From intern to director: Tim Hydar makes big leap at Little Bit Foundation

Tim Hydar, The Little Bit Foundation

Tim Hydar, director of distribution for The Little Bit Foundation, stands in the organization’s new warehouse in the Hanley Industrial Court of Brentwood. Once completely moved in, Hydar and the Little Bit team will be able to continue expanding their reach and distribution numbers. (Photo by August Jennewein)

As Tim Hydar watched a shy first-grader sprint around a classroom proudly modeling a new pair of shoes, the University of Missouri–St. Louis alumnus knew he was in the right line of work.

“Now I’m going to run faster,” the student exclaimed. “I’m going to be the fastest one on the basketball court.”

For children wearing the wrong size shoe, that’s the power of a new, proper-fitting pair.

This proud sneaker owner and rising athlete is just one of the 35,000 residents in St. Louis city and north St. Louis County who have been impacted by the mission and generosity of The Little Bit Foundation.

Hydar, the director of distribution for Little Bit, and his team play an important role in ensuring regional students have fewer barriers that interfere with a quality education.

“The best aspect of my job is going into a school every single week and seeing a group of kids that have a need and being able to tell them we are going to meet that need,” Hydar said. “Then the next week we deliver on that promise. Seeing students regularly, interacting with them, learning who they are and them learning who we are – that’s definitely the best part of what we do here.”

Since its founding in 2001, Little Bit grew from delivering 170 coats in its inaugural year to distributing more than 9,900 coats, 48,300 books and 203,000 essential items in the 2016-17 school year. Today, 9,000 students across 31 schools enjoy the Little Bit Boutiques, where a consistent team of volunteers deliver school supplies and a variety of clothing items. The organization also coordinates literacy events, mental health services, wellness screenings and educational programs.

Hydar joined the Little Bit team in 2016 as an intern during his final semester at UMSL with counsel from Lisa Fikki, the internship coordinator for the College of Business Administration. Although Hydar was almost 30 at the time and had a decade of experience in warehouse and operations management, the internship was a natural way to conclude his undergraduate experience.

“Having the opportunity to get some credit hours for the internship was really the big factor as to why I took an internship,” Hydar said. “But then I found the Little Bit and thought it sounded like a great opportunity to do something positive instead of just interning with one of the big companies.”

As an intern, he focused on quality assurance and inventory, while reporting to the former director of distribution. By the time he completed the internship, Hydar had become so attached to Little Bit’s mission he decided to continue as a volunteer.

The director position opened shortly after Hydar concluded his internship, making him a prime candidate.

“I didn’t initially take the job at Little Bit because it was a nonprofit,” Hydar said. “I chose the Little Bit because of its mission. It was this specific mission that really intrigued me. I’m becoming a fan of the nonprofit culture and style of supporting each other.”

Less than a year after earning his undergraduate degree in logistics and operations management, Hydar faces many unique challenges in his new role. Throughout the day, he could be pulled in a variety of directions. His responsibilities range from forecasting to distribution – and every step in between. He’s also in charge of IT, is a compliance officer and manages data.

Growing up in the St. Louis region, Hydar has a deep-rooted connection to the Little Bit community.

“There are so many children within 10 to 15 minutes from where I grew up that don’t have basic needs met,” Hydar said. “We are going to do whatever we can to try to break down the barriers of education. I think educating students and making sure they have a quality elementary education is an important part of their development as a student throughout life. We are going to take care of the students, and we are going to take care of the community. They say, ‘It takes a village.’ Little Bit stepped in as that village.”

While working either full or part time throughout his undergraduate years, Hydar faced a few obstacles in his own educational experience. However, UMSL proved to be an accelerant for his business ventures.

“My time at UMSL was great,” Hydar said. “They had a lot of challenging teachers with real-world experience who made the material applicable to what I was going through. The style of teaching really worked out well for me because I could ask my teachers, ‘At work I’m having this issue, or I don’t feel comfortable doing this, do you have any tips?’ A lot of times they would because they worked in a lot of large companies and had important positions.”

The UMSL Experience

 

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