GCDD Council Member Evan Nodvin Lives Life on His Own Terms

Evan Nodvin is 43, he lives in an apartment in Atlanta, works at Canterbury Court retirement community in Buckhead, and loves to watch University of Georgia sports. “Go Dawgs!”

Nodvin, who has Down syndrome, was born and raised in Atlanta, graduating in 2000 from Chamblee High School. “When I graduated in 2000, I started working at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. I worked there for 20 years. I worked in the gym and at the front desk.”

He was furloughed from the Marcus Center during COVID. In his current job at Canterbury Court, Nodvin works in the kitchens and dining rooms.

Nodvin, a percussionist, began playing drums in marching band in school. He still enjoys playing drums. “I have a snare drum and top hat at my mom’s house.” Marching band is also where he first met his girlfriend when they were 13. They went to senior prom together.

“People with Down syndrome are special. I’m just like everybody else,” said Nodvin. “I just need more help. Andrew supports me as a job coach and caregiver and takes me to activities. My family supports me too. They’re always here for me, but I also take care of myself on my own. I’m very independent. I can walk to my parent’s house from my apartment alone.”

Nodvin has a very busy schedule where he spends time with friends and family, takes classes, and is involved in other activities. “And I like to spend time with my girlfriend.” He takes classes on Judaism and works out with a personal trainer. Nodvin was a competitive power lifter and competed in the Special Olympics. He also takes acting classes with Jerry’s Habima Theatre, an inclusive theater featuring actors with disabilities, and is preparing to audition for Cinderella.

“I love my family very much and my girlfriend too. I am passionate about my friends and community and being independent in the community. I see my parents on Fridays and stay with them on the weekends.”

Nodvin is also active in advocacy. Since 2013, he has served as a Council Member for the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD). He travels the state to meet with advocates and speaks at events. He met Governor Nathan Deal at an event before the pandemic.

“Advocacy runs in my family,” said Nodvin. “My favorite thing about advocacy is talking to people, giving speeches, and going to the state capitol.”

Nodvin got involved in advocacy with his parents and three older sisters when he was young..

Nodvin’s mother was inspired to get involved in advocacy when he was born. Doctors told her that he would not live past 12 years old and suggested they place him in an institution. His parents said no, and he was raised at home.

She became a parent advocate and got involved as an advocate in several policy and community groups. One of his sisters is a disability advocacy attorney and another is a special education teacher.

Speaking in 2019 to the West Virginia Partners in Policymaking, Nodvin said “My parents and family are happy to see me living my dreams. They tell me that these are their dreams, too. They have worked very hard to make things happen for me and others by volunteering, advocating, and working for people with disabilities.”

Nodvin looks forward to continuing to live an independent life. He is a recipient of a Medicaid waiver—something more than 7000 Georgians are waiting for—that allows him to receive support in his community.

Nodvin said in 2019, “I know it is important for all of us to tell our stories to those who make the laws. Our future can be bright—for all people to equally live, work, and play in their communities.”