Evan Eusebio for Mayor?
Villa Park City Council – August 27, 2019
On August 27, 2019, Evan and I had the opportunity to speak in front of the Villa Park City Council at their monthly meeting. This meeting was extra special because my family (“The Ota’s”) has been a part of the Villa Park community since 1977 (that is 42 years)!
Villa Park is a small community, set on 2.1 square miles…there are NO parks, NO street lights, and it has a special charm and a family like feeling. Growing up, I have fond memories of riding bikes with friends down to the Villa Park Pharmacy to spend our entire allowance on what used to be their EXTENSIVE candy section (jolly rancher sticks were one of my favorites to buy!)
So, when Villa Park Councilwoman Crystal Miles extended an invitation to share about Eviedoodles Kitchen and Evan’s baking adventures, we, of course, said ABSOLUTELY! We always jump at any chance we get talk about Evan, cupcakes and a u t i s m!
Speaking at events is always a little stressful and here is where Evan’s a u t i s m tends to rear its head. Evan doesn’t really mind the public speaking part, but just processing being in a new place with lots of new faces is sometimes a lot for him to take in. I’ve mentioned before that Evan is a homebody and likes routine, so anything out of our usual norm is usually a challenge. We arrived early so Evan could get “situated” and “comfortable” in the new setting. There were bright lights, paintings and pictures on the wall and lots of people. I could tell Evan felt a little uncomfortable in the unfamiliar setting and as I heard him start muttering under his breath that he wanted to go home, back to his safe place.
Before the meeting started, Villa Park Mayor, Vince Rossini, graciously introduced himself and presented Evan with the official Villa Park city pin. Evan thought he was being given the pin to actually wear and he is scared of wearing anything with a pin because he has anxiety it will prick him. So, instead of understanding he could accept the gift and not wear it, I could see stress cross Evan’s face and much to my dismay, Evan tried to politely decline the gift (just picture the look of horror on my face as this unfolded…ha ha ha)! Once I explained to Evan that he could take the special pin home and put it on his memento shelf, he was okay with it. In fact, once we got home, he kept telling me over and over, “Mayor Vince is so nice!”
Once the meeting got started, we received a wonderful introduction from Councilwoman Miles. As we made our way up to the podium to speak, I looked out and saw the parents of my elementary and junior high school best friend, Heather! Wow! I mean, double WOW! I had not seen her parents in probably 30 plus years! As Evan spoke and told everyone that one of his goals was to be able to sell cupcakes “all over the world”, I could literally see how Evan’s words were touching the hearts of each person in that room. It was at that moment that I realized, even if a u t i s m seems like such an obstacle much of the time, a u t i s m has also been something that has opened doors, created relationships and through a u t i s m my eyes have been opened to see that there are truly amazing and wonderful people out there who are creating a better world for people like Evan to live in. As Evan finished up his speech, I found myself tearing up and realizing that as much work as it takes to help Evan prepare for events like this, it is worth every second.
We have attached a short video clip of some of the highlights of the meeting. Our neighbor…talented, up and coming film maker, 17 year old, Zachary Shenouda, shot and edited it for us. Thanks Zach!