My TLG Story

The Think Like a Genius Challenge was one of the best life experiences I’ve ever had. Each of my abilities was put to the test to see if we could crush this Challenge. Many different types of life skills were introduced and highlighted in this Challenge. Through dedication, hard work, and time management, we were able to succeed in this challenge.

The very first thing we had to do in this challenge was to create a MeModel; which reflected who we are and the goals that we had in life. Creating those MeModels showed me that this challenge isn’t about how smart or intelligent you are and that you don’t have to be Albert Einstein to be a part of this Challenge, you can be anything you put your heart into. This motivated me to actually do my best in this Challenge and that life isn’t about how many things you can do. This was so important because we as a youth community often think of doing everything we can to impress others. After creating the MeModels, the next step in our TLG Challenge was to attend the Kickoff; where we were introduced to the Challenge process, created something called a WeModel, and worked together as a group to understand the key steps of our solution. 

When the Kickoff began, I was mesmerized by how the TLG Founders could come up with something so extraordinary that caters to the youth. The other thing that I really enjoyed was how the TLG Founders came and spoke to each and every group and asked what our plan was. This really brightened me up because it showed that no matter how accomplished you are, you can still talk to the youth community who often go unheard by adults. The final activity during the Kickoff was creating our WeModel to showcase how our solution will come to life. This was really cool because I thought that we wouldn’t be able to finish this in enough time, but it’s amazing to see what you can accomplish when you put different minds together. Planning out everything carefully and communicating with our different ideas and putting them together is an experience that will be with me forever.

After the Kickoff, all my abilities were put to the test. Our original solution was to create a mental health awareness rock in the city of Castle Rock and host an event to share mental health resources. We learned a lot in the process once we started reaching out to businesses and organizations for support. During the process our original idea shifted and we were able to survey people in our community to understand where they stood on the following questions: 

  • What is the biggest stress factor in your life?
  • What is “mental health?” 

From our survey results, we learned that mental health is a big aspect in people’s family and school life. 

During the Final TLG Challenge, we all were so scared of what we were going to say and what we actually were going to do. We didn’t even have a script ready or anything like that. We were so caught up that we even forgot to eat breakfast! We finally took everything slow as a team and identified the most crucial parts of the presentation and divided it up to see what each and every one of us was going to do. It was nerve-wracking to present because I had the constant thought in my mind of whether or not I was going to do a good job and if everyone would laugh at me. While we didn’t win the TLG Challenge, my team learned a lot during the process. We learned that working as a team and sharing our solution with the Challenge participants was the best kind of prize. 


Aarav Varma, Douglas County Healthy Youth Coalition

September 1, 2021