When asked to think about servant leaders in my region, the first person who came to mind is Dave Evans, a hero of mine for decades. Dave is the co-founder of Winton Place Youth Center that provides after-school programming for children in the Spring Grove Village neighborhood of Cincinnati. This center has enriched the lives of so many for the last 40 years. Dave has also served with La Amistad which provides housing for Central American immigrants and refugees. He serves with the Village Development Corporation, renovating houses and improving the neighborhood, AND with VillageWorks—planning and implementing neighborhood activities.
Yet that’s not all! Dave, an IVC Service Corps Member since 2013, lives and volunteers at St. Bernard’s Parish in Cincinnati. In addition to his IVC work, he’s served as Parish Council President and is on the Futures Committee, Greeters Team, and Fundraising Committee.
When asked about what service he’s most grateful for, he doesn’t hesitate: “Winton Place Youth Center! Definitely, the hand of God working, some 40 years ago!” Dave owned the building in which the Youth Center started. “Folks kept asking me to rent it but I kept saying no. But they were persistent! So, I finally gave in and agreed to rent it. Their enthusiasm was contagious! I was hooked from the start! Even though I wasn’t married at the time and had no children of my own, I fell in love with these children. I ended up donating the space and becoming the principal fundraiser. The Youth Center was so successful, they outgrew my building, so I wrote a grant to buy and renovate a new one.”
Dave did marry and moved from the neighborhood, with his wife Carol and their daughter, Alissa. “Nine months after my wife died in 2012, I started praying about moving back to the neighborhood and being more involved with St. Bernard’s. The new pastor, Fr. Bob Thesing, SJ, started serving the parish but was living in the Jesuit community near Xavier, so they were looking for a suitable tenant and my name came up.” When Dave announced to the parish that he would be moving into the rectory, he jokingly said, “Give me a few weeks to get settled in and then I’ll start hearing confessions!”
Dave’s involvement with IVC came by attraction. He first volunteered to help us out as a tech guru. “Linda never pressured me to join, but I realized IVC was much more than just meetings. I knew I wanted to belong. I ended up getting involved! It didn’t come from a voice from God but just seemed like the right thing to do. Divine confirmation came later!”
Thank you, God, for drawing Dave into our IVC family and enriching our lives! Dave truly is a servant leader! We are blessed to honor Dave!
Linda Wihl, Regional Director Cincinnati/Northern KY