For over 30 years the NWTRPA Awards Program has been celebrating and recognizing recreation professionals and volunteers in northern communities for their efforts and achievements in promoting recreation and active living for all northerners. This feature of Mercedes Rabesca is the third in a series of profiles of the 2022 NWTRPA Award Winners. Mercedes is the 2022 winner of the Innovation Award for his work in sharing his knowledge in a good way with the community of Behchokǫ̨̀ and supporting others to be healthy.
Mercedes Rabesca is a medical responder & Recreation Leader & founder of 'Come Sew with Auntie'.
Mercedes has a very bright personality and infectious laugh, she has created a successful sewing group and culture in Behchokǫ̀̀, various projects are done throughout the year, and programs are offered for youth, adults, elders, and experienced and inexperienced people welcome. Stories are shared, skills to make different crafts are handed down to each other, and mothers are sitting and working on projects with their children.
Winter Coat Drives are held each year at the Sportsplex, Mercedes and her volunteers gather, clean, and organize gently used winter coats for those in need in the community. It has grown bigger and bigger each year; November 2023 would mark its 4th season.
Young Leader, Mercedes exemplifies the strength and resiliency of the young leaders we have today, she is an inspiring business owner. She coaches volleyball, soccer, and basketball and participates in various tournaments yearly. She shares her culture by teaching Dene and Northern Games to youth at the Sportsplex or schools. She has a vast interest in her community, works hard so youth can be part of a team, and teaches healthy manners and sportsmanship with her patience and understanding. Youth see her as a safe adult, and the quality of her work shows in the waiting lists for her programs, parents appreciate how she works with their children.
Mercedes has seen how sports can change a community, she has worked and volunteered throughout her life to be trained, experienced, and certified in various sports to offer to her community. Being in sports all her life, she understands the importance of being part of a team, she does not leave a child behind if she can help it, and she listens to her participants in creating a varied program that they come back to. Mercedes has also taken a second job to aid programs in the Recreation Department for Behchokǫ̀̀, with all her ideas and connections she helps create the best team by mentoring other staff.
Mercedes' Award ceremony took place on March 10th, 2023, in her home community at the Annual Behchokǫ̀ Handgames Tournament. Mercedes will also be joined by her family and friends for a dinner celebration at Copperhouse in Yellowknife, NT.
Thank you, Mercedes, for your hard work and support for the community!