After competing on The Biggest Loser in season seven, Tara Costa knew she didn’t want to go back to her old finance job. “I knew that I wanted to continue down the path of helping people, and helping people never feel the way I felt at 300 pounds,” she told DietsInReview in an interview yesterday. “Realistically, it’s a horrible feeling to never be able to feel comfortable in your own skin.” Tara knew she wanted to be involved with helping people live healthier lives on a daily basis. “It always stemmed from, ‘How can I make a difference?’ ”
Tara answered this question in two ways. The first was to return to school and pursue her masters in physical education. The second was to found the Inspire Change Foundation. Tara explains that the mission of Inspire Change is “to help both children and adults to lead healthier lives and to embrace change, and not be fearful of it.”
Over the past year, Tara and her team led by executive director Michelle Robie have worked to turn her idea into a reality. “A lot of time, a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into creating everything,” Tara says. The foundation’s first project is Kicks 4 Kids, which will provide athletic shoes to children from kindergarten through eight grade who would not otherwise be able to afford them. Their goal for 2011 is to donate over 500 pairs of shoes to kids in at least 10 cities in the U.S.
Another big project is Team Inspire Change, which will aim to create local communities of people who work together to be more active and improve their health. “It’s going to be everyone from the avid runner or cyclist, to the yoga instructor or the major triathlete to the newbies,” says Tara. Each group will have an ambassador who will encourage the team to stay inspired and try new things. Once the new Inspire Change Foundation website is launched, team members will be able to find each other through message boards.
In the future, Tara also plans to create a 10-week after school program, but for now, she’s focused on fundraising and launching these first two programs. She also regularly participates in races, which she describes as “the best way that I can lead by example.” She’ll be participating in the upcoming Ford World Championship Ironman in Kona, Hawaii.
Anyone who’s interested in getting involved or making a donation to the Inspire Change Foundation can learn more by visiting InspireChangeFoundation.org. “We’ve been getting flooded with a bunch of messages from people, and we love that,” says Tara. “If you’re a person who knows that they have knowledge to share, then we want to know.”