As a teen with innovative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit, you may run into some resistance from naysayers who dismiss you as being too young. On the flipside, you may hear some people say, “Teens are our future.” Both sentiments are missing the mark. Teens everywhere are introducing and implementing concepts that are changing the world now.
If you’ve been following TEDxTeen, even just a little bit, you probably already know your peers are making a difference all over the world. On May 16th of this year, New York City is hosting TEDxTeen, which is celebrating its five-year anniversary.
So far, 13 accomplished speakers are scheduled to give presentations on a variety of topics relevant to the world we now live in, with a focus on how bold, sophisticated, and complex ideas can be the most effective when executed with absolute simplicity. Among the presenters are a number of teens, as well as entrepreneurs who culled success during their teenage years, who are passionate about actively changing the world.
Check out a few of the notable participants:
Caitlin Haacke: Sixteen years old and the creator of Positive Post-It Day, Haacke founded what’s now a globally celebrated event to promote awareness and a stance against bullying. She’s been featured on CBC newsstand, and the segment garnered over four million views. As an advocate, Haacke has spoken to thousands of people, established herself on the chair of her city’s Youth Council, and volunteered and fundraised for a number of community-oriented charities.
David Mace: A heavy-weight innovator at 17 years old, Mace was published in ACM Intelligent User Interfaces with his groundbreaking machine-learning technique that’s used to classify gesture interface motions. At 18, he became a national asset, selling the United States government a war-prediction algorithm valuable for international aid efforts.
Mihir Garimella: Currently attending high school in Pennsylvania, Garimella creates low-cost flying robots to aid search and rescue teams. Other flying robot work has won him two awards, as well as prestige, at the Google Science Fair. His other innovations include building a robotic violin tuner, writing an image-processing program to assist doctors in diagnosing brain tumors, and fashioning a tool that embeds smells into movie clips. But it doesn’t stop there! He’s also created academic technical tools that are being used by hundreds, including CiteIt and Classroom.
Xavier Di Petta: As an 18-year-old with an idea, Di Petta promoted his vision to a few large companies that invested two million dollars in him, enabling Di Petta to found digital-media company All Day Media. All Day Media utilizes various social media platforms to convey news and media content to the world via images, with the goal of educating all ages in history, science, and culture. His vision translated into international renown, with an online following of over 25 million.
If you’re an ambitious teen, there’s nothing more inspiring as hearing stories of success from peers, such as those presenting at TEDxTeen on May 15th. There’s a whole community of young entrepreneurs striving to implement their huge ideas and affect a positive global change. If you’re one of them, start making your own moves now! A terrific way to get involved is by attending Camp Inc., our Jewish summer camp, which specializes in fostering the growth of teenage innovators through technology, community, and hands-on practical experience.