Who is Cathy Wever and why is there a Hamilton school named after her?

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Cathy Wever was born in Sarnia in 1959 but later came to Hamilton to attend school.

She worked as a civilian for a number of years for the Hamilton Police and eventually became a constable.

In 2000, according to the Wever Community Hub website, Wever was assigned to patrol in the Sanford area in North Hamilton.

Wever immediately came face-to-face with some of Hamilton's most vulnerable populations and experienced first-hand the socioeconomic struggles of the neighbourhood.

The children of the neighbourhood, Wever found, were at a particular disadvantage because of a lack of services geared towards engaging them and keeping them off the streets were practically non-existent.

The principal of Sanford School, which at the time was adjacent to the Pinky Lewis Rec Centre, joined forces with Weaver to help raise awareness of the situation facing the neighbourhood's youth and seek out partnerships in the city to help develop free programming for kids.

Back then, the city employed a 'fee-for-service' model for recreational and community programming which excluded many residents in the area from accessing them. Another problem was that the area around Pinky Lewis was known to be a hub for crime.

The determination of Wever and those who joined in her cause led to the formation of The Barton Community Kids partnership committee whose aim was to work towards establishing free programming for youth out of Pinky Lewis.

As the momentum to improve the Sanford community was just getting going, Wever was diagnosed with cancer and after a short battle, she passed away in January 2001. She was just 41 years old.

In the aftermath of her death, while much of the momentum was lost for a time, eventually, Wever's partners pushed forward to see her vision to fruition.

This eventually led to the formation of the Sanford Community Development Committee which brought the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, the Hamilton Police Service, Hamilton Fire Department, the city's rec department and the Rotary Club of Hamilton to the table.

This group became known as the Wever Community Development Committee which worked to establish the Wever Community Hub out of Pinky Lewis. This is a safe, shared social space for community programming.

Over the years, the Hub further evolved to become Wever Core which continues to provide programming to children, youth and families in the neighbourhood.

In 2006, a new school opened to replace Sanford Avenue School. It was named in honour of Cathy Wever and her vision for the neighbourhood she worked so hard to improve.

"Cathy Wever worked tirelessly with community members to offer youth of this neighbourhood free after-school programs," her namesake school says on their website.

"She was the driving force behind the community partnerships and strong after-school programs enjoyed by hundreds of students today."

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