History of Wee Care
Started by a mother who had a child with Cerebral Palsy who wanted to giver her child the opportunity to engage with other children with needs like hers. Wee Care now employs more than 20 full time staff to care for 72 children and their families.
In 1973, the Wee Care Developmental Centre was established by the Cerebral Palsy Association for children with cerebral palsy. This made Wee Care the first daycare in Eastern Canada developed to meet the needs of children with physical disabilities and developmental delays. The population of children who attended was small, but vital in lives of the children.
In 1974, Wee Care welcomed all children with special needs. The IWK Children’s Hospital was an important liaison with the centre. Providing care and support for the children at the centre. The HMCS Iroquois DDG-280 adopted Wee Care as a philanthropy project — This partnership continued until the day the ship was decommissioned. Much of the maintenance and improvements of the facility were made possible by the hard working volunteers from the Iroquois.
In 1985, Wee Care recognized the importance of an integrated setting and began providing services to all children. Both typical and non-typical children benefits from inclusion. The ability to see people as people not labels is critical.
In 1986, the community rallied together to renovate the building that had been Wee Care’s home since 1973. These improvements continued until 1990.
In 1987, Wee Care became a Metro United Way agency. Funds donated through the United Way allowed Wee Care to provide on-site rehabilitative services such as physiotherapy.
In November of 1991, Wee Care’s home was destroyed by a fire. The generosity and support of the people of Nova Scotia enabled them to re-open just one day after the fire, operating at the Bethany United Church on Dutch Village Road. Wee Care held its 1st Annual Fundraising Auction to support the replacement of items lost in the fire.
From 1992-1995, children and staff worked, played and grew in a space that was generously donated by the congregation of the Bethany United Church. Occupational therapy services were introduced at Wee Care. Obstacles for the ground breaking were overcome and capital funding and fundraising for the new building were complete. Ground breaking took place at Wee Care’s original site, 5217 Young Street.
On a stormy April 1, 1997, Wee Care moved into phase one of its new building. With help from the community and HMCS Iroquois DDG 280, Wee Care moved from Bethany United Church into the new building. By April 14 of the same year, an infant program was created to enable Wee Care to accommodate children as young as six months. Wee Care’s program was also expanded from 24 to 42 children.
During 1998/1999, the HMCS Iroquois DDG 280, along with local businesses and organizations provided funds and volunteers to build our new deck, playground and Snoezelen multi-sensory room.
In 2000 Thyssenkrupp Elevator and the general community installed an elevator in our centre. This improved the ease of accessibility to the whole centre by all the children and staff. And moving a group of children downstairs to the gym or Snoezelen room got a lot safer and easier.
In 2003 Wee Care celebrated a milestone — our 30th Anniversary — in the newly improved and fully completed building Wee Care Developmental Centre.
In 2006 Wee Care expanded the playground to introduce an infant/toddler play space, water park, and sports pad – all of which are wheelchair accessible.
In 2007 Wee Care officially outgrew it’s current space and expanded into a neighbouring building, introducing 12 new childcare spaces. The Veith House classroom is an important part of the Wee Care family.
The 40th Anniversary of unique care and excellence in teaching celebrated in a big way at Wee Care Developmental Centre, with no signs of slowing down.
In 2014 the criteria for funding with the United Way changed and Wee Care was forced to find new and creative ways to fund raise to keep the non-profit centre running.
In 2015, the HMC Iroquois DDG 280 was decommissioned and with that ending a relationship that provided more than 500 volunteer hours a year to Wee Care. In the final year, the crew of the ship began construction on a training and conference room in the basement of the Centre.
In 2017, the training and conference was completed with the generosity and handiwork of Elegant Flooring. They wanted to get involved and they were able to get their suppliers to donate material to get the project done. Their efforts are appreciated.
In 2019 Wee Care Developmental Centre underwent a management change, after serving proudly as Executive Director for more than 20 years, Dawn MacFarlane left her post to move on. Sarah Brown stepped in to the role with ease and professionalism! The captain has changed and the ship sails on!