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State Honoree

Photo of State Honoree Tanya Keskar

Tanya Keskar

Mason, Ohio

Tanya Keskar, 13, of Mason, Ohio, an eighth-grader at Mason Middle School, built a website to raise awareness of the poverty she had witnessed in the slums of India, and hosted an event that brought in $1,000 to cover a full year of education expenses for 40 Indian children. Before Tanya visited several slums on a family trip to India, she had no idea that some people lived in such poverty. “The people were living without proper schools, roads, houses, food, electricity, and opportunity,” she said. “It was so sad.” Then, she added, “I realized that I had all the resources I needed to make a difference. I knew I had to help them.”

Upon returning home, Tanya founded a nonprofit organization called “Realize to Act,” and created a website describing her experience in India with words, photos and videos. Afterward, she decided to host a “giving event” to further increase awareness of poverty in India, and to raise money for the education of children there. With help from her parents, Tanya designed promotional fliers, secured sponsors, booked a venue, lined up multiple speakers, sold tickets and served as master of ceremonies. Proceeds from the event were donated to an organization that works to educate Indian children in need and break the cycle of poverty. “What is the point of life?” Tanya asks. “I believe it is to help our world. If we all work together to make the world a little bit better, imagine how beautiful it could be.”