Celebrating Volunteers: Tyvi Small Helps Diverse Students through Urban League

This week, we’re celebrating National Volunteer Week with stories about faculty and staff who give of their time and talents to make a difference in our community. If you would like to share the way you volunteer, send us a note. Include your phone number and e-mail address. And, if you have it, send us a photo of yourself volunteering.

Sign up to volunteer in selected activities on the Center for Leadership and Service website.

Tyvi Small devotes his efforts at work—and outside of work—to helping diverse students succeed.

Tyvi Small, in the forefront, takes a selfie with some of the students from the Knoxville Area Urban League’s National Achievers Society.

Tyvi Small, in the forefront, takes a selfie with some of the students from the Knoxville Area Urban League’s National Achievers Society.

Small, director of the Office of Diversity and Community Relations for the Haslam College of Business, volunteers with the Knoxville Area Urban League’s National Achievers Society, an organization established to identify academically accomplished minority high school students and help prepare them for college. NAS is open to youth in grades ten through twelve with a 3.0 or higher cumulative grade point average.

“I volunteer with NAS because I have a passion for education and I really do believe education can help change generations of lives,” Small said. “I think my professional and personal gifts are working with young people and inspiring them to be the best they can be.

Small has been volunteering with NAS for more than eight years and currently serves as committee chairman.

“This year’s class includes over 120 scholars representing every high school in Knox County as well as Oak Ridge and Jefferson County high schools,” he said.

Starting as sophomores and continuing through their senior year of high school, NAS scholars and their parents participate in weekend activities and projects that provide them with cultural, academic, and college preparatory experience.

“I have seen countless students attend UT and graduate,” Small said. “We probably have well over thirty students currently attending UT from NAS.

“The NAS scholars are amazing young people, and I’m humbled I get to play a small part in their success,” he said. “The most gratify thing is when I see a former NAS scholar and they tell me their involvement in NAS helped them get to college or succeed in their chosen career. I feel like I am giving back to my community in an active way.”