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TEDxYouth@FortGarry inspires

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Around 33 Manitoba schools were brought together Wednesday for a day of enlightenment at the TEDxYouth @Fort Garry event.

TED (Technology, Education, and Design) events are all about "ideas worth sharing."

Organized all over the world, events are put on to stimulate dialogue in communities.  
TEDxYouth @ Fort Garry was the first-ever TED youth event in Manitoba.  The youth days consist of young speakers telling their stories and speaking to other youth.

Matt Henderson, organizer of the Fort Garry event and teacher at St. John’s-Ravenscourt School, spoke at a TED event and thought it would be a good idea to let kids share their stories and educate other students.

"Our theme was sharing space and rising to challenges," said Henderson. "Winnipeg is a pretty diverse place but because of that, we’re all trying to share space and there are wrinkles with that. So all of these people are coming together to share ideas about how they’ve built community, they’ve brought community together, and or overcome some pretty massive challenges."

One speaker that overcame massive challenges was Muuxi Adam.  At age 16, Adam escaped war-torn Mogadishu, Somalia. His story really affected St. John’s-Ravencourt’s Grade 11 students Sarah Teillet and Leah Chochinov.

"His experience being in a refugee camp, and his take on how education can cure or help everything, it says so much (about) how not having education is detrimental to the rest of your life," said Teillet. "I was tearing up during his talk, it was amazing."

"I just remember looking around at the crowd and seeing how captivated they were," said Chochinov. "It was pretty amazing to see what impression you can have, even if it’s for 30 minutes."

Max Brodovshy-Yager, a 16-year-old Grade 11 student from Gray Academy of Jewish Education in Tuxedo, spoke last about his experiences in Kenya.  

"It was mostly about not taking things for granted," said Chochinov. "Being grateful and noticing things around you."

St. John’s-Ravenscourt’s own Hannah Taylor also spoke about simple truths at the event. Taylor founded The Ladybug Foundation when she was eight years old after seeing a man eating out of a garbage dumpster.

Today, the foundation spreads awareness and raises fund to assist operating charitable organizations which support homeless people in Canada.

"I liked Hannah’s idea of simple truths," said Grade 11 student Lisa Popplewell. "You don’t have to be special to do something, you just need that one passion and action to take it forward."

Overall Henderson said the day was a huge success, and there are plans for another TEDxYouth event next year. Henderson estimates there were 100 students present and 400 streaming in over the Internet for this event.

A unique but more regular occurrence during part of the day was the interaction online. During the day students were asked to blog and tweet about what they had learned.

Teillet was in charge of making sure speakers were also blogging after the event so other students could ask them questions.

"The most common thing with all the speakers was just how much they cared about what they were talking about," said Chochinov. "It just sort of reminds you that you can care that much and that it actually matters. Sometimes you can forget or somebody tells you can’t do something, but obviously you can."

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