It is hard to find a part of The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers that did not benefit from Shay Seaborne’s energy, commitment, expertise, and sense of humor during the decade she served as a key volunteer. Seaborne became involved with VaHomeschoolers in 1998 after asking for a representative to speak at the local homeschool support group she founded in Prince William County. She was so impressed that she began to volunteer almost immediately. She quickly became the group’s “PR Committee.” In 2002, Seaborne began the first of her three terms on the VaHomeschoolers board of directors. She served for six years, including as president from 2004 to 2007. Intent on dispelling the myth that homeschoolers are all of one mind, she also began to advocate for homeschooling by speaking to the media, candidates for public office and elected officials at both the state and local levels.

Shay began homeschooling in 1995, having chosen this educational option after reading a brief article about it in The Mother Earth News about 10 years before the birth of her first child. She so enjoyed being with and learning from her young daughters that she “saw no reason to turn them over to someone else for most of the day, just because they had reached ‘school age.’” Homeschooling afforded her and her daughters “the ability to live a hand-made lifestyle,” and provided her children “the luxury of learning what interests them, always free to respond to their heart’s yearning for truth and knowledge, whenever they felt the spark of desire to learn.”

Since leaving the VaHomeschoolers board, Shay has re-entered the workforce. Like most who volunteer, Shay joined the ranks of The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers in order to help others; however, she said she never imagined what she would receive. “I believe this ‘unpaid’ work actually paid me back in numerous ways, by offering me the opportunity to find and create my own place in the homeschool community, through providing contact with people who became great friends and supporters, by strengthening my ability to stand up for myself, and in giving me the chance to cultivate job skills and community contacts that lead me into the next phase of my life. VaHomeschoolers gave me life-changing opportunities, and for that I am ever grateful.”