Life After Uplift: The Story of Tanaka Tava

Life After Uplift provides an in-depth look at what Uplift Education alumni experience after graduating and going off into the real world.    

“I remember the night when my mom woke me up screaming that I got into North Hills and how big of a deal that was,” Tanaka said. “To see that excitement, it was great; I was excited because she was excited.”  

Tanaka Tava, a senior majoring in Theater Arts and Pre-Med at Baylor University in Waco, credits his time at Uplift North Hills for providing the foundation and fundamental skillset necessary in today’s day and age.  

“Uplift North Hills provided me the opportunity to be around so many different people from different backgrounds, and that left an imprint on me to be a more globally-minded person,” Tanaka said. “As corny as it sounds, the IB learner profile traits prepared me as I transitioned into the college experience. Uplift does an incredible job of preparing students to reach their full potential through academic readiness and collegiate preparation.”  

It’s that globally-minded mentality that help drive Tanaka today. Through a connection he made at Baylor, he helped form a team led by African Americans breaking through into the tech industry.  

“It’s powerful. If no one is able to see themselves, you can’t strive for anything. You won’t be able to have at least a benchmark,” Tanaka said as he explains why representation is such a key component of human development. “As part of my psychology classes, I’ve learned that you’re more likely to do something if you’re able to capture it mentally. That idea of attainability helps provide neurons in the brain that creates a chemical reaction that helps motivate and inspires you.”  

He and his friends got together and thought of an idea to create something that can help other people, and they wanted to do it in a way that would be fun but different. And thus, “Videloo” was born.  

Tanaka describes the soon-to-be-released app as a live streaming application that helps bring people together. Instead of being glued to their phones, Videloo will encourage users to flip the camera and help people see what’s going on and provide a more authentic view of the world.  

“Videloo came out of my experience of watching human behavior and seeing what’s missing in the world and how we can provide a service to the world,” Tanaka said. “Every big thing starts as a hobby, and now that hobby has turned into a crazy reality.”  

That technology-driven hobby first started back when Tanaka was just three years old as he and his friend would spend hours playing the Legend of Zelda on the Nintendo Game Cube.   

“From working on a Windows 98 PC to now, I’ve always been in awe of how things work and how they function,” Tanaka said. “However, I never really took coding seriously up until last year during the pandemic. I always dabbled, I played video games or made video games with my friends, as part of the high school journalism club and animation club at North Hills, but it wasn’t until last March that I decided to get serious about it.”  

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the entire country to be locked down, but it also allowed people to explore different hobbies and interests. Tanaka saw his opportunity and seized it.   

“I love media, I love technology, and I love the benefits it can bring to society,” Tanaka said. “I thought to myself, the future is coming, and I saw how the media and entertainment industry was effectively shut down due to COVID-19; let me at least learn how to code well, start understanding these languages and become self-taught. I took courses, and I had the drive and initiative to really understand the inner workings and engineering behind it.”  

“We’re very, very blessed and humble because, for a lot of people, they don’t have a chance to get this far. We don’t take any day for granted. Every day is day 1,” Tanaka said. “It’s crazy. This whole experience is crazy. As Chief Information Officer, I am in charge of the technical side. I coded the first version of the app which eventually led to the development of the finalized app by a third party. I am also the one who talks to the audience and the bridge to the public, the company’s spokesperson. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also incredibly rewarding and humbling.”  

Once people sign up for the beta list, they will have their spot and username reserved for the beta launch in April 2021. Users can expect to receive a welcoming email telling them what they have in store, and they’ll be encouraged to spread the word to their friends and family.  

“People think it’s the downloads, or the metrics, or the amount of money; those are just rewards of excellence. I believe in the philosophy that money and all those things are a byproduct of the passion that you put in,” Tanaka said. “The most important thing is that we saw people feeling isolated and confused, and we set out to bring a little bit more clarity in a way that is tangible, convenient, authentic, and human. For me, and honestly for the team, the greatest primer of success is the fact that someone’s life has changed because we made them smile.”  

Videloo’s mission is simple; they want to bring people back together. Their company’s mottos, “Blending search and social like never before,” and “Using technology as a tool to heal, bridge the gap and live again,” echo those sentiments.   

“We’re super excited for people to visit Videloo.com, sign up, and get on the waitlist. We’re working on a documentary showcasing the process that will premiere in March, the beta is scheduled to release in April, and the app will launch to the public in August 2021,” Tanaka said. “The future is now!”  

Are you an Uplift Alumni who wants to be featured on Life After Uplift? Please email us at marketing@uplifteducation.org. We would LOVE to share your story with all our scholars, families, alumni, and staff! 

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