The Founder of the Cariboo Chilcotin Child Development Centre in Williams Lake has passed away at the age of 102.
Aileen Hewett formed the CDC IN 1974 and ran it out of one of the change rooms in the old arena.
Executive Director Vanessa Riplinger said everyone’s hearts are heavy at the Child Development Centre and that they’ll all miss her terribly.
“She was just so instrumental in the development of the Child Development Centre. Aileen was just an amazing woman, she had such energy and passion for children and her community. She was a strong woman, she was a strong child advocate and she was a strong community leader. And I think if you had met her you would have known how much she cared about Williams Lake and the children and the people of our community”.
Riplinger also spoke about Hewett’s history with the CDC.
“She actually founded the Child Development Centre in 1974 because she had a child that had required extra supports and back then you had to travel down to Vancouver to receive any type of services and Aileen put her foot down and said no we need services within our community, within Williams Lake and she started the Child Development Centre in the old arena in a dressing room”.
Riplinger shared a memory about a big pink piggy bank that Hewett used to fundraise.
“Back in 1977-78 with the help of the world’s largest piggy bank donated by BC Rail employees, they built it, Aileen and members of the committee were able to raise sixty thousand dollars and that was how they started to build the Child Development Centre. They went around to different parades and went around to different places with this piggy bank and the City of Williams Lake let them put it in different places within playgrounds for quite a while, it was just amazing”.
Riplinger said Hewett will be missed terribly, her tenacious attitude, dedication to the Child Development Centre, and passion for making children’s lives better set the standard they follow today.
Riplinger added Williams Lake and the CDC has lost a strong child advocate and community leader.