In recognition of Small Business Saturday, Visit Tyler is hosting a Small Business Pop-Up Shop from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Downtown Visitor Center at 110 N. College St. Visit Tyler operates a gift shop there regularly that features items made locally by small businesses. The pop-up shop will feature additional vendors.

High school students in Smith County can now apply for a new and improved volunteer program by Visit Tyler.

After two years of pausing volunteer opportunities for students due to COVID-19, Visit Tyler is launching the new Rose City Ambassador Program replacing the former Azalea Belle Program .

Students interested must be academically eligible and go through an application and training process. The deadline to apply to be a Rose City Ambassador is Monday, Jan. 17 for students looking for volunteer opportunities at local events throughout the year.

“It gives students a fun opportunity to receive volunteer hours. Their main job will be answering questions about important events throughout the year as a representative of the city such as the Rose City Festival, sporting events and more,” said Holli Fourniquet, senior vice president of Visit Tyler.

Besides learning a greater knowledge of the city of Tyler, students will take away things such as speaking skills, schedule management and responsibility, according to Fourniquet.

Participants in the program will act as greeters at large community events throughout the year. The main events include the Azalea & Spring Flower Trail, Texas Rose Festival and Rose City Christmas.

Students will also have the opportunity to serve at the Visit Tyler Visitor Center at various times throughout the year.

The program will select only 30 students and will give an opportunity for students to reapply each year after their one-year term ends. The community service hours given to students can be counted on their college applications or for high school requirements.

Fourniquet also mentioned the necessity of giving back to the younger generation of Tyler residents, especially to encourage them to continue living in Tyler and not drift away to different cities.

“It’s really important for us to give back to the students. We want to make sure and educate the next generation so when they get out of high school, college or they get out of trade school that they know what kind of career they can have here in Tyler,” she said.

Students can find applications online at or at local high school counselor’s offices.

Applications can be sent to Susan Travis and returned to Visit Tyler at 110 N. College Ave. Ste. 105 in Tyler.


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Photographer and Video Editor but I also cover community outreach, events and features. Stephen F. Austin State University Alumna. Houstonian reporting in East Texas since January of 2021. Story ideas? email me at