Volunteer Spotlight: Miranda Smalls

For 25 years, PeerForward has worked alongside a vast network of volunteers who are dedicated to our mission of ending education inequity for first-generation, low-income students. We are delighted to highlight the hard work of those volunteers during our 25th anniversary celebration.

Miranda Smalls has been an advocate of PeerForward for years. Her tenure as an adjunct professor at Vaughn College and an Instructor for the Upward Bound program has brought her attention to the challenges that students from low-income families often face while exploring postsecondary options. She continues to foster the notion that pursuing education beyond high school is the expectation, not the exception. April 18th – 24th marks the celebration of National Volunteer Week and we are so delighted to feature Miranda Smalls, author and professor, in this Volunteer Spotlight.


You have served as a PeerForward volunteer for many years, what drew you to our organization?

“We have an unpaid debt that we owe to our children.  PeerForward (formerly College Summit) is one of the organizations leading the way in paying back this debt every day.  The way in which this team of creative coaches and volunteers work with students to motivate a peer-to-peer approach to college and careers is transformational.  I’m not stating what I’ve heard, I’m stating what I know!  I have been that high school teacher on the bus taking students to college workshops for 10 years.   I have been that Writing Coach helping students with their writing intensive in the summer.  I have seen students with absolutely no interest in college, graduate from college because of what they learned at one college workshop.  I have stood in a closing circle year after year and said, I was not going to cry, but could not help it because of barriers broken and friendships made. I have seen the

spark in students throughout the year as they presented their yearly plans to the principal, assistant principals, guidance counselors, and teachers.”

What leadership advice do you have for the next generation of Peer Leaders?

“You must have courage – as we move through the 21st century, we need fearless leaders.  We need leaders who will stand up for justice and fight for equitable treatment for all in the workplace, community, and at home.  We need bold leaders who will stand up and make wise choices, even when it is painful, because only courageous leaders will make a powerful difference in our world.”

We couldn’t agree more. Thank you, Miranda, for continuing the legacy of incredible volunteers who continue to support our Peer Leaders.

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