Adopting a lifelong purpose to help others
Barlow High School student uses his talents to pay kindness forward
Sixteen year-old Everett Davis has a big heart.
The trouble is he cant decide where it belongs.
I dont think people care enough about each other, Everett said. We could all do so much more. Every little thing I do makes me want to do more.
Everett is a tall drink of water, with soulful eyes that hint at the depth of his compassion for others. He recognizes that the ability to inspire people travels many different roads and doesnt necessarily need to be done in grand measures. Humble and unassuming, Everett gets it that simply listening, mentoring or stepping up when others walk away can make a lasting impact on someones life.
The Barlow High School junior possesses a varied toolbox of talents. He teaches music to special-needs kids, instructs youngsters in tae kwon do at the Martial Arts Fitness Center in Gresham and recently coordinated a summer camp at the Springwater Church of the Nazarene. He is a 4.0 student, a member of the National Honor Society, Barlows Key Club, choir and theater group, and hopes to run track in the spring.
Born in Portland and raised in Gresham, Everett is the son of Gordon and Judy Davis. His awareness of the needs in the world around him developed at an early age, according to his mom, after a trip to the zoo as a kindergartner.
On the bus coming home, all the other kids were wound up and making animal noises, but the animals needs really bothered Everett, Judy said. He came home and looked around and said, We could buy a bunch of land and let the animals live here. He is always looking for a purpose.
Everett may have been unsuccessful in transplanting an elephant or rhino to his familys backyard in rural Gresham, but he does share quarters with two cats, a dog and a goat all rescue animals.
As an active member in the Springwater Church of the Nazarenes youth group, Everett started helping with Sunday school classes while in the eighth grade. He wasnt old enough to teach, he said, but felt compelled to get involved anyway. He counts the churchs former youth pastor, Robby Green, as one of the more influential people in his life.
(Robby) could talk to anyone and make them feel like they mattered, Everett said. He worked with a lot of people who did drugs or alcohol and helped them work through their problems. I saw the difference that made and thought I wanted to do that too.
In the summer of 2012, Everett volunteered at his churchs summer camp for kids. He helped with games and activities, designed for the kindergarten through fifth-grade crowd.
But news the church would cancel the annual event this summer didnt sit well with him.
There werent any funds, the youth director had left and everybody said, Oh thats too much work, Everett said. The church elders werent interested at first, but I decided I had do something.
Everett put the word out that camp would be held the week of Aug. 19-23. He asked for donations and, despite initial opposition from church elders, forged ahead recruiting friends as volunteers and planning activities.
I asked for donations of food, and somehow everybody thought that meant cookies, he said, laughing. We had a lot of cookies! One church member is a teacher. She donated a lot of craft supplies and taught craft classes. In the end, the church elders supported us, so camp wouldnt have happened without them.
The venture was so successful that expanding the event to two weeks next summer is already under discussion. Everett admits that managing all the details, from volunteers to programming, for a weeklong event was a bigger bite than he anticipated.
Im good at making things happen, but Id rather be involved with the kids, he said.
Everett is a self-taught musician whose proficiency extends from the piano to the trumpet and ukulele. Currently, he tutors two children on the piano, both of whom have learning disabilities. He holds a second-degree black belt in tae kwon do and has been helping younger students earn their belts for two years. But Everett admits that sometimes his enthusiasm to do everything gets the better of him. He credits his tae kwon do training for helping him make peace with the inevitable limitations in life.
If I could ignore the rules and do whatever I wanted to do, everything would be a lot more fun, he said. But tae kwon do has taught me to respect boundaries and rules.
Everetts future career path is undefined at the moment he vacillates between teaching and movie production but he wants his lifes work to have meaning. In a perfect world, he said, community members would take care of each other. But for now, hes intent on being the pebble in the pond, making a difference one ripple at a time.
Its just a feeling like when your life has been touched by something someone has done for you, Everett said. I want to give back what Ive gotten from my role models. I want to pay it forward and inspire other people.
Recognize a local student
Shining Star is a monthly feature that recognizes local students quietly doing great things in the community. Outlook readers, parents and teachers are encouraged to tell us about a student of any age whose talents outside the academic arena are making our world a better place. Do they volunteer regularly at a retirement center? Have they taught an artistic practice to a youth group? What are they doing in the community that makes us proud to call them our neighbor?
Tell us about a Shining Star you know by contacting Anne Endicott at 503-492-5118 or via email at email@example.com.Add a comment