(Fort McMurray) Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude are proud to announce the 1st nominee for the Women of Inspiration series 2017-2018:
Teresa is Ojibwe from the Whitefish River First Nations in Ontario. She and her husband moved to Fort McMurray in 2006 for the work opportunities. Teresa is the third oldest of 9 children. Up until the age of 13, she was raised by her paternal grandparents. Her grandparents had moved off the reserve after two of their sons were taken away to residential schools. Her grandparents moved in the hopes that their other children wouldn’t be sent away as well. Tesese and her grandparents were the only aboriginal people in town. Her grandmother instilled in her the importance of responsibility and being “a good Indian woman.”
At 13, when her grandmother died, Teresa moved back to the reserve with her parents. She had a hard time fitting in but with the help and support of her many cousins, she was accepted.
Teresa attended Conestoga College and became a Personal Support worker after graduation. While raising her two daughters, she went back to University. She met and married her husband and relocated to Fort McMurray. They both found jobs with ATC (Athabasca Tribal Council) and developed an Employment Training Program, soon after they branched out to the Paudash Group – where she worked with Indigenous People in the area and helped them become employment ready. Teresa found her passion in helping others and loves to work with youth and adults.
Teresa became active in the Nistawoyou Friendship Centre as she recognized its potential for being a hub for all aboriginal people and for the community as a whole. Teresa worked hard to make the Nistawoyou inviting for everyone, for example the homeless who come in to get food and to feel welcome. To Teresa, the relationships built with people and other organizations can only make life easier for those in need. The Friendship Centre became a great source of pride for Teresa and after the fire and evacuation, she and her staff worked to make it a port of re-entry, a distribution centre, a place to host the Red Cross efforts. Whether it was hosting barbeques and partnering with the Metis Local 1935 to house their Youth Summer Employment Program. Teresa loves the challenge. She is a source of inspiration and a positive mentor to the staff and to everyone who walks in the door. She thrives on helping people in a concrete and hands on fashion. Promoting youth and her culture are what keep her going despite losing her home to the fire and dealing with her husbands’ health issues. The Strengthening the Next Generation Program, tutoring, arts and crafts and even chess run weekly at the Nistawoyou Friendship Centre. Getting involved and helping others and making a difference in lives is part of her core beliefs. Being a part of a great organization and building on its community impact has been a privilege for Teresa. Honouring her culture through programs such as vigils for Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women, promoting the Moose hide Campaign, sharing Aboriginal culture and traditions with people from all backgrounds are Teresa’ s mission. She has shown genuine leadership and compassion and strives to be an example of what can be accomplished if you try hard, never give up and care for others.
Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude will honour Teresa Nahwegahbow-Daynes and 11 other nominees, at the Women of Inspiration Celebration which will take place in June, 2018.
The Women of Inspiration is a partnership between Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and Syncrude, with a goal to recognize women throughout the Wood Buffalo region who inspire others, break new ground or old barriers and help create change. The series also aims to show local girls positive role models who live right here.
To nominate a woman of inspiration, please visit our website at www.girlsincofnorthernalberta.org or contact the Girls Inc. office at 780-790-9236.
For more information, please contact:
Executive Director – Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta