recreation centre and in all contact they have with community organizations
  • Providing opportunities for Wever residents to develop the tools necessary to succeed in school and work
  • Advocating for the inclusion of Wever residents in mainstream social and support networks
  • Mobilizing Wever residents to invest in themselves and their community
  • Building Wever Community capacity for self-determination and self-reliance

What We Do

“You can change the odds for an at risk child by leveling the playing field. Give that child access to the everyday experiences we know help to grow healthy kids”

- Dr. Dan Offord

The Wever Community CORE focuses on “leveling the playing field” for at-risk Wever children and youth. We work with community partners to mobilize Hamilton Community assets to reduce barriers to participation and provide equal opportunity, so that disadvantaged children and their families have access to mainstream support networks crucial to healthy growth and development. We strive to provide Wever children and youth with the foundation for a brighter future by equipping them with the tools to succeed in school, in work and in life.

Wever Hub Strategic Goals:

  1. FOSTER Wever Community cohesion by providing a safe, shared, welcoming physical and social community space (Norman Pinky Lewis Recreation Centre together with nearby Cathy Wever Public School) where residents can interact and develop a sense of community spirit and kinship.
  2. SUPPORT residents to adopt healthier lifestyles by improving access to healthy food for Wever children, youth and families through a Nutritious Snack Program and by raising community awareness of the importance of healthy eating through programming and public education efforts.
  3. PROVIDE accessible, quality recreation and education opportunities for Wever children, youth and families, including barrier-free afterschool recreation programming that promotes mental and physical well being and the development of social and academic skills that increase chances of success in school and work.
  4. ENGAGE & MOBILIZE Wever residents to invest in themselves and their community by providing consistent, dependable encouragement and assistance to overcome barriers to participation.
  5. INCREASE Wever Community capacity for self-determination and self-reliance by providing opportunities for residents to participate in Hub governance and develop leadership skills.
  6. BUILD a viable, sustainable Wever Community Hub infrastructure across partner institutions and organizations, linking City and School Board policy with Hub practices and Wever Community needs.

Brief History of the Wever Hub

In early 2000, Hamilton Police Officer Cathy Wever was assigned to patrol the Sanford area. She immediately recognized the community’s distress and the incredible struggle facing neighbourhood children and youth. She was appalled by the lack of services offered in the area and dedicated herself to creating a healthier Sanford Community. Cathy joined forces with like-minded Sanford School VP Lori Kyle, and they worked tirelessly to recruit other City partners in an effort to overcome the many barriers to servicing the Sanford area. Although Sanford School was attached to the Norman Pinky Lewis Recreation Centre, there was no accessible community programming for impoverished local residents. The City’s ‘fee-for-service’ model for community programming necessarily excluded neighbourhood children and families who could not afford to pay for services. In addition, Pinky Lewis was a known hangout for area gangs and drug addicts and a frequent site for illegal activity and violence. Cathy and Lori felt that providing Sanford area children/youth with quality recreation opportunities would help generate a sense of community, and would be a major step in alleviating some of the crime and poverty issues plaguing the neighbourhood. The Barton Community Kids partnership committee was formed to help facilitate free after school programs run out of “Pinky” Recreation Centre. Just as some headway was being made, Cathy was diagnosed with cancer. Sadly, she passed away in January of 2001, leaving a hole in many hearts, and in the momentum of effort to improve the Sanford Community. Without Cathy, Lori faced diminishing support from Hamilton Police and Pinky Recreation Centre staff.

In September 2001, the City appointed Laura Troccoli-Ormond as Recreation Coordinator at Pinky. Outraged by the exclusion of struggling residents in desperate need of community programming, Laura immediately joined forces with Lori Kyle to advocate for Sanford residents. They believed the City and the School Board had an obligation to operate differently in severely impoverished neighbourhoods to prevent further exclusion of the already disadvantaged. Enlisting collaborative support was an ongoing battle. As they continued to advocate for unique City and School Board program delivery models to serve the Sanford Community, Laura and Lori realized they would have to secure grants to fund local programming. Seeking grant money was considered an interim solution to funding needs until the City and School Board reallocated resources to better service the Sanford Community.

Grant applications and administration required countless volunteer hours from Laura and Lori, but the new funding supported program expansion and renewed resident interest in community activity. They continued to seek more sustainable financial solutions as grant money was limited, indefinite and required frequent reapplication.

In 2004, Public Health Nurse Laura Laverty was assigned to work at Sanford School, where Lori Kyle was now the Principal. First hand witness to the extreme poverty and distress of Sanford children, she joined forces with Kyle and Troccoli-Ormond, focusing on community health promotion. The 3-member Sanford Committee continued to enrich programming, adding school nutrition and healthy cooking components. Sustaining the Sanford School nutrition program was challenging; the school had grown to 800 students and donations were limited and intermittent. Persistent networking led to contact with a young Rotarian named Alex Moroz, a Sanford resident dedicated to improving the quality of life for members of his community. Alex shared the Sanford Committee’s vision and joined their cause, committing support from the Rotary Club of Hamilton. Kyle, Troccoli-Ormond, Laverty and Moroz officially formed the Sanford Community Development Committee, and in March of 2005 they held their first meeting. Around the table sat representatives from the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board, Hamilton Public Health, the City Recreation Department, Hamilton Police Department, Hamilton Fire Department, and the Rotary Club of Hamilton.

In 2006, a new school named in honour of the late Cathy Wever, opened to replace Sanford Public School, and the Sanford Community Development Committee was renamed the Wever Community Development Committee (WCDC). As a unique, untraditional, cross-boundary partnership, the WCDC Executive set out to draw on resources to collaboratively create a Wever Community Hub by providing safe, shared social space (Pinky Recreation Centre and Cathy Wever School) and an associated “hub” of programs, services and events promoting community participation, mobilization and resilience.

Over the past eight years, WCDC (now Wever CORE) Sub-committee members have created a unique cooperative environment through their own cross-boundary collaboration, and by reaching out to many public and private community partners. As an official Rotary Club of Hamilton sub-committee, together, the sub-committee members employ a truly integrated approach to mobilize community assets in an effort to reduce barriers to participation and provide positive learning opportunities through accessible, quality programming for disadvantaged Wever residents.