Archive | November, 2012

Why We Need to Say Yes to Young People

16 Nov

Who goes to school, when they’re exhausted from work, on a night when they don’t even have class?

THIS GIRL. Right here. Yea, me.

All I wanted to do tonight was curl up in bed and eat ice cream. But no, I didn’t go do that. Instead, I dragged myself to my college campus because my school is pretty awesome and hosted TedxFIU.

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know how much I love Ted Talks. So obviously, when I heard that FIU would be hosting their very own Tedx event, I knew I had to be there.

And I’m certainly glad I was.

Alot of great speakers presented.

They also served FREE FOOD, which is really all that’s necessary to make a college event successful.

But what I loved the most about this event was hearing from two young students who have sought to change the world.

Philip Koenig is the founder of a local non-profit organization, Leading Miami, which teaches middle school students about leadership through a series of leadership development workshops hosted at schools throughout Miami-Dade County. He also has a British accent, just saying.

Ximena Prugue, at the age of just 19, became the founder of Giving the Green Light, a non-profit organization which seeks to alleviate energy poverty by replacing kerosene lamps in India with solar powered lighting. She’s also friends with a lot my friends, so I’m sure I’ve stalked her on Facebook at some point. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’ve stalked her multiple times. That’s what Facebook’s for.

But really…

Philip and Ximena are amazing young people who are making a difference.

Looking around the room as they spoke, it was obvious how much they were inspiring others. It was evident, without a doubt in my mind, that many of those college students listening to them tonight aspire to accomplish great things too.

In their talks, they both mentioned how their achievements started off as simple ideas. These ideas were then pitched to organizations and individuals. Their countless e-mails and phone calls more often than not, went unanswered.

People thought they were crazy (in case you missed the memo…the good ones always are).

For the most part, people seemed to dismiss their ideas because they were young and inexperienced.

Now, imagine if no one had given Philip or Ximena the time of day…

Imagine if no one had listened to them…

Imagine if they had received ZERO support…

The impact they’ve made on the lives of so many people would have been impossible.

So basically, here’s what I’m trying to say:

I’m tired of society saying no to young people.

Instead of listening to and supporting the ideas that many young people are bringing to our attention, we’re doing the opposite. We’re not taking their phone calls. We’re ignoring their e-mails. We’re not looking for ways to help.

And it’s sad.

Because there are a lot of people like Philip, like Ximena, who want to make a difference.

We NEED those people.

Our society can’t afford for good ideas to be continually shut down.

So the next time that you hear of a young person who has a dream, who has an idea, who wants to make an impact, see if you can help them. See if you can guide them. If YOU can’t, introduce them to someone who CAN.

There is nothing more powerful than a young mind.

So find a way to say yes. Find a way to help make a difference.

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