Tara Balu, Diamond Challenge 2018 Semifinalist
Annual trips to India were part of Tara Balu’s family traditions, but she never expected the vacation to inspire her to help others. While her family usually travels to the small town her parents are from, they took a trip to a deaf school in the area. Tara’s experience with the school and the children there changed her plans for the future. She wanted to do more than simply help the children while she visited India; she wanted to have a lasting impact for deaf children everywhere.
Inspired by the children, Tara says, “What I saw in these children was a great amount of potential and intelligence and it made me sad that their country was leaving them behind.”
Humbled by their determination, Tara wanted to help the children succeed. She hoped to give back while she was in India and make lasting changes that would extend past her visit. Tara describes her experience, “While I was there, my mission was to find a way aid the children’s education, so I taught their teachers different methods of teaching since the teachers weren’t trained to teach deaf children and introduced them to an online education website where the students would be able to learn by watching videos with subtitles.”
After her time at the school, Tara thought of creating an app that would aid children in developing countries. She wanted to make it easier for the children to access the internet and other technology, so they would be able to utilize resources better equipped for deaf students. Tara took that idea and turned it into an entrepreneurial venture, which led her to compete in the Diamond Challenge and semifinal round. The experience only encouraged Tara to further pursue her goals. She believes, “My Diamond Challenge experience motivated me to continue helping these kids. I think winning with my idea just showed me that people out there would support whatever I could do for these kids.”
After strengthening her public speaking and networking skills, Tara feels confident to pursue her goals. Tara’s time with the children in India and her experience with the Diamond Challenge competition also clarified her professional aspirations. She hopes to go into a field where she can connect with people and work creatively to come up with solutions to existing problems.
“I realized that I want to be able to speak to people throughout the day and be in a field where things are constantly changing, and new things are being discovered that I could implement into my work.”
After competing in Diamond Challenge for two years, Tara now serves as a member of the Student Advisory Board. As a senior in high school, she’s looking forward to graduation and taking the next steps toward her goals. Tara plans to become a dentist or pursue another career in the medical field.
“Eventually, I want to own my own practice so that I can implement my own ideas into my practice and work closely with my patients to form true connections with them.”
No matter where our Diamond Challenge alumni go, we are constantly amazed by how they continue to make an impact on the world for the better.
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