Tara John has been involved with many community efforts including the Coppell Education Foundation and the city’s recent innovative, Allies in Community. A 20-year resident, John has taken the time to help with school events, camps and teacher appreciation ceremonies. John said she desires to see Coppell have more programs that help the older generation share their knowledge with the community’s youth.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a state called “Kerala” in southern India. The name of the state means “the land of coconuts.” It is a place blessed with natural beauty and people come from far and wide to enjoy the resources. We have nature, mountains and rivers and backwaters, the ocean, tea gardens and coconut groves too, of course! This was where the European and Central Asian traders came to for spices centuries back.
What inspired you to get involved with Allies in Community?
I did not know much about Allies in the Community because this was the first time that the city of Coppell had overseen such an effort. But once I attended the first meeting it was clear that this was a one of a kind opportunity that allows short-term and long-term residents who live in Coppell to work together for the betterment of the community from the view point of community involvement by diverse groups of people from different countries, different races and different religions. How all of us could focus on the commonality between peoples rather than the differences.
What do you enjoy about serving your community?
Allies in Community allowed me to get to know my fellow partners at a deeper level. Made me realize that fundamentally we are all focused on the same basic needs of human kind, to be accepted by others, wanting to help others, supporting others and doing what you can for other human beings wherever they came from or whatever they did.
What's one thing you learned from serving on the Allies in Community committee?
I learned that we all have unconscious bias towards unfamiliar situations or people. Realizing that it exists is the first step towards accepting people or situations that are different from you or unfamiliar to you.
What are you passionate about?
I am very passionate about kids and the next generation. I strongly fee that the next generation holds the key to cohesiveness as opposed to divisiveness, acceptance as opposed to tolerance.
What programs/initiatives would you like to see happen in Coppell?
Most families move to Coppell for their kids and the close-knit community environment. Couple that with the purposeful effort by the city’s administration to promote servant leadership, our town has grown to where it is now. I would like to see more kids being involved in community building, of course under the guidance of the parents. And in the process also have programs that include the older generation because it is that generation’s hard work and extraordinary vision that built Coppell. We need to have programs that promote the older generation to impart their wisdom to the younger generations and programs that allow our elders to continue to live in Coppell because they love it here.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I have two kids in the school system and I occupy myself taking care of them and their activities, volunteering whenever and wherever I can. I am part of the Coppell ISD Education Foundation and attend GracePoint Church.
What's the most beautiful place you've ever been to?
Among the places I have been fortunate enough to visit, Bruge in Belgium still stands out in my mind. Old city, not too industrialized (that is when I had visited in the late 90s). Full of history and stories.
What's your favorite movie?
I do not get time to watch too many movies, but when I do, I tend to watch moves that have good morals, ones that we can learn something from or learn about other communities.
What are some things you like from your home country that you can't get here in the States?
Of course, I love all my spices. But close family and extended family is what I miss most.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
To not judge a book by its cover. Although I try to follow this diligently, I always find myself doing it at some small level and course correct myself all the time. My mother, who is no more, always stressed on being humble. She always told us, my brother and I, that “Humility is a virtue.” I hope as adults we make her proud by who we have become.