Kwadwo Asante stands with Child Development Centre Executive Director Margaret Warcup before a 40th anniversay celebration for the CDC.

Kwadwo Asante stands with Child Development Centre Executive Director Margaret Warcup before a 40th anniversay celebration for the CDC.

Kitimat Child Development Centre marks 40 years this year

The Child Development Centre in Kitimat welcomed special guests to celebrate their 40 years operating.

Lordy lordy, look who’s 40.

Why, it’s the Kitimat Child Development Centre.

Since 1974 the CDC has been a crucial community service, starting with just three programs, now expanded to nearly 30.

Attending the 40th anniversary celebration of the CDC is the Centre’s founder. Dr. Kwadwo (Kojo) Asante. He said he marvels at how the centre has grown since its inception.

“I’m very gratified, I’m impressed by the breadth of services,” he said. “It’s impressive, the services provided by the centre now.”

Asante was born in Ghana and came to Canada, and later to Scotland, to study medicine.

He first arrived in Kitimat on Canada Day weekend in 1970.

He came on the encouragement of colleagues — as well as deciding it was too cold to move to Quesnel or Williams Lake — and opened a pediatrics practice.

“There had never been a pediatrician here,” he said.

After being here awhile he came to realize a need for services for youth.

“As a pediatrician I was familiar with the needs of children here, especially young children with developmental and physical handicaps,” he said.

“During my early years in Terrace and Kitimat I realized there was no facility for children who had cerebral palsy and other problems, to have physiotherapy, speech therapy and other kinds of treatments.”

He rallied parents, the school board, and the province for support and in 1974 the Kitimat Child Development program began. In Kitimat it started in the Service Centre and has moved several times in its history, to the first floor of the old Kitimat hospital to the Roy Wilcox elementary school, to the former school board building it occupies now, sharing a parking lot with Mount Elizabeth Middle Secondary.

In Terrace, the Child Development Centre he helped start began in a parent’s basement.

Asante credits the personal involvement of those who work at the CDC for growing it to the organization it is today.

CDC board president Jo Ann Hildenbrandt has been with the CDC for 22 years now and has seen first hand how the centre has grown over two decades.

With 1,000 clients on the books when she started, the centre now has 5,000, and has grown grown from three programs at its beginning to 28 today.

She said her entire involvement with the centre all comes back to the birth of her son 25 years ago.

“Both my interest in becoming a teacher of children with special needs and my involvement in the centre, all go back to to the birth of my son,” she said. Her son has special needs and has benefitted immensely from the CDC’s services.

“If we didn’t have a child development centre the children in our community would not be the children they are today because they wouldn’t have had access to the services that helped them to become who they are,” she said.

She believes if the CDC hadn’t existed in Kitimat her family would have had to move to where there were services.

“We are so fortunate we have the quality and level of staff and committed staff that we have here. That’s what I believe parents appreciate,” she said.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross at his swearing in on Thursday (Nov. 26), with his wife, Tracey, left, mother, Frieda, and grandson, Parker. (Ellis Ross photo)
Ellis Ross sworn in as Skeena MLA

Ceremonies happening virtually rather than all in-person in Victoria

CityWest internet and other services are down in Kitimat as of Wednesday (Nov. 25) evening. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATE: Services down for CityWest users in Kitimat

Services were put out due to a landslide cutting a fibre line

The Terrace River Kings lost 3-9 to the Quesnel Kangaroos on Mar. 2, 2019 in the final CIHL playoffs. (Lindsay Chung Photo)
Central Interior Hockey League cancels 2020/21 season

League open to playing exhibition games if possible

The team at Burns Lake Elizabeth Fry Society, who work to support those affected by domestic abuse and violence. (Submitted/Lakes District News)
Rio Tinto donates $25,000 to each Kitimat’s Tamitik Status of Women, Burns Lake Elizabeth Fry Society

Part of larger support to those helping women and children experiencing family and domestic violence

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

More than 60 cm of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation near Anahim Lake in the Chilcotin since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Graham West photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

School District 27 announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 this week (Nov. 23) at Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Entire gym class at northern B.C. high school isolating after confirmed COVID case

Contact tracing by Interior Health led to the quarantine

Most Read