top of page

About us

STEM Activity-Greenwood Genetics Center

Upstate Institute of Youth Programs, Inc (UIYP) is a recognized 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. Co-Founders James and Thwanda Davidson recognized that there was a need in the upstate area to provide youth with academic and athletic support as well as a greater appreciation for the arts and service to the community. With this in mind, Upstate Institute of Youth Programs, Inc. was established on July 13, 2006 in Seneca, South Carolina. Through the establishment of this organization, UIYP has worked with hundreds of students to provide academic and college preparedness assistance, art/cultural appreciation events, involvement with athletic programming and service initiatives, as well as life

skills coaching. Upstate Institute of Youth Programs continues to provide these services to INSPIRE and SUPPORT youth and ultimately, help them ACHIEVE their goals in becoming future leaders.

If you would like to make an impact, DONATE today!

About Us: Homepage_about
Mission & Vision

Our Mission & Vision

Mission: To offer young people positive programs through academic, athletics, art appreciation/cultural events and life skills, so they can aspire to be positive contributors in their community.

Vision: A model enrichment organization for young people.

Meet our Staff and Board

Meet Our Board Members & Staff

Thwanda Davidson (1)-Headshot.jpg

Thwanda L. Davidson


Executive Director

Dr. Thwanda L. Davidson is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the non-profit organization, Upstate Institute of Youth Programs, Inc. serving youth in Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties of South Carolina. She has served as a Student Affairs professional with a 28-year record of success in management, leadership, and community affairs. She collaborates with other professionals at local, state and regional levels of student services. She works with colleges, public schools, and community leaders to meet specific goals and objectives. Dr. Davidson graduated with a BS degree in Business Administration from Lander University (Greenwood, SC), Masters of Education in Guidance and Counseling Services from Clemson University, completed post-graduate work from Clemson University in Educational Leadership and earned an Ed.D. in Education (Concentration – Higher Education) from Nova Southeastern University (Ft. Lauderdale, FL). Dr. Davidson has served on the speaker and

presentation circuit since 1992 and has presented in New York, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, and other major cities throughout the United States. In addition, she has earned several service awards. Dr. Davidson is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.


James Davidson (1)-Headshot.jpg

James A. Davidson


Upward Bound Counselor

James Davidson is the Co-Founder and Upward Bound Counselor of the nonprofit organization, Upstate Institute of Youth Programs, Inc. Mr. Davidson graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Erskine College (Due West, SC) and has worked as a community business leader for over 24 years. He has over 16 years of experience serving as a head coach, coordinator of youth athletic teams/programming events, as well as mentor. James serves as a site coordinator for community outreach programs with Upward Bound and continues to create community partnerships and collaboration opportunities for the program.


Tequisha Whitener (1)-Headshot.jpg

Tequisha Whitener

Upward Bound Program Coordinator

Tequisha Whitener has been in TRiO for twelve years and currently serves as the Upward Bound Program Coordinator with Upstate Institute of Youth Programs, Inc. Tequisha has experience in working with limited income and first-generation students as well as at-risk youth. She has always had a strong passion to assist underserved and underrepresented students, which is what led her to become a part of TRiO. Tequisha has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling.


Arnold Smalls, M.D.

Board Chair

Dr. Arnold Smalls is board certified in Internal Medicine. He attended University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Pittsburgh, PA and completed Residency at University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Dr. Arnold Smalls was Captain in the Air Force and practiced at Langley Hospital in Virginia from 1994-1997. He has been with LaGrange Internal Medicine since June of 1997.

Chantelle Davidson

Member at Large

Chantelle Davidson is a Member-at-Large for Upstate Institute of Youth Programs, Inc. Ms. Davidson graduated from Winthrop University (Rock Hill, SC) with a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and completed her Masters of Education in Higher Education Administration from Auburn University (Auburn, AL). Chantelle has worked in several sectors of higher education such as athletics, career development, service learning, and student organization programming.

Daja B. Dial

Member at Large

Clemson University Graduate.

Community business leader.

Organization's website designer.

Coach for organization's Youth Athletic Teams.

SURGE Young Professional.

Solicit funds to support youth program initiatives.

Aid in the identification of potential sponsors, and collaborate with community leaders to support youth initiatives.

Vermel D. Moore

Member at Large

Ms. Vermel Moore has over 31 years of experience in K-12 Education and Administration. While serving as a Member-at- Large for Upstate Institute of Youth Programs, Inc., she also serves on the board for the Dove House Children’s Advocacy Center in Statesville, North Carolina and volunteers her time with the Hospice and Palliative Care of Iredell County. Ms. Moore is a member of the Order of the Eastern Star (Malissa Chapter #8) and Co-Founder of Circle of Giving.

Kenny Wilson

Member at Large

Business leader
Seventeen year experiences working with at-risk teens.
Site supervisor for group home.
Fourteen years experienced coach for youth athletic programs.
Solicit funds to support youth program initiatives.
Assist in developing programs and collaborating with community leaders to support youth initiatives.

bottom of page