Written by Phil Cerroni
By Elaine Paniszczyn
Growing up next-to-the-youngest in a family with eight children, Rahfekia Evans learned to share, and she is passing that tradition to her two boys. The tradition earned her a PTA Lifetime Member Award from Barbara Bush Middle School in February. The award is given to acknowledge individuals who provide extraordinary support to the students and school through their dedicated efforts.
“You pay it forward,” Evans said. “My parents (George and Mary Evans of Abilene) believed in giving back. With eight kids, we didn’t have a whole lot. We had to share with each other. I learned from my mom and my dad. My mom used to have neighbors come over, and she and my dad would feed them.
“I’d say, ‘Why are you feeding people when you’re still got to feed the eight of us?’ Still today, she’ll go and sit with the elderly. That’s her thing. She’s 68, but she’ll go sit with somebody who’s 80 or 90 years old, or she’ll take them to the store.
“When I was in high school and my mom was in her late 40’s/early 50’s, she used to take this lady who was about 70 to get her food. (My mom) would go clean her house. She didn’t want money from the lady or anything. She would always tell us, “You’ve got to take care of the elderly.”
Evans says her “thing” is volunteering in the community.
Evans said she is raising her boys, Anthony Moore (14), a freshman at Ranchview High School, and Jalen Moore (12) in eighth grade at Barbara Bush Middle School, the same way her parents raised her. She tells her boys that they have to give back.
“You never know what predicament you may be in,” Evans said. “I remember when I didn’t have money. I had brothers and sisters that took care of me, but (help) would have been available if I hadn’t had them.”
Dec. 19, Jalen and his mother collected and counted toys as Santa’s Helpers at WFAA’s station in Victory Park. Anthony was home, studying for finals.
“I’m used to (volunteer work),” said Jalen who also stays busy with schoolwork, basketball and track. “It’s my third year here (volunteering for Santa’s Helpers), and I’m used to community service. It makes me feel good to help other families that are in need.”
Sat., Dec. 15, Jalen and Anthony worked at Shared Housing in Deep Ellum in Dallas with the Alpha Merit Program, part of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
“They mentor boys,” Evans said. “I’m a single parent, and I wanted my boys to have mentors, and they have the boys do community service. (Saturday) they fed families and gave them gifts, toys and turkeys. For Thanksgiving, they fed eight families.”
Evans and her sons moved to the area five years ago from Houston.
At a PTA meeting at Bush Middle School, Evans heard they needed somebody to run the concession stands. Since she had volunteered in concessions at Cowboys stadium to help SELECT Soccer parents with their fees, she volunteered to help. PTA leaders saw Evans knew what she was doing.
“Then, all of a sudden, I got in charge of it,” she said.
She is chairman of the concessions committee for Bush Middle School and serves on the PTA board. At Ranchview High School, she helps with concessions for the swim team. Her older son Anthony (14) is on the team. At Bush, concessions fund grants for teachers.
Evans continues to look for ways to serve the community. This year, she also raised money for March of Dimes and United Way.
“I was able to get $575 worth of items donated for our United Way silent auction at work,” Evans said. She is a sales representative for FedEx where she gets to work at 7 a.m. and gets off at 4:30 p.m. so she can be home with her boys.
“Everybody tells me I should mentor girls, but right now I’m mainly interested in finding mentors for boys,” Evans said. “Especially with a single mom, (boys) need to see a positive role model on a continuous basis. I need to start my own mentor group for single moms who are looking for positive mentors for their boys, so I’m looking at what I need to do to get that started. That’s one of my goals for the next three years.
“I learned this from my parents: Don’t turn your back on someone in need, and be willing to give your time to help others. I am a very blessed woman to have my sons, wonderful parents, and my seven brothers and sisters.”