The application deadline for TEDxYouth@Toronto is fast approaching. If you have not applied yet, there is still time to do so.

For those that have already replied, we’d like to thank you for your insightful responses. After reading through the applications and learning more about you, it’s only fair if we, the outreach team, share a bit about ourselves. So here is our application to the conference!

Name

TEDxYouth@Toronto

Age

4 (fun fact: it’s our fourth year of hosting TEDxYouth@Toronto)

Twitter Handle

@TEDxYouthTO

Have you been to a previous TEDxYouth@Toronto?

Yes! 2010, 2011, 2012

A bit about us!

1. Tell us about the journey of your greatest or most rewarding discovery.

Robotics used to be about feeding my competitive beast. My philosophy changed when I returned as an alumnus to leverage my experiences in guiding students during the competition season. The simple-sounding task masked the fantastic reward: watching talented youth channel my gentle nudges as they grew tremendously during their high school years.

No words can describe the satisfaction I felt when a student (and good friend) thanked me for the six years we’d spent working together. It perpetuated my desire to continue to engage with youth while uncovering my greatest discovery: the monumental impacts that my simple actions can have. – Shankar [Outreach Coordinator]

2. If you could invite one person, historical or fictional, to be your dinner guest, who would it be and why?

It would have to be Steven Truscott. Long story short, Truscott was a Canadian who was wrongly sentenced to death at the age of 14. It wasn’t until 50 years later that he was finally acquitted.

I remember watching a documentary on him in high school, and it boggled my mind ( and still does) how such shaky evidence could be used against him, that he was 14 when he was charged for murder, and that he survived 50 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. His journey and his life now is one that I’d love to sit and listen to. – Kevin [Outreach Coordinator]

3. What is a challenge you see in your local community, and what initiatives have you taken to address them?

My university days are the most memorable times of my life. I was mesmerized by the diversity of ideas exploding on campus. Regardless of how controversial the concepts were, they were analyzed and discussed with respect within an open environment. This contrasted to my high school experience, which was dominated by cliques. While these cliques provided a strong social bond, they inadvertently encouraged a groupthink phenomenon which depressed the diversity of ideas.

That is why I joined TEDxYouth@Toronto 4 years ago. I want to help create the open environment of universities for a high school audience, for the high school me. – Kelvin [Co-Chair]

4. How have you engaged and affected your peers in the initiatives you’ve been involved in? Why do you think it is important for youth to be aware of these issues?

Since my early teens, I have been engaged in different organizations ranging from leadership programs to human rights awareness organizations including Journalists for Human Rights and Pride Toronto. I found my passion in learning about these issues, spreading awareness and making a difference. My peers became interested in what I was doing and eventually became involved too.

It’s significant for youth become aware and interested in different issues because from their participation, their awareness will grow, which will be accompanied with personal growth. Being exposed to these issues not only broaden views but gives one the opportunity to have dialogue and engage in creating a positive change in any issue in the community, country, and world. – Alleyna [Outreach Coordinator]