Witnessing a child who held his head down in class start to encourage others after a success is the cycle of growth that Dr. Tara Miller hoped to see. “That was a victory for me,” said Dr. Tara Miller, Director of Choose U 365, a Palmetto-based non-profit organization dedicated to helping others gain self-confidence while learning.
One week children in Choose U 365’s after school STEM program built and flew paper air planes. After the first test flight, the kids could make one alteration. One boy didn’t make any changes to his plane. “When he didn’t alter his plane, he noticed his plane started to soar further than the other ones. I saw him starting to encourage other people. This was the same kid who would hold his head down every class,” she said.
Before Choose U 365 began in 2017, Miller and her colleagues noticed concerns with their students. “It wasn’t just the issues with learning as far as reading, math and writing. If they had confidence within themselves, then the learning component was a lot easier,” she said. “If I see you with your head hung low, then I need you to remember to choose yourself and lift your head up high. That was the origin of Choose U 365’s name.”
Miller’s goal is to teach children through applying skills to their everyday lives. “You see numbers every day, even if it’s going to the store and giving the man a dollar and him giving you back two quarters.” Alongside directing Choose U 365, Miller is a clinician specializing in psychotherapy. “We go into the schools; we go into the homes; and of course, individuals come into the office. Wherever there is a need to be met, we’ll be there,” she said.
Currently, the organization focuses its efforts on children from 5th to 8th grades from the northern part of Coweta County up through South Fulton County. Choose U 365 operates a STEM program in schools, an after-school STEM program, a self-confidence camp and a reading camp. There is also an athletics component.
“My hope and dream would be to see a family center out of this,” said Miller. “To help children, we have to help the adults become equipped to help the children,” she said. Miller wants to see a facility that hosts family-friendly activities, so parents and children can learn topics such as financial literacy, sustainable living, athletics and even foreign languages.
Like most small non-profits, Choose U 365 could use more donations to help their students as well as more dedicated, consistent volunteers. “And of course, I would love to have a whole building as a family center,” added Miller.
One way you can become a consistent donor to Choose U 365, and many other local organizations, is through Operation Round-Up. By agreeing to round up your monthly electric bill, your pennies can add up to sizable donations, making a big difference for organizations like Choose U 365.
In July, Coweta-Fayette EMC gave Choose U 365 an Operation Round-up grant to help with their STEM Program.