Why Going to Work for PDSSN IS So Important To Me

As a collegiate soccer coach, I was always much more comfortable sneaking up on teams as the unknown. It was important that our team always went out on the field and had more heart and a stronger work ethic than our opponents. If the team left the field achieving those two goals, I was a happy coach and felt like I did my job. We might not have been the most technically talented team but we were still going to wear our hearts on our sleeves and in a lot more cases than not, we were successful.

Over the past two years, the soccer student-athletes at Salem College were on the NCAA quinnDIII collegiate soccer map. Our little women’s college wasn’t sneaking up on anyone anymore. The team had become respected throughout the South and everybody knew it would be very hard to beat us. This was culminated this past season, as we went toe to toe with the 2015 national champions.

Since we were on the map, I needed to find some new avenues to spread awareness. That is how the man van was born. I was able to go out in the city I love, Winston-Salem, and try my hardest to spread awareness and raise funds for organizations throughout our city. Whether it was for a dog that needed a home, a hungry family, senior citizens, or the homeless, I was going to do whatever I could (with the help of many through my social media platforms) to help out those with needs.

During my man van project a hunger grew in me and I began to realize this was something that I wanted to do all the time. I also started to connect with an organization, Piedmont Down Syndrome Support Network (PDSSN), who I fell in love with. I knew that PDSSN had a hunger to grow and get their name out in the local community to help support all individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

The mission of PDSSN is to ensure these individuals in the Piedmont are valued, included, and given the opportunities to pursue the fulfilling lives that they deserve. Their aim is to enrich the lives of individuals with Down syndrome so they can reach their full potential. These individuals have heart-warming stories to share.

When I met with the board, I knew this was the organization I wanted to go to battle for. It felt like a perfect fit. Their goals fell in-line with a lot of what I had done through my man van project, and together it seemed like we could build on the past work PDSSN had pdssn full color - FDE000 Yellow - 0D539F Blue - Favoritedone by providing more support and information to families throughout the Piedmont. Luckily, the board felt the same way and hired me as their second Executive Director.

With my experience fighting for the unknown at Salem and spreading awareness with the man van, I look forward to embarking on this new adventure. We have several lofty goals that the members, the board, and I won’t be able to achieve on our own. I love Winston-Salemites because they go to battle for a good cause. I look forward to spreading the PDSSN’s story so Winston-Salemites can fall in love with the organization like I did and help me fight for PDSSN.

Read More About PDSSN By Clicking Here

Ryan Odom: Famous Winston-Salemites

Winston-Salem is one of the greatest small cities in the world. Famous Winston-Salemites will feature some accomplished people that lived in Winston-Salem and now have moved on to do great things. All of the questions will be about their time in the Twin City.

Ryan Odom quickly became a household name across the country this March as he led the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) to the biggest upsetryan3 in NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament history. The Retrievers became the first sixteenth seed to defeat a number one seed when they upset the University of Virginia 74-54 on March 15th in Charlotte.


The victory quickly placed Odom on the map nationally as one of the top basketball coaches in the country. Though his national prominence happened rapidly, Odom comes from a well-known basketball family and a lot of his basketball background came from his time growing up in Winston.

ryan4Odom first moved to Winston in 1976 when his father, Dave Odom, was an assistant for Wake Forest. After attending pre-school at First Christian, his family moved to Greenville, NC and then Charlottesville, VA while his dad was an assistant at East Carolina and Virginia. In 1989, the Odom’s moved back to Winston for his dad to become the head coach for the Demon Deacons.

While his dad was building Wake into a national powerhouse, Odom was making a name for himself as a guard for the R.J. Reynolds Demons. He played three years for Coach Howard West, before heading to Hampden Sydney where he served as a team captain and finished his career as the NCAA DIII program’s all-time three-point leader.

Odom spent time as an assistant at UNC-Charlotte, Virginia Tech, American, UNC-Asheville, and Furman from 1997-2015. In 2015, he was hired for his first head coaching ryan5job at Lenoir-Rhyne in Hickory, after being an interim head coach at UNCC the previous season. Odom led Lenoir-Rhyne to the NCAA DII Regional Finals for the first time ever.

He was hired at UMBC the following year (2016) and quickly turned the program around. The team won the 2018 America East Conference championship, which earned them a NCAA Tournament automatic bid and the chance for their historic win over UVA. Odom was quickly awarded by UMBC when ryan7he agreed in principle to contract amendments. The Retrievers and Odom were also honored in Annapolis by the Governor of Maryland.

Odom and his wife, Lucia, have two kids, Connor (16) and Owen (11). You can read a remarkable story about the family’s and Connor’s battle and success dealing with OCD by clicking here. His parents recently moved back to Winston, after Dave retired from coaching, and they live in Buena Vista.
Below Odom answers questions about his time in Winston-Salem:

Winston-Salem Questions

Where did you live in Winston?
I lived right off Country Club on Fairfax. I still consider Winston and Charlottesville home.


Who were some of your favorite teachers?
I loved both principals at RJR, Mr. Deaton and Mr. Elrod. I got a little bit of both worlds with those two. I had a great coach in Howard West, and a great mentor in my assistant coach, Mike Muse. Mrs. Deal was another favorite teacher of mine.

ryan9What are some of your favorite restaurants in Winston?
The Halfway House at Forsyth Country Club. I loved to go to the Soda Shop at Reynolda Village for a hot dog and orangeade. The Village Tavern was another favorite and BLL Rotisserie is a favorite of my parents.

Would you ever consider moving back to Winston? 
Yes, definitely. I love Winston. It has always been great to my family. It is a great spot.

Where is your favorite place to go in the NC mountains?
I loved Asheville when I coached there. My wife went to school at Appalachian State. We still love to go to Boone and to Blowing Rock.

What about your favorite NC beaches?
Our family goes to Emerald Isle. We also love spending time at Wrightsville and Figure Eight.

If you could get one right now, which would you choose: Krispy Kreme doughnut, Moravian sugar cake, or Bojangles biscuit?
I would get in trouble if I didn’t say a Krispy Kreme doughnut. I have a friend from up North that swears by Dunkin Doughnuts. We definitely take the title on that one though.

Did you ever go to Ziggy’s? If so, what was your favorite band to see there?
Absolutely. I used to love seeing Jackopierce there. My friend, John Kenneth Moser, and I used to go there to see them. It actually was named after a former Wake Forest ryan10basketball player, John ‘Ziggy’ Ziglinski.

What was your favorite game at Wake Forest when your dad was the coach?
It was when we beat Duke at the Joel. Duke and Grant Hill tried to run the same long pass play they ran against Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament, but it didn’t work. I think it was the first signature win for my dad at Wake.

Man Van Hikes From Hanging Rock To Pilot Mountain

On April 21st and 22nd, I will hike from Hanging Rock to Pilot Mountain, NC (36 miles) in 24 hours (one day) to give back to six Winston-Salem charities. I will raise money for UNchain Winston, City with Dwellings, Hope of Winston-Salem, Yadkin Riverkeeper, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Moji Coffee and More.

Follow my training progression and the hike on my Facebook page here: Jay Callahan Facebook or @manvanwsnc on Instagram.

I have created a donation page. The goal is to raise $600 to be equally donated to the six charities before April 21st. You can click this link for the donation page:

I have cut the hike into six sections (approx. 6 miles), in hopes that I will have different people/groups join me along the way. The hike will begin on April 21st at 11:00 am, ending 24 miles later at 7:00 pm. We will pick back up at 7:00 am on April 22nd with the final 12 miles. Below you will find more information about the hike schedule and each charity.

Click For Hike Map

April 21st Hiking Route:

Moji Coffee and More Segment 1-11:00 am leave time-(No Dogs)
Elevation Climb: (750 feet)- Distance: 5.5 miles (approx.)
Directions: 1790 Hanging Rock Rd., Danbury, NC 27016 (Address)
Take US-52 NNC-66 N and Moores Spring Rd to Hanging Rock Park Rd in Danbury Turn right onto Hanging Rock Park Rd (destination on the right)
Hike Start Point: at the edge of the Hanging Rock State Park Visitor
Center parking lot, at the wooden Hanging Rock overlook. Note:
The visitor center has water, restrooms, drinks, and a small museum
of the cultural and natural history of the park area.

Meeting Spot for Segment 1

Big Brothers Big Sisters Segment 2– 1:00 pm leave time (No Dogs)
Elevation Climb:(Minimal)-Distance: 6 miles (approx.)
Directions: 1287 Charlie Young Road, Walnut Cove, NC 27052 (Address)
Take 52 North. Take the exit toward Moore-RJR Drive, Take Moore Road towards Charlie Young Rd. in Quaker Gap. Meet at Tory’s Den Parking Area
Hike Start Point: .2 miles from Tory’s Den Parking Area. This is where the hike leaves Hanging Rock and begins on Sauratown Trail.

Meeting Spot Segment 2

City With Dwellings Segment 3- 3:00 pm leave time (No Dogs)
Elevation Climb: (500 feet)-Distance: 6.5 miles (approx.)
Directions: State Rd 1187, Thore Rd, Pinnacle, NC 27043 (Address)
Take US 52 North, Exit on Perch Rd. in Pinnacle (exit 129), Turn Right onto Perch Rd., turn left onto N Old 52 Rd., Turn right onto Coon Rd., Turn left onto Volunteer Rd., Turn right onto Brim’s Grove Road, Turn right onto NC-268 E, Turn Right onto Rockhouse Rd.
Hike Start Point: the corner of Rock House Rd. and Thore Rd.

Meeting Spot Segment 3

Hope of Winston-Salem Segment 4- 5:00 pm leave time (No Dogs)
Elevation Climb: (Minimal)-Distance: 6 miles (approx.)
Directions: West Prong Little Yadkin River, Yadkin, NC 27043 (Address)
Take 52 North, Take Exit 129 in Pinnacle to Perch Road, Right on Perch Rd., Left on Old N 52 Rd., Right onto Coon Rd., Turn left onto Volunteer Rd., Turn Right onto Brim’s Grove Rd. and go 0.2 miles to Brim’s Grove Parking Area.
Hike Start Point: Across the Street from Parking Area at the start of Sauratown Trail Section 12.

Meeting Spot Segment 4

April 22nd Hiking Route

Unchain Winston Segment 5– 7:00 am leave time
Elevation Climb: (500 ft.)- Distance: 5.5 miles (approx.)
Directions: 1792 Pilot Knob Park Rd, Pinnacle, NC 27043 (Address)
Take 52 North, Take Exit toward Pilot Mountain State Park, Turn left onto Pilot Knob Rd., Destination on the right.
Hike Start Point: Across the road from Pilot Mtn. State Park Office Parking Area, at the start of Grindstone Trail. Address might not be exact. Make sure to meet at start of Grindstone Trail.

Meeting Spot Segment 5

Yadkin Riverkeeper Segment 6– 9:00 am leave time-Final Segment
Elevation Climb: (minimal)- Distance: 6.5 miles (approx.) (Dogs Ok)
Directions: Section starts at Pinnacle Hotel Rd. Parking Area inside Pilot Mountain State Park at the horse-trailer parking.
Hike Start Point: the start of the Corridor Section of Pilot Mtn.

Meeting Spot Section 6

End of 36 miles: (Estimated time is by 11:00 am to end hike)
The hike ends at the Hauser Rd. Parking Area.
Address: 618 Hauser Rd., Pinnacle, NC 27043
Take 52 North and exit at 123 toward King. Turn left onto Main St., Continuing onto Doral Dr./King Tobaccoville Rd, Right on Spainhour Mill Rd, Turn left onto Hauser Rd. and another left to stay on Hauser Rd.


About the Charities

Moji Coffee and Morehttps://www.mojicoffee.org/
Moji isn’t your typical coffee shop; they are a pathway for acceptance and opportunity. Located in downtown WinMoji-Logo-from-PDF-300x130ston-Salem, North Carolina, they are a non-profit business made up of individuals with IDD who have joined together to provide meaningful, fulfilling employment to those who often get taken for granted.

big-brothers-big-sistersBig Brothers Big Sisters, Inc.: http://www.bbbsnc.org/
Big Brothers Big Sisters helps children realize their potential and build their futures. They nurture children and strengthen communities. And they couldn’t do any of it without you.


City With Dwellings: http://www.citywithdwellings.org/
CwD-Logo-Updated-and-Polished-01They are an ecumenical collaborative working to end homelessness by creating therapeutic and transformative community. Established 2013 in Winston-Salem, NC.

Hope of Winston-Salem: http://hopews.org/
logo1-hopeTheir mission is to use community-wide volunteer support to prepare and bring nutritious weekend meals to Forsyth County’s 40,000 children who are at risk for hunger.

UNchain Winstonhttps://www.forsythhumane.org/unchain-winston
IMG_4220UNchain Winston provides compassionate and non-judgmental assistance to improve the welfare of dogs living with unending “chaining” and neglect in the Winston-Salem area.

Yadkin Riverkeeper: http://www.yadkinriverkeeper.org/
YPDRK_Logo-ApprovedRD3-2colorThe Yadkin River is the principal hydrological artery of the central Carolina region. The river is threatened by industrial pollution and poor management. Yadkin Riverkeeper promotes, protects, and advocates for the river and the communities that depend on it.

The Birth of The Man Van

The physical birth of the man van happened in a factory somewhere near the Great Lakes. You would think since the man van is a Volkswagen that it was physically built in das Deutschland. Actually, the Volkswagen Routan is just a Chrysler Dodge with a VW logo on the front and back of the van instead of a ram or wings . Who knew? I didn’t manvan2until two months after we bought it on a whim.

Some could argue that the ideological birth of the man van happened at a restaurant with some friends. We ate, we had drinks, and we talked about Uber. I went home, signed up, and the rest was history.

I would argue that the birth of the man van happened circa 2005, seven years before the VW minivan was even manufactured. One reason that the man van’s charity of the month for this April, ABC of NC Child Development Center (websitmanvan1abcofnce), is so important to me is because there most likely would not be a Callahan Clan (at least in its current form) without ABC of NC.


At that point, my mid-twenties self, was a part-time head soccer coach at Salem College manvan3(Go Spirits), and I needed another job. I spent my first two years out of college as an autistic assistant at Jefferson Elementary, while I was coaching soccer at local high schools. With my autistic classroom experience, I found out about this new school that offered autistic tutoring near my Ardmore condo that would fit perfectly with my soccer schedule.

Luckily Selene Johnson, who is still the Executive Director, hired me. I had been working a couple weeks when a tutor walked in one day who had been on vacation my first couple weeks. The minute she laid eyes on me she fell head over heels, and would not leave me alone (just kidding, more like the other way around).

We dated the next several months while we both worked at ABC of NC together. Eventually, I got a full-time job and Katie went to nursing school, but without ABC of NC we would have most likely never started dating. FINAL ubberingthroughwinston V1We were married a couple years later and started our family a couple years after that in 2010. So, in my mind, without ABC of NC, there would be no family, and hence there would never be a need for a minivan. `

I’m very lucky that I got that job at ABC of NC for obvious reason: a great wife and great kids, and this new man-VANing hobby I have. Winston-Salem is lucky to have a great organization like ABC of NC helping children and young adults on the autism spectrum reach their full potential.

Uberring Through Winston: Part I

In 2017, I plan to become an Uber driver to meet all kinds of people in Winston-Salem, NC and then write about them and my adventures. I will offer various challenges to my riders, and 10% of my tips will go to a different Winston-Salem organization each month.

When I got the idea to add the Uberring through Winston series to my blog, I had no idea that my first night would be so brilliant. I will never be able to forget night one of Uberring as my first ever pick-up happened to be an ex-girlfriend of mine from ninth grade, and my last pick-up of night one was a Famous Winston-Salemite and Hollywood star, Julianna Guill. It was like Zoltar from the movie Big granted me Uber adventures for night one and sent me to blog heaven. It will be hard to top and I am just getting started with these adventures.


I signed up for Uber on December 24th, and received a message that my background check and paperwork was clear and I was able to start driving on the 26th. That night, Katie and I got home from dinner and were getting ready to put the kids to bed, when I randomly decided to turn on the Uber app. Within two minutes, I had a message that a rider needed a pick-up. I gave the family a kiss and then ran out to the minivan.

The first pick-up was just a couple miles from my house, and after getting lost a couple times (the Uber maps aren’t the best), I found the right place. First a man walked over to the van that I didn’t recognize and then a pretty blonde lady walked over. The first thing she said was “shut the &*%&% up” as she looked in the passenger window. Hopefully I get that reaction a lot during these adventures, but only for good reasons. Shockingly, my first ever Uber pickup was one of my first girlfriends from the summer after ninth grade.

Courtney, Caroline, and Jenny

Jenny broke up with me after about a week. My maturity level now is still about ten years behind my age of 36, so you can only imagine what I was like at fifteen. I am sure she had plenty of good reasons. Jenny and her husband currently live in Charlotte. They jumped in the backseat, and after a quick detour to buy some wine at CVS, we stopped by to pick up another old friend, Caroline, who I ran track with for three years at Reynolds.

I took them to a house where I spent a lot of time during my high school years, where they were meeting up with several of their high school friends. I saw another old friend, Courtney, and met her husband and then I was off back to the house with four new dollars in my bank account and a great photo in my phone.

Once I got home, I went upstairs and Katie and the two kids were asleep in my bed and I was about to get ready for bed, when I got another message that a rider was waiting. I jumped in the van again and had four more pickups over the next forty-five minutes. The first two pickups were groups of four.


I picked up one foursome at The Beer Growler and took them to Burke St. Pub. They were talkative and actually spent most of the ride complaining about a guy I used to play soccer with growing up. Immediately after I dropped them off, I had another message from a block away at Mozelle’s. This foursome practically acted like I was non-existent until I got them to their house in Ardmore, where they did say thanks.

The next two rides were young women, who had jobs near the Mall area. I took each of them back to their houses. One of them recently received a DUI and is without her license for a couple months. She uses Uber to go to her managerial job, and to go home after work. She was incredibly friendly, and helpful with some Uber tips. The second young lady lived near my work at Salem College, and after I dropped her off, I started to head back home planning to call it a night.

I was driving down Robinhood Road, when I got another message since I forgot to turn the Uber app off. It was the same Buena Vista street where I dropped off Caroline and Jenny, and I thought it was them again trying to get a ride home. When I pulled up to the house, it was the house next door, where I also had been to a couple parties growing up.


As soon as Julianna got in the car, I said I had been to a couple parties at her house, and her first words were, “I am sure you have!” Julianna is a lot younger than me, but her sister, Lucy, was good friends with one of the sisters of one of my good friends. We spent some time hanging out with Lucy, and I am pretty sure she dated one of my good friends (I can’t remember which one).

Julianna has gone on to star in countless movies and television shows, and she also is a member of the band, The Girls, with Cyrina Fiallo (from the television show, Community). Julianna has starred in movies like Friday the 13th, Captain America: Civil War, and Crazy, Stupid, Love (with Steve Carell). She has been in countless television shows like How I Met Your Mother, Criminal Minds, and CSI. She is currently in a Hallmark movie with Vivica A. Fox called Summer in the City. 

Julianna in the minivan

Though she is a big-time Hollywood star, Julianna couldn’t have been any nicer and down to earth during our ten minute drive to Camel City Barbecue Factory. We talked about parties at her house, our dads working on the BB&T building in the eighties together, and our holiday seasons. I also hopefully convinced her to do a Famous Winston-Salemite blog, so you can learn more about her one day soon.

The building Julianna’s dad (an engineer) and my dad (an architect) worked on together in Downtown Winston.

After I dropped Julianna off, I cut the app off and went home with two hours of excitement and twenty-five dollars in my pocket (actually in my phone). I was too amped up to sleep when I got home and stayed up too late, excited for my next upcoming adventures in Uberring through Winston.

Some Uber tips I learned:

  1. Pay attention after you drop off a customer. I dropped off a customer near Ebert St. and then turned the wrong way and I think I was in Mecklenburg County before I figured it out.
  2. Carry candy at all times in case a kid gets in with their parent (thanks Richmond Hill).
  3. Don’t forget to swipe that you have picked up a customer. I was at CVS with Jenny and her husband before I figured out that I didn’t start the trip yet on the phone.
  4. You don’t get paid a ton driving around Winston (but it is worth it)! Also, I don’t think tipping is a mainstay for Uber passengers, so I might need to rethink how I can work out getting more money for charities.


Thank You Salem College Soccer

Dear Salem College Soccer Team,

I said during our last game that “I love everything about this team,” and I meant every word of that statement. I love my coaching staff and wouldn’t trade them for any coaching staff in the country. I love the determination and relentlessness of all twenty-six members of the team this Fall. I love the quirkiness of each member of the team and how each member, through their differences, fit together like puzzle pieces to make a dominant team.

This team wasn’t perfect, no teams ever are perfect. All teams have their ups and downs, but one of the best parts of this team was how easily you put the imperfections of the team behind you to merge together to have a stellar season.

The first husband of Salem College, Bert Lain, told you all that through his journey to nine different institutions, including two of the best athletic departments in the nation, UNC and Stanford, this version of the Salem College Soccer team was his favorite team ever to watch. Bert is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met, and he knows what he is saying when he talks about the guts this team stepped on the field with every game.


There were some doubts at the beginning of the season how a team with only one senior that was joining a new sixteen-member conference would handle a season. Anchored by Morgan and the leadership of this team, everybody came together after a couple rocky pre-season games to put together the best season in school history. You can read this article to see all the great accolades this team has received so far (ARTICLE).

Players on the Salem soccer team don’t get the exposure you all deserve. Being in a city where one of the top men’s soccer programs in NCAA Division 1 doesn’t help, but you all continue to play hard for each other. We don’t have the same facilities as many programs in our conference or in the nation, but you all continue to play hard for each other. There isn’t a big crowd besides your families at the games, but you all continue to play hard for each other.


We have had great teams before in the history of Salem College Soccer that have achieved incredible accomplishments. Better than all of those accomplishments, we have great people that played soccer here and they paved the path for this season.

Salem College as an institution has the one of the brightest histories of any institution for women in this nation. What you all did this season is one of the greatest accomplishments a group of women has accomplished in the 245 year history of Salem.

This team defied all odds. You joined a new conference with sixteen members and won the regular season championship, which, to me, is harder than winning the tournament. The conference didn’t make it easy on you at all. You traveled more than twice as far throughout 2016 conference play as the team that traveled the second most in the conference, and over three times as far as most teams, but you still prevailed.

This program had never beaten Maryville College in our history, but you did it this year, and not just once but three times. Maryville was the New York Yankees of our old conference, the Great South. Nobody in the former Great South had won a game at Maryville since the early 2000’s until you all did it in one of the most exciting games I have ever been a part of as a coach or player. This team came together to put on a stellar performance in your first ever USA South playoff game to defeat Maryville and move to the USA South Semifinals.


We don’t get huge crowds as I mentioned earlier at home, but you all continued to be valiant soldiers protecting your home turf. Once again, we went 10-0 at home this season. This program now is riding a twenty-five game home win streak protecting the Salem soccer field. In fact, our last home loss was in 2014 to the number one team in the country and eventual national champions of Lynchburg.

In the USA South Final Four, once again, you all had the odds against you and you defied them by having to go on the road as the number one seed for the semifinals and championship weekend. Playing on turf was a bit like kryptonite to Superman for us this season and you had to do that during the Final Four weekend. We didn’t play our best game this season in the semifinals, but you never let your guards down and once again you pulled out an exciting overtime win.

Even though, we lost the championship game, the last twenty minutes were the best twenty minutes you all put together all season. Falling behind, 2-0, with 20 minutes remaining, would cause most teams to buckle, but you all stepped it up. We got one goal back with 12 minutes left.

Life is a game of inches where mistakes can be made, and our season ended that way. You all battled to the very last second of our season, and you scored the goal that should have tied the game and sent us to overtime, where there is no doubt in my mind that you all would have prevailed. Unfortunately, the referees made the mistake of missing the clear goal, which ended our season.

You can clearly see the white goal-line, then green grass, and then the ball with the goalie deep inside the goal.

Even without the tournament trophy, you all are true champions due to your character, your effort and determination, and your hearts. I am truly privileged to be a part of what you all did this season, and I can’t wait to see what you all can do together as you continue on your path as soccer players, tremendous students, and great people.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart,