No one will ever accuse Olando Dulin of being shy.
After all, to succeed as a social worker, educator and coach, you have to be willing to talk to people. Sometimes, that means picking up the phone and cold-calling someone – even if that someone is in the NFL Hall of Fame.
“I just called Deion Sanders last week,” Mr. Dulin said recently. “And only because he posted something on Twitter about needing good players.”
Mr. Dulin is Steel Valley’s new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator and an assistant coach on the Ironmen football team. Some of the senior players are hoping for college scholarships, and Sanders – the former NFL star and broadcaster – is now the head coach at Jackson State University.
“So I looked up the website and got his phone number,” Mr. Dulin said. “But that's the one thing I've learned, you can't be afraid to do this. When you're helping people, you can't be afraid to just pick up the phone and reach out to people who have the resources or who might be able to get you in contact with the resources.”
Mr. Dulin’s sees his job as finding ways to help anyone in need. A graduate in Steel Valley’s Class of 1990, Mr. Dulin starred as a football player for the Ironmen and played college ball at Akron University and Slippery Rock University. He thought he might become an accountant, but a love of service and desire to help people landed him in social work.
His first job was as a street outreach worker for an organization now called Family Links in Pittsburgh. It paid $6.68 an hour, but it gave Mr. Dulin a chance to help provide shelter for 18-to-21-year-olds who had nothing – no family, no money, no support system.
“If I wasn't going to play football, I was giving myself to people, however that may be,” Mr. Dulin said. “Accepting that job and taking that position, I knew that was my foot in the door.”
That unselfish nature came from his mom, Damita Dulin.
“My mom will give people her last. She’ll sacrifice and then put herself in a jam doing so,” Mr. Dulin said.
After 25 years in social work, a string of fortuitous events brought him back to Steel Valley. He was an assistant coach under Ray Braszo at West Mifflin. When Mr. Braszo was hired at Steel Valley, Mr. Dulin followed him. On his way to practice one day, Mr. Dulin struck up a conversation with Mr. Bryan Macuga, now the Steel Valley assistant superintendent, who encouraged him to apply for the newly created position of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator.
Mr. Dulin was nervous. It meant leaving behind his job for something new. Still, he applied. He was hired, and now he’s trying to shape a position that’s still relatively new to education. He’ll work to ensure the curriculum incorporates equity and inclusion, and a major component of that is finding ways to provide students and families with the resources they need to be successful.
“My thing is whatever the students feel, whatever faculty feel, whatever the community feel has been missing, I’m here to assist with bringing that in,” Mr. Dulin said.
He’s already seen the impact he can have. Mr. Dulin and Director of Pupil Services Dr. Lisa Mumau connected a family with resources they needed. It left the mother in tears, grateful her child finally had help.
“That's why I'm here,” Mr. Dulin said. “Those types of situations, those types of small success stories, are what make the bigger picture look that much better.”