Good Deal: Evan Goes to the Capitol
The following is an article featuring GCDD's Council member Evan Nodvin in "Your Tools for Living," a publication of Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta.
To read the article in the Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta publication, CLICK HERE.
Good Deal: Evan Goes to the Capitol
Your Tools for Living," a publication of Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta
Feb. 21 was a big day for Evan Nodvin. It was Disability Day at the Georgia State Capitol, one of the largest public gatherings held each year during the General Assembly. Evan, a client of the Zimmerman-Horowitz Independent Living (Z-H ILP) and BizWORKS, was selected to introduce Gov. Nathan Deal before he addressed the crowd. Both programs are part of the Developmental Disabilities Services - Tools for Independence (TFI) division.
The goal of the annual rally is to focus attention on the number of Georgians who have a disability and to push legislators to consider them when making public policy. Evan, who has Down syndrome, is one of seven adults with a developmental disability serving on the 27-member board of the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities.
"This is really about Evan being a self-advocate. He likes to speak up, and the others on the board must have seen that," said his mom, Janice Nodvin. Janice is Program Director for Innovative Solutions for Disadvantage and Disability (ISDD). "He was very comfortable and confident up there. He would not be that way if it wasn't for JF&CS and a devoted family."
For the past 13 years, Evan, who is 34, has worked as a kitchen assistant at the Weinstein Senior Adult Day Center. During that time, JF&CS has provided job coaching to him through BizWORKS. Without it, his life wouldn't be the same, said Janice. The supports JF&CS provides through Z-HILP and BizWORKS are paid through the Medicaid Waiver program.
"Without them, work would be challenging and living independently in an apartment with a roommate, just like any other man, would be difficult," she said.
Evan takes pride in his work, said his job coach Rachel Miller, the Coordinator of Vocational Services in TFI.
"Evan enjoys assisting the participants and spending time with them," she said. "He is dependable and reliable, and comes to work with a smile, ready to tackle the day."
Like other single men, Evan grocery shops, cooks, cleans his apartment, pays bills and manages a check book. He plays music, bowls, does yoga, lifts weights and performs with Habima Theater. He votes, is active in his synagogue and elsewhere in the community and donates to various organizations. He has a very active social life that includes his girlfriend of more than 15 years, who also receives support from JF&CS.
"I am proud of my abilities," Evan said. "My parents are happy to see me living my dreams. They tell me that these are their dreams, too."
Janice credits JF&CS. "Evan could not be the person he is without JF&CS' support."
In addition to Rachel, he spends time each day with Jean Maitre, a personal consultant from Z-H ILP who helps him with afternoon activities and assists him at home.
"My message to other parents is this: let your adults with a disability go. Get them out of the nest. The worst thing that could happen is they fall, but they'll get back up. We have to let our children be the adults
they can be. That's one of the things JF&CS is all about," said Janice. "Evan needs to be as much an individual and independent man as possible. JF&CS helps him do that."