By DeeDee Sauter
“Bottom line– No excuses, just do it!”
Volunteers are the backbone to countless organizations. Without the steady influx of the energy and time of those dedicated to their cause, many of these groups, who exist to serve, would not be able to function. Every one of these volunteers is valuable, but some consistently shine, year after year, making them indispensable to the team.
Duane Nathaniel is one of those hard-working people whose yearly efforts contribute to the success of the Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers annual conference. With the support of his company, Kalani Consulting, Inc. (KCI), Duane has provided all of the signs that guide us throughout the conference venue since 2010. He facilitates not only the creation of the signs but their strategic placement around the venue, guaranteeing attendees can find their way to sessions,exhibit halls and family programming.
Well before his integral assistance with the behind-the-scenes conference activities, he started as an onlooker in his daughters’ home education, which wasinitiated by his wife’s vision. His involvement was slow, but he is now fully vested in their success. “For my children, homeschooling and the associated activities such as conference have been a vital component of their life experience.” As Duane’s family continues in the homeschool environment, he has “grown to become more involved and more of an advocate than just an observer.”
It has been a natural progression for the family who schools together to volunteer together. In addition to being the “Signs Guy”, he has facilitated the procurement of projectors for presentations, and his company provided scholarships specifically for homeschool students in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Since the conference has been held at Glen Allen, KCI has also provided small gifts for the participants in both the Talent Show and the Arts display for many years.
Between his involvement with The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers, supporting his children with their academic goals and his business, there is little time for anything else. When he does find a few spare minutes in which he can use his of creative energy, he “loves to cook interesting meals.” He is a strong combination of academic skills and extracurricular activities.
Duane has advice for those who are looking for opportunities to give back to the homeschooling community.
”Just contact the Organization and let them know you are interested. They will get back in touch and can help you work out the details of what you may want to do and try to match that to what they need. Bottom line – No Excuses, Just Do It!”
His energy and support is infectious.
And for those who have an interest in signage, he has the perfect position for you. Because of Duane’s vision, dedication and support of homeschooling, he has been able to take one aspect of the annual conference and improve it to a professional level. Duane is ”interested in working with someone to take over the role as The Sign Guy (or Guyette?) and allow him to do something else to support the Conference.”
“We have moved many of the signs from foam core, which was more fragile and showed signs of wear more quickly, to plastic corrugated material which stands up to re-use better. We also upped the level of the quality of the signs in terms of professionalism by using materials which make the signage look crisper. We have also added many more directional signs which aids in the traffic flow through the Center.”
As with any homeschool parent, Duane Nathaniel has multiple roles. Supporting his daughters’ educational needs by assisting the organization that consistently supports the rights of all homeschoolers is just one way of efficiently multi-tasking.
Fathers may usually be quietly supportive in the background, but Duane Nathaniel is an example of a dad who has been able to combine his skills and passion to help other families across the Commonwealth.