I was thrilled to attend the TEDx Youth talks this weekend. Where to begin?! I was impressed with the entire event and the speakers had me in stitches and I even misted up during some of the talks. I will admit to some of my biases with the speakers, as they were current or former at UVIC, where I work. Regardless, I think they all did a fabulous job sharing their stories in such an engaging manner.
If they represent the future, we are in good hands. The level of public speaking ease and topics combined to make a magical evening for the 100 plus attendees. The audience was mostly youth and it was also inspiring to see so many current of former university students in attendance. What great energy in the room! My hat is off to the co-organizers: Melana Mar, Janine Mayers, and Dustin Meredith. Shawn Slavin worked as the master of ceremonies and had a comfortable ease as he introduced each speaker.
The 12 speakers at the event varied from an amazing 13 year old, Gavin Kratz, who maturely explained that his generation will solve many problems. I could not help but smile at his optimism, as it was infectious and honest. I think I was most touched by Lilia Zaharieva’s talk about starting a non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting youth who have a parent struggling with mental illness. Zaharieva has Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and acknowledged that most people with CF live at most only until their forties. I gasped when it hit me that without a cure she’s probably lived half of her life. Just typing out that sentence gives me pause. What strength.
What an amazing array of youth! They inspired and entertained. I am hopeful that the people in attendance left the event enthused for tomorrow. I know I felt that way. And, I kicked myself in the rear for not getting tickets for my own teen and one of her friends.
In the spirit of giving a shout out to the UVIC students or former students:
Ali Lee, UVIC Student and Athlete
Brandaon Laur, UVIC Student
Shawn Slavin, UVIC Student
Jacob Helliwell, UVIC Student
Lilia Zaharieva, UVIC Student
If you haven’t ever attended a local TED talk, I encourage you to do so. And, remember that TED Talks are available online.