An audio interview with Van DeVol,
Founder, Executive Director of NEST
By Chuck Gibson
LOVELAND, OH (November 19, 2022) – We’ve all heard of The Perfect Storm: A dramatic biographical film released in 2000 based on the true story of a fishing vessel named Andrea Gail lost in the Atlantic with all hands when caught in the combination of a nor’easter, Hurricane Grace and a cyclone – The Perfect Storm.
Loveland-based NEST Community Learning Center, the brainchild of Evangeline (Van) DeVol, is in its seventh year serving poverty-stricken area youth. Their success in helping children overcome the most difficult living situations has been well documented. Just this week NEST was recognized with the “First Responders Award” for their work with the kids during the Little Miami River Chamber Alliance Business Award Banquet Thursday, November 17, 2022.
Their programs to provide Nutrition, Education, Safe environment creating Transformation (NEST) helped close the gap in fundamental education skills of reading, writing and arithmetic. Measurable steps forward were being made with the help of volunteer tutors including teachers, fellow students, parents and others. Yes, they helped close the gap. . . until the Perfect Storm arrived.
The COVID-19 pandemic came during winter 2020, schools closed, the virtual classroom took the place of in person learning. Kids in poverty were left at home; too frequently in an unsafe environment and certainly not a situation good for learning. They were left behind, academically, emotionally and socially. Schools reopened revealing a larger gap than ever for the students in poverty. Van DeVol and the NEST volunteers saw it first-hand. They know the struggles these kids face. The odds are against them. Their life has been a line of storms, coming wave after wave. COVID was like Hurricane Grace and the cyclone mixing with the nor’easter to overwhelm the Andrea Gail and her crew in an angry Atlantic Sea. That story, that book, the film The Perfect Storm did not have a happy ending. Van DeVol has a vision for NEST in collaboration with other organizations to pool their resources and help navigate the “Children of the Perfect Storm” into calm waters where they can write their own happy ending.
For Van DeVol, it’s a calling. She sat down with Loveland Beacon on Tuesday, November 15, to share her vision for NEST to help save the “Children of the Perfect Storm”.
Here is the link to Van DeVol talking about the NEST “Children of the Perfect Storm” program: (Run time: approx. 25 minutes)
CLICK HERE to listen via YouTube.
If the link fails, go to: https://youtu.be/5zuRBgFGwD8