David Buchanan began teaching special education classes in Habersham County in 1980 and has since continued to be an exceptional volunteer. While working with the children, he recognized the difference that bringing the Special Olympics back to Habersham and White Counties would make so he assisted in the revitalization of the games in these counties. Buchanan coaches a basketball team, relay teams and mile runners. He also transports Olympians to district and state games at his own expense.
In addition, Buchanan helped to establish a weeklong day camp for the mildly mentally handicapped. This camp is open to youth who are in junior high and high school. It has been held during the summer for the past eight years, and it a success. Buchanan communicated with various clubs and businesses to promote the camp. He also solicited monetary donations and food donations for the campers.
In August of 2000, Buchanan began teaching the Related Vocation Instruction (RVI) class at Habersham Central High School. He feels these children should have a chance to lead a productive life, and he works to ensure that those in Habersham County do. He volunteers his time to prepare the students for their annual trip to Jekyll Island in April. At the state RVI camp on the island, the campers use their talents to compete with other disabled students to win state awards. Buchanan goes with the campers each year and pays his own way. This year he was voted to be a member of the State RVI Board.
Buchanan has served in many other capacities. This past June, he assisted one of his students and her date to get to their prom and took them out to eat afterward. He has also counseled one boy who was experiencing family problems and assisted a family who was having difficulty finding health care for their daughter.
Because of his role as a teacher of those with special needs, Buchanan sees where his volunteering can benefit this group. He works very hard to instill a sense of pride and self-esteem in his students. Buchanan builds strong bonds with his students because of all the time he spends with them “off the clock” and because they know he genuinely cares.