By Nitz E. Nicolas
We call her “Ma’am Goody.”
Mrs. Goodwill Ameland Yap Mercado is the new chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI). She was elected to the position last April 12, 2016.
In an interview, I asked Ma’am Goody about the etymology of her unique name. She told me it was tied to the year she was born—1945.
It was the year Americans landed in the Philippines to drive away the Japanese invaders. They came, her parents—the Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Jose Yap—believe, to bring “goodwill to the Filipino people.” Hence, the name.
“Nitz,” she confessed to me, “it is hard to have a name like Goodwill. Everybody expects me to be good all the time.”
She said, “as if it was not enough that I am a pastor’s kid.” Her father was a minister of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC) and a former General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP).
She came across KKFI when she was still a nursing student of Mary Johnston School of Nursing, Philippine Christian University (PCU). Her first impression was that it was a left-leaning institution. But that changed soon enough when Ms. Remedios Santiago, former dean of Mary Johnston, explained to her that KKFI was the social arm of the United Methodist Church that minister to disadvantaged children, youth and older persons.
MAKING IT HAPPEN. Mrs. Goody Y. Mercado (in the middle), newly installed chairperson of the KKFI Board of Trustees, receives a check from another Board member, Atty. Armando Suratos, while KKFI Executive Director Nancy C. Nicolas looks on. The check was for the Bishop La Verne and Nellie Mercado scholarship fund, the management of which was turned over to KKFI after the recent demise of Mrs. Nellie Mercado, a long-time member of the KKFI Board and former executive director. “We must make this happen to better serve… KKFI’s partners, constituents and beneficiaries,” said Mrs. Goody Mercado. (Photo by Glenda B. Gutierrez/KKFI)
It was Dr. Betty I. Molina, former dean of Social Work at PCU, invited her to be a member of KKFI. Ma’am Goody was eventually elected to be a member of the Board of Trustees functioning as Assistant Treasurer.
When the Treasurer, the much-revered Mrs. Nellie Mercado, died last January, Ma’am Goody became the Treasurer. However, she would give this post up three months after when she was elected as the new chairperson of the Board of Trustees of KKFI.
“One of the challenges that face KKFI is to make her known both locally and internationally,” she said when asked about her plans for the Foundation. “We should step up our media promotion.”
She also plans to write to the three UMC bishops to push for an annual observance of KKFI Sunday in United Methodist Churches throughout the country.
She said she also wants to see a stronger scholarship program and modern infrastructures inside the KKFI Compound on P. Paredes street in Sampaloc, Manila.
“We must make this happen to better serve not only the residents, reviewees, trainees, tenants and other users, but also KKFI’s partners, constituents and beneficiaries,” she explained. Ma’am Goody is determined to achieve all these “in the next 5-10 years.”
She confessed that the road ahead is not easy, but she is determined “to make the KKFI ministries transform the lives of the disadvantaged children and youth and the community they live in.”
Her proposed formula for success? Follow John Wesley’s Christian principle of basic living:
“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever… YOU CAN!”
Mrs. Goodwill Mercado became a widow at 49 when her husband, Dominador Abellera Mercado, passed away at age 55. They met while still studying at the Philippine Christian University, fell in love, married and had three children (two boys and a girl), who are now all professionals. Both the eldest and the youngest are living in the United States, while the middle son is in the Philippines. Mrs. Mercado has eight grandchildren).