It’s hard to imagine what our community would be like without KidsAbility. After all, the organization seems to be intricately woven into the very fabric of Waterloo Region and Wellington County. For many of KidsAbility’s founders, supporting the organization became part of their rich heritage, with generations of descendants having a distinct impact. Such was the case with the Webers.
The family’s involvement with KidsAbility can be traced back to Carl Weber — an individual who espoused the value of giving back to the community in which you work and live. A charter member of the K-W Rotary Children’s Centre (which
opened in 1957), Carl was instrumental in obtaining vital donations to construct the original facility in downtown Kitchener and to hire much-needed physicians and support staff.
Once KidsAbility was solidly entrenched in the community, Carl’s son Jack took the leadership reins and proved to be a visionary. Recognizing that the existing site on King Street would be outgrown, he was instrumental in exchanging that property for nine acres of farmland at the edge of Waterloo. While some may have questioned this decision, this foresight — and extensive fundraising efforts alongside his good friend Bob Collins-Wright — allowed KidsAbility to build its groundbreaking facility on Hallmark Drive.
The legacy continued with Jack’s daughter, Wendy, who chaired the committee for the Sugar Plum Tea (a successful fundraiser at Langdon Hall) for a number of years and volunteered at Radiothons. Wendy and her husband, Jamie, also had a very personal connection to KidsAbility. At an early age, their son, Aaron, struggled with speech before one of his teachers and KidsAbility staff discovered he had hearing problems. Once the hearing issue was addressed, speech therapy helped Aaron to thrive at school.
A memorable moment for Wendy and Jamie occurred when their daughter, Dayna, took a position at KidsAbility. As Wendy notes, “Things came around full circle and I know everyone in the family was so proud!”
Today, the Weber legacy seems to be in good hands. Matteo and Noelle (Dayna and her husband Nico’s children) have volunteered their time at Oh Christmas Free, Sugar Plum Tea and other KidsAbility initiatives.
Looking back, a common thread that weaves itself throughout KidsAbility’s 60-year history is the support of the Webers. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that their sheer determination, extraordinary vision and ongoing support helped to give more than 60,000 children with special needs — the number of clients that have graced our halls over the years — the opportunity to realize their full potential.