Kiara Kabbara has lived a full life ever since she stepped through SouthFair’s doors
It has only been six years since then-intern, Kiara Kabbara was working in SouthFair’s office. Since then, she has worked on a local campaign, won student body president three times, and recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. Kiara may be young, but her passion and aspiration to support her generation with valiant efforts have proved to be stepping stones, not just for her future, but for her community.
The Dallas-native watched as her passionate and driven mother was going through SouthFair’s affordable housing program when she decided that she, too, would like to help – so she did. Only 16 at the time, one of Kiara’s many projects would be to build the Lawe Library in SouthFair’s office where members of the community can drop or grab a book. Kiara was responsible for assembling the tribute that commemorated former Board Member, Theodore M. Lawe who passed away in 2015. Excited to be doing something creative, she noted that her internship was crafting several skills like time-management as well as fostering her creativity. A surprise to her as she thought it might be a more streamlined job. As she reflects on it now, she is impressed by the ability to be able to do multiple things. “It taught me I don’t have to limit myself. Now, I always tell myself to ’embrace my and.’”
Interning with SouthFair would open Kiara’s mind to see the value of serving community. During this time, Kiara would also realize that in helping SouthFair, she was helping her mom get one step closer to homeownership. Not too long after, as a senior in high school, she joined Justin Henry’s campaign as he ran for DISD School Board Trustee – this changed her viewpoint of politics. Kiara saw Justin Henry help Lincoln High School, her high school, and how he brought upon change. This instilled a hope in government and served as the perfect set up for her college career.
An Impressive College Career
With both a full ride to Texas Christian University and an offer to University of Texas at Austin, Kiara found herself in the capital. After tearing her ACL three times, she decided to trade in the basketball for a stethoscope and came into UT as pre-med, but things quickly changed.
Her freshman year summer she studied abroad in Costa Rica and Jerusalem, Israel and when she came back, it was with a bigger interest of knowing the relationship between religion and government. For Kiara, she understood where she needed to be and that Texas lawmakers needed helped. Not only did she change her area of focus but she changed the campus as well. Kiara, tapped into her entrepreneur skills and during her sophomore year she started an event called The Lounge, based on her favorite athlete, LeBron James’ show, The Shop: Uninterrupted. The event now hosts a black student business fair as well as performers. She hopes to bring The Lounge to schools closer to home like Paul Quinn and the University of North Texas. She wants to continue to help small business owners who want to engage or help her create successful events for black-owned entrepreneurship.
But that wasn’t all for the superstar. During her junior and senior years at UT, Kiara won a seat as the NAACP chapter president and student body president. She also began pioneering for athletes as they became eligible to make money from their own brand, championed several initiatives to change the climate of the campus, and most recently, graduated! So what is left for Kiara to do? So much!
When asked what making it and success meant for her, she kept her response simple: Doing what God has called her to do. Not big on materialistic things, Kiara believes that just having money and things does not guarantee a satisfied life. “True success is fulfilling God’s purpose in my life.”