“ It comes down to this for me when working with at-risk children: None of us get to choose where we are born, but we can either let that define who we are and what will be our future, or we can let it be a building block that just becomes the first step into our future.” – Evangeline (Van) DeVol
Van studied Literature and History in Oxford, England and then attended the Teaching College at the University of London. Her first teaching experience was in an area of London called Brixton which was home to low-income and immigrant families.
When she came to the United States and received her American teaching credentials from the University of Maryland, she began teaching in Prince Georges County near the District of Columbia. All the students she worked with were from low income homes with many families struggling with addiction and crime.
Van moved to the Cincinnati area in 1989 and Loveland has been her home ever since. In 1997, after her youngest child was well established in school, she once again returned to teaching and got a job teaching in inner city Cincinnati. In 2014, Van decided to step out of the classroom and became the Education Administrator for the Friars Boys and Girls Club. In addition to traveling to schools each day to help students with their homework as part of the Friars after-school sports program, she ran a homework and tutoring program in the evening at the Friars’ facility on Vine Street.
In October 2015 her idea of the NEST Community Learning Center was conceived and in the Spring of 2016, with a ton of encouragement from friends, she resigned from her job with the Friars Boys and Girls Club and began to work toward making her idea a reality.