Yevola S. Peters, 86, is a purpose-driven trailblazer who has been recognized for making Annapolis a better place yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The African American changemaker who resides in Annapolis will be saying farewell to her longtime residence, soon.
Along with her husband and young son, Peters established her roots in Anne Arundel County in 1963, according to comments she provided in a video published by The Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County (CFAAC). She served as the former Chief Executive Officer of the Community Action Agency from 1975-1991 and 2001-2005. Additionally, Peters’ LinkedIn account provides details chronicling a nearly 10-year period teaching music in Kent, Howard, and Anne Arundel counties. The community leader received the Carroll H. Hyson, Jr. Award for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in 2020.
“I ask each person within the community to look at their strengths and their talents and their abilities they have and share them,” Peters also said in the CFAAC video.
During her journey, Peters shared her talents by serving with three county executives, John Leopold, Laura Neuman, and Steven Schuh. Other accomplishments which are attributed to Peters include becoming a founding board member of the Anne Arundel Conflict Resolution Center, founding strategy team member of Anne Arundel Connecting Together (ACT), and a founder of the St. Philip’s Family Life Center, Inc. Peters—who is a committed member of St. Philip’s church— even began a youth choir there. Since a plethora of contributions are credited to a woman who is unafraid to nurture others in need, it is no surprise why Peters became Annapolis’ first African American woman to have a street called Yevola S Peters Way named after her.
Rita Dorsey-Washington is an Annapolitan who works as the Resident Service Coordinator for Woodside Gardens Apartments. She also serves as the president of Newtowne Community Development Corporation (NCDC). This nonprofit writes all the grants to fund Woodside Gardens Apartment’s programming. Additionally, NCDC collaborates with the Residents Service Coordinator. Peters and Dorsey-Washington work hand in hand, since Peters currently serves as the executive director of Newtowne Community Development Corporation. The organization provides Annapolis-based youth with resources such as after-school and summer programs, a food pantry, and career center.
“Mrs. Yevola is a wealth of wisdom,” Dorsey-Washington said, while describing Peters. “Mrs. Yevola was able to secure grant funding for two community centers. One which is named in her honor (is) the Yevola Peters Community Center.”
Dorsey-Washington mentioned that Peters has brought programming to the community. She also has an opportunity to learn from her and noted how Peters has mentored others to become more confident in what they do. As Peters gears up to relocate with her family to reside in Virginia Beach, Dorsey reflects on methods of continuing Peters’ positive impact, some of which includes staying connected by Zoom.
“I know some shoes can’t be filled, but as we follow behind Mrs. Peters, we are following in her words of wisdom, the tips, tools and all the things we will need to be successful in continuing the work she has done and (is) doing within the community,” Dorsey-Washington said.
She is scheduled to speak briefly about Peters during a public event called “Yevola Peters Past, Present & Forever.” The event will be held on Sunday, May 22, 2022 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, located at 730 Bestgate Rd. in Annapolis, Md. to pay tribute to Peters.
Dorsey-Washington said that she wants people to attend the tribute which will include a drive-by car parade, singers, other speakers, and the City of Annapolis’ Presentation of Key to the City. While mentioning Peters’ impact, Dorsey-Washington reminded that Peters endured living through racism, when she first arrived in Annapolis. The relentless pioneer was still able to become a blessing to others through providing decades of leadership.
“Mrs. Peters deserves to be honored for her work,” Dorsey-Washington said. “The name Yevola Peters will still be here long after she is gone.”
Please click here to learn more details about the upcoming celebration.