Two weeks ago, he got a spur-of-the-moment call from his mother, Sue, in south Florida, informing him that she was bringing his two nephews, Matt Nance and Joey Raffel, and niece, Julie Nance, to Charlotte. They were coming the next day for the weekend.
Quickly, Nance transformed into tour director.
He has a counseling practice, and supervises counseling and chaplain interns at Presbyterian Hospital. One of his interns is Tayuanee Dewberry, executive director of Right Moves for Youth, the nonprofit that works to keep at-risk youth in school."I knew they have needs for school supplies," Nance said. "I wanted to take my guests on a trip through Charlotte that was purposeful and meaningful."
He decided they'd all (they're pictured above) ride the Lynx light rail from uptown toward Pineville, and he'd turn the trip into a charitable adventure. Knowing his nephews and niece had spending money, he asked them each to take $5 and buy as many school supplies as they could -- that ultimately they'd donate to Right Moves.
"They completely bought into it," he said.
At the rail's last stop, Nance turned them loose in an Office Max.
They bought penny folders, boxes of pencils, 10-cent paper refills and whatever else they could find on sale, going through check-out lines multiple times. All counted, the five left the store with 10 bags of more than $85 worth of school supplies that cost them $23.30.
"When we got home, they looked like trick-or-treaters rifling through their bags of candy," Nance said. "It took three of us to carry it all into Right Moves for Youth."
The outing was fitting for his family. Nance's parents were Methodist missionaries: "It was a continuation of what we usually do," he said. "I come from a family of caregivers."
Since then, his nephews and niece have called Nance to thank him for the visit. Each remarked that they found the school-supplies challenge a highlight of the trip.
"Anybody can do something like this," Nance said. "It may seem small, but the Right Moves for Youth folks were very appreciative. They told us, 'you'd be surprised, but many kids go to school with nothing.' So every little thing helps.
"Our family, like most families, has been struggling in this economy. But even in our struggles, we can still reach out."