Tara continues to advocate for the rights and opportunities of vulnerable youths. She has served as Youth Relations Coordinator for the Southeastern Network of Youth and Family Services, Community Resource Coordinator and Fund Development manager for Girl Scouts of Citrus Council, and Mentor Coordinator for the U.S. Dream Academy. Tara received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business at Stetson University, a Masters of Science in Evidence-Based Social Intervention at the University of Oxford, and a Masters of Philosophy in Social Work at Columbia University. She currently is undertaking a PhD in Social Work at Columbia University. Her publications include:
Batista-Calderbank, Tara (2011). Measuring Implementation Fidelity in Independent Living Programs: A systematic review. http://ora.ouls.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid%3A1741efd3-164b-4cfc-be6e- 55d89896a894/datastreams/THESIS01.
Batista, Tara (2010) A Case for Evidence-Based Practice. Columbia Social Work Review, 1, 45-53. http://www.columbia.edu/cu/ssw/pdfs/sw-review/Vol1- CSWR-04-14-10.pdf.
As a teenager, Tara founded 61 C, Pinellas County’s first youth-empowered teen center, raising more than $195,000 in seed money. To raise further funds for the center, she and her colleague wrote a letter proposal to Eckerd Family Foundation which resulted in a $660,000 grant to build four other centers, making 61C the first youth empowered teen center chain in the state. At Stetson University, she co-initiated the Volusia County branch of a national youth philanthropy program called Youth As Resources (YAR). Together, with a few university students and local teens, Tara co-founded CAUSE, named “Florida’s best youth-outreach by any institution of higher education” by Florida Leader magazine.
Tara has traveled to twelve different countries and has conducted research and delivered social service programs all over the world. She worked with programs that help impoverished children and the environment in Guatemala. She was one of five students chosen in 2003 for a scholarship to conduct environmental fieldwork in Guatemala through the Alliance for International Reforestation Project (AIR). While in Guatemala, she conducted an informal feasibility study to aid in the creation of what would become the Guatemalan Youth Empowerment Project in 2005. She later wrote and received a grant for $5, 500 dollars for the project which engages more than 60 Guatemalan teens each week in leadership activities. In 2004, while studying in Spain, she taught English and won an internship at a public policy organization. She also raised funds and delivered youth programs for the Vieques Youth Leadership Initiative in Vieques, Puerto Rico. While in Oxford, Tara co-coordinated the first Forum for Youth Initiative, a 10-day conference funded by the European Union. The forum provided leadership skills aimed to foster European cohesion for Oxford and Albanian high school students. In 2011, Tara also traveled to Bogota and Barranquilla Colombia to conduct a needs assessment for the Youth Sports Management Exchange on behalf of Partners of the Americas.
Tara is currently president of Run 4 a Cause Foundation http://www.run4acause.org/. This foundation helps pay for youth in Central Florida to be able to afford to participate in sports. She is also working at the Workplace Center at Columbia University http://www.workplacecenter.org/
under the direction of Senior Research Scientist Lauren Gates. She is the lead Research Assistant on a 5-year Randomized Controlled Trial testing an Employment and Empowerment intervention for youth aging out of the foster care system in Rhode Island. Her dissertation will explore youth empowerment for young people in the foster care system.
Like many youths today, Tara faced and fought significant life trials with the help of caring mentors. Above all, she believes in order to solve society’s problems one must start with youth. Tara’s message is that her generation will change the world for the better.
Tara is an outstanding example of what makes Stetson graduates so special. In addition to her outstanding scholarship, Tara made the most of her time at Stetson taking in all that while simultaneously leaving an unforgettable legacy on campus and in the DeLand community. Please help us in celebrating this truly Noteworthy Hatter! Congratulations Tara!