Knoxville Area Urban League


Got Shoes?

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 | Education, Volunteers | 2 Comments

A word from Phyllis Nichols, Knoxville Area Urban League President and CEO

For most of us, we’ve never had to think about having decent shoes or school supplies. No big deal. They were simply there. But for kids who don’t have them, it’s a big deal!

Last week, I talked about my love of reading and how important it is that parents read to their kids. Research shows that reading aloud to children – especially from birth through age five – plays a key role in a child’s emerging literacy and preparation for success in school.

While I’m guessing that no Education Association or Literacy Foundation has researched the importance of a new pair of shoes to success in school, here at the Urban League we do a little “research” of our own every August with our Shoes for School event.

Shoes for School, a mammoth undertaking that gets bigger each year, provides new shoes and school supplies to about 1,000 area kids who are most in need. It’s a carnival-like atmosphere that includes about 35 booth sponsors and hundreds of volunteers who provide games, food and school supplies to the kids. The crowning prize of the day is a new box of shoes ordered especially for each child. I’ll never tire of seeing the look of delight on the kids’ faces when they tear into their box and retrieve their prized pair of shoes.

Why are shoes important? If you have to ask, you’ve never sat at a desk with your feet tucked far beneath your seat so that no one would notice your worn-out, paltry, little shoes.

A few years ago we got a call from a mother whose son had lost his shoes at the event. She said the poor kid hadn’t stopped crying since he realized his shoes were gone. Fortunately, we found the shoes. The surprising thing about this story isn’t that a boy lost his shoes and he was sad about it. It’s that the “boy” was 11 or 12-years old, not six or seven like we expected. Like I said, new shoes are a big deal.

I realize we’re not changing the world by giving kids in need new shoes and school supplies, but I like to think we’re making a small change in our part of the world. By arming these kids with shoes and school supplies, we’re helping them feel more confident and comfortable with their peers, which is a critical piece of the puzzle.

We’re in the process of signing up corporate booth sponsors, and we still have room for a few more. Participation includes setting up a booth or a tent, providing an activity, a game or something to engage the kids, and giving away school supplies as their reward. This is an excellent opportunity to get your employees/associates/members working on a one-day community service project. Let me know if you’d like more details.

We also need your financial support. Through a special corporate partnership, we’re able to purchase shoes for the amazingly low price of $10 each. Every $10 you donate means another happy child will start the school year “on the right foot.”

Take a quick look at last year’s video for more details.

, , , ,

Shoes for School

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010 | | No Comments

Knoxville Area Urban League Shoes for School

Shoes for School is an annual back-to-school event that provides new shoes and school supplies for 1,000 area children. Each spring, we work with other non-profit agencies to help us identify and register children age 5-12 who most need the help. Purchasing shoes and school supplies for 1,000 children is a big undertaking, but seeing the delight on the kids’ faces and knowing that providing these basic necessities helps them feel more comfortable and confident with their peers makes it all worthwhile.

Watch our video to learn more:

We invite you to support Shoes for School. Donate today by clicking the “Donate” button below or mailing a check to the Urban League at 1514 East Fifth Ave., Knoxville, TN 37917.

Saturday, August 9, 2014
9:00am – 12:00pm

Caswell Park
620 Winona St
(next to Cansler Family YMCA)

 Another opportunity for involvement is booth sponsorship. Booth sponsors are an important part of Shoes for School. Each year, about 35 organizations – including corporations, sororities, area non-profits, churches and others – host booths that include a game or activity for the kids and give away school supplies. Shoes for School is an exciting, carnival-like atmosphere, and it is an excellent community service/team building project for employees. If your organization is interested in participating or if you’d like more information, contact Ola Blackmon-McBride (; 865-524-5511).


Wednesday, May 12th, 2010 | | No Comments


Annual Membership Meeting
Knoxville Area Urban League Shoes for School
National Achievers Society Induction
The Equal Opportunity Awards Gala
Knoxville Area Urban League Minority Scholarship Program

Volunteer Opportunities

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 | | No Comments

Volunteer Opportunities

We’re always looking for top-notch volunteers. Here are just a few of the ways you can be involved:

  • Assist with our annual Shoes for School event.
  • Offer classroom instruction or give a presentation for one of our budget and credit, home ownership or job readiness classes.
  • Participate on a committee in support of one of our programs.
  • Provide office support by answering phones and greeting clients when the receptionist is out of the office, filing and other administrative tasks.

All volunteers must complete our Volunteer application form. When volunteer opportunities arise, you will be notified via e-mail. Thanks for your interest in helping us empower communities and change lives!

Corporate Involvement

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 | | No Comments

Corporate Involvement

We offer many opportunities for corporate involvement, such as:

  • Sponsorship and/or participation in our annual Shoes for School event.
  • Booth sponsorship for Shoes for School. Booth sponsors set up a booth or a tent, provide an activity, a game or something to engage the kids, and give away school supplies as their reward. This is an excellent opportunity for employees/associates/members to work on a one-day community service project.
  • Sponsorship of our Equal Opportunity Awards Gala.
  • Providing employee volunteers who can offer classroom instruction for our budget and credit, home ownership or job readiness classes or participate on a committee in support of one of our programs.
  • Contributing grant or other funding for programming or special projects.


Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 | | Comments Off

The Equal Opportunity Awards Gala

The Gala is our most significant fundraising event of the year. More importantly, it affords us the opportunity to celebrate our Volunteer of the Year, MinorityBusiness, Corporate Leadership and Whitney M. Young Lifetime Achievement award winners.

And, the evening is always a celebration to remember, with good food and fellowship and top-flight music provided by acts such as Jeffrey Osborne, the Whispers, the Spinners, the Temptations, the O’Jays and En Vogue with this year’s entertainment being provided by Morris Day and The Time.

The Gala also provides an excellent opportunity for networking with top area business professionals, and an investment in a corporate table is a good investment for local businesses.

The 2014 Gala will be held on Thursday, Oct. 23, at the Knoxville Convention Center. Reception starts at 5:30 p.m. Dinner and entertainment begin at 6:30 p.m.

Sponsorships and Donations

Fundraising is critical to the Urban League’s ability to provide programs and services to the community. Gala sponsorship is an important part of our fundraising. Sponsors include a diverse group of corporate, government and community leaders, providing prime exposure opportunities for your organization. Sponsors are also recognized on video screens, during the awards program and in our souvenir program booklet. Click on the link below to find out how to benefit more by becoming a sponsor or make a donation.

2014 Sponsorship Form

Shoes for School was a huge success!!!

Click on the link below for more information:


Hold on to your home!

Problems paying your mortgage? We can help!

If you are having problems paying your mortgage, foresee problems making payments in the future, or are already at risk of losing your home to foreclosure, the time to act is now. Take the first step to improve your situation. Call the Urban League at 865-524-5511 and complete the Housing Client Document Package. Our trained and certified counselors are ready to work with you.  There’s no cost to you, and all services are completely confidential. Call the Urban League today!

Mortgage Assistance. For homeowners who are behind on their mortgage due to unemployment or substantial underemployment, we help with applications for assistance. Applicants meeting certain criteria may receive mortgage assistance in an amount up to $40,000 over 36 months at no charge. For more information,  call the Urban League (865-524-5511).


Common Core Support

Knoxville Urban League supports Tennessee’s Common Core State Standards. Join the growing coalition to help support higher standards by LIKING Expect More. Achieve More. on facebook.

KAUL shares more of its view on Education and Youth via video:

Copyright © 2014 Knoxville Area Urban League Web Design Knoxville TN