Wednesday, June 2, 2021
When he was about 5 years old, Dillan Evan's mother sat him down and talked to him about the importance of community service.
"My mother (said), 'Be the change you want to see in the world,'" Evans recalls. "She always told me that it was important to give back to the community."
His mother then took him to the local Salvation Army to volunteer with Toys for Tots, helping to distribute toys to needy children. He continued to volunteer there for the next few Christmas seasons.
Since that first year, Evans has given much of his free time to serving others. He has spent time at local shelters handing out blankets, clothing and food; parking cars and guiding traffic; preparing meals in a cafeteria ministry; and aiding KidsLife, a youth ministry at Word of Life church. Alongside peers in the Central Mississippi Kappa League, he helped organize clothing and items at area Goodwill locations.
Evans, who is interested in science, technology, engineering and math, plans to attend Hinds Community College in Utica's STEM-UP program as the first step towards a degree in software engineering. He spent last summer working with a technology STEM camp for elementary and middle-school age students on the campus of Jackson State University teaching coding. Evans says that giving to others brings him joy.
"I feel like I am at my best and I am most excited when I get to help other people," he declares. "I have always been a people person. I would provide for other people before I provided for myself. I've always wanted to help people in any way that I could. It makes me happy to be able to volunteer and help others."
The Callaway High School 2021 graduate has recorded more than 2,000 volunteer hours for the Jackson Public School district. During the city's recent water crisis, Evans collected cases of water to distribute to school district students and families. He has conducted a workshop at Michelle Obama Early College High School giving teachers one-on-one instruction on Microsoft Office, Zoom and other learning platforms.
The 18-year-old also recently helped at the school's ACT Bootcamp helping to set up and sanitize the space and providing technology support.
His commitment to helping his school district stems from his belief that there is immense potential in the city.
"I believe that Jackson is a great place and that we really do have so much unused potential," Evans says. "I believe that if one of us gets started that it will start a boomerang effect."