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Neighbors
Plant City Observer Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016 1 year ago

Helping students through vision boards

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Kiara Tolliver, who grew up in Plant City, came from New York City to visit Dover Elementary School. The goal: to inspire students with vision boards.

By Casey Jeanite
Staff Intern

Pinterest is a place where one can pin photos of food, fashion, decor, quotes, people and things they find inspiring. Each board lives on the internet. 

Kiara Tolliver

But outside the realm of social media, Kiara Tolliver brings her inspirations to life through physical vision boards. On a poster board in 2011, she glued scenery from New York City and ideas for Sheen, a beauty magazine. 

Now, Tolliver lives in New York City. She is pursuing journalism and working with Sheen.

As she sees her dreams come to fruition, she desires to spread vision boards to promote positivity among youth. 

She got that chance Friday, Sept. 30, when she visited a fifth grade class at Dover Elementary School. Tolliver taught the students how to create their own vision boards and to chase their dreams. 

“I think that inspired me more than it inspired them,” Tolliver said.

The Road to her Fate

Tolliver was born in Lakeland and raised in Plant City. 

She studied communication at University of Florida. There, she hosted events, fashion shows and a radio show. Tolliver also held positions at WiLD 94.1, 95.7 The Beat and FOX 13.

She started her vision board in college. 

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in communication from USF in 2014, she deferred her dreams because of family issues.

But Tolliver did end up making the move to New York City after college. 

Her first month in New York City was a struggle. After couch surfing, Tolliver caught the wave she was searching for when she received the opportunity to do an interview for OWN network.

“Just living in New York I can tell you that I’ve tapped into so many emotions” Tolliver said. “I knew I was a strong person, but I didn’t know that I was that strong. I wanted to give up, but I knew my purpose is bigger than me, so I just kept pushing myself.”

Even with all of the hustle and bustle of New York, Tolliver couldn’t forget about her community. She pulled out her unfinished vision board and decided it would be a good experience for her to finish it with students at Dover Elementary School. 

Tolliver’s finished vision board features some of her mentors, such as Tamron Hall, Oprah Winfrey, Wendy Williams and Kelly Ripa: all of whom she has been able to meet.

“Whenever you’re living in small towns like Plant City or Lakeland, it’s like most people aren’t inspired enough to get out and see what’s out there,” Tolliver said. “I just want them to know that there are so many possibilities in the world.”

Up next: Tolliver would like to launch XO Kiara Collabs to bring vision boards to schools and nonprofits around the United States. 

 “Why not wake up every morning and look at your vision board?” Tolliver said.

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