With play comes discovery

In my previous post I explained how I let my dreams out of their cage and decided to have fun on Twitter promoting the TEDChildren idea. Let me pick up the story where I left off. It was awesome to see people all over the world noticing my little experiment and showing their support! What felt like a silly game brought me lots of encouragement to keep on dreaming. Until the branding police came in two weeks later and asked me to stop, that is. What an "adult" thing to do, I thought -- once the game is seen as a risk for the kids to break something, we put a stop to it. I decided not to be discouraged! For the first time in my life, I have decided to become an activist. Passively cheering for a change from the sidewalk was no longer an option. Even rallying the crowds from the back with a hope someone will jump in front and lead didn't seem appealing. In my career in software development I have always preferred to be at the driver's seat during changes. Why, until that point, this was not the case when it comes to my passions outside work is beyond explanation to me! So, what happened? Well, first, I decided that to make an impact, I needed a platform. This is how World4Children, an organization whose goal is to provide opportunities for kids to apply their passions and empower them in their own learning, was born. It is a long term project that I am really excited about! At the same time, my TEDChildren experiment gave me a chance to better understand the community and the values behind TED as a platform. I learned that TED as an organization trully realizes the power of ideas and they thread softly when someone lays their dreams beneath their feet! I have been encouraged by many people in the TED organization and community to pursue my dream by using the platform they built for people to bring ideas worth spreading to their local communities -- TEDx. So, TEDxKids@BC was born! At the end of 2010, I found myself with a license to organize TEDxKids@BC in one hand and a certificate for World4Children as a non-profit society in the other. I could not have predicted the outcome even in my wildest dreams so much as a year earlier! If my year was a bucket -- as I mused in my first-ever attempt at poetry -- it was overflowing and I needed help! ;-) Which brings me to you, dear reader! Even though TEDxKids@BC have grown since the "one person playing on Twitter" days, we still need all the help we can get from our community! If you are an adult, I am looking for you to help us make a difference for our kids. Help us encourage their dreams and empower them in following them. Help us spread the message of those who are already doing this -- of whom we hope to show some at the TEDxKids@BC stage! If you are child, I am begging you make your voice heard. I am asking you to never stop dreaming. The future ahead of you is unknown and the only way to deal with it is to learn. You are not here to become someone else, you're here to find out who you truly are! I once wrote this for World4Children, but I think it applies equally to TEDxKids@BC: “My vision for World4Children is to be (and remain!) first and foremost an idea! An idea that can inspire! An idea of a world in which passion, creativity, critical thinking and other 21st century skills will be valued above everything else and fostered in our kids at a young age. An idea of a society teaching their kids social intelligence, compassion, and embracing diversity. An idea that is worth spreading!!” The main difference between the two organizations is that TEDxKids@BC is a platform to facilitate connections leading to opportunities for empowering kids in their learning and helping them apply their passions, while World4Children should grow into a platform that should provide such opportunities.
"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." — Dr. Seuss


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