7 Quick Takes -Tedx edition



I was invited to attend TEDx Orange Coast at Segerstrom Center of the Arts.  I could bring a friend, so my best friend, Sky went with me.

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design.  There are two big 4- day TED conferences each year, and then there are smaller, locally planned, 1 day conferences called TEDx.  TED  brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less). TEDx does the same, but in a local venue, organized by local people. The theme this year was: Redefining Relevance.

The photo above is is Jazz musician Ray Goren who is 12 years old.  Wow.



Our introduction to TED was through Ted Talks online.  Ted Talks are a way to share what TED is, a way to share the world's most inspiring voices.  Sky found TED talks online, and would come home and share them with me and the kids.   I didn't know how it would all work when we got to TEDx, I thought we would move around and pick the talks we were interested in.  Instead, everyone went to the main concert hall and each speaker followed each other with a few breaks in between.  It was like listening to a college professor lecture,  a lecture where the speaker was sharing their biggest passion to you.  It was very easy to listen to, and easy to capture the inspiration.

The sign we are standing next to above was made by Ryan McCann, retired quarterback for the UCLA Bruins.  He makes art using fire. His wooden portrait "Coach" can be seen at the UCLA Hall of Fame.


My favorite speaker was Jack Andraka, a 15-year-old high school student who invented an accurate and inexpensive test for early detection of pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancers.  He began searching for a way to test for pancreatic cancer after loved ones died of the disease.  He decided to find away to test for a certain protein and then had to research through thousands of protein to find a likely candidate.  Next, once he found his protein and researched a way to test for it, he had to convince University professors to lend him a lab.  It all sounded impossible, but he did it.  He had this message for teens on facebook:  "We don't want to see your duck-face photos, instead, you can be changing the world or curing pancreatic cancer."



The lovely ladies/beekeepers from Backyard Bees had a table in the lobby.  They make and sell honey products, rescue/remove/re-home bee hives and manage hives.  Sky has a big interest in keeping bees, but our lovely, golden neighbor is allergic to bees, so we don't have a hive.  Maybe someday. Did I mention that they are local?  One of the ladies lives in my neighborhood.  :)


Other favorite speakers:

*Nigel Nisbet.  A Mathematics teacher from England.  Moving to the U.S. and teaching his first highschool class here was a bit of a negative revelation.  He finally had success with a bar of chocolate...{he had my attention there!}  He moved into challenging his students to think about something they can touch, feel, and smell.  He had such success in the classroom that he became the Mathematics Specialist for LAUSD; instructing other teachers how to teach Math effectively.  From there he moved on to the nonprofit MIND research Institute.  He is working on using a computer game that is fun, engaging, visual and interactive to teach students Math.  The game looked good- I'm hoping for a homeschool version someday :)

He spoke about teaching students effectively, teaching them to think in Math.  The hands-on aspect of his talk spoke to this homeschool mom.  I hunted him down afterwards and tried to put in a pitch for smart, determined homeschool moms everywhere.

*Lara Lee, named a "Master of Innovation" by BusinessWeek...smart, positive woman.  She said "Channel your fear. If you want to change directions, you need to lean into it."  She was referencing riding a motorcycle and how you have to lean into the turns, and how the faster you are going, the more you have to lean...which can be really scary at first.

*Pascal Finette,  he talked about Chaord: Chaos and Organization.  He said to participate in the culture, and not be only a consumer, but a producer.  "It is those who participate that will create change."  He also said, "Let go of something to make room for something."  He said a lot more that I wrote down, but I'll stop now...hopefully soon I will be able to link to their recorded talks.

*Reggie Littlejohn, former high-power attorney who now leads the fight in combating abortion, gendercide and sex trafficking in China. She represents Chinese refugees in their political asylum cases and is President of Women's Rights without Frontiers.  She is actively working to change things for women in China.



Mike Kenyon from Free Wheelchair Mission spoke.  They provide wheelchairs for the disabled poor in the developing world. He spoke about being on a mission trip with his church and realizing that the disabled were totally invisible in poor countries because the could not move about and were often left alone in small, dark homes or even laying out on the streets.  In his talk, he said, to "focus on one need, one issue" and "go out there and make a difference because out there is someone who needs you." I had the chance to talk to a representative of Free Wheelchair Mission and learned about how they make and ship the wheelchairs.  They are really ingenious.  The seats come off, and are like regular backyard plastic chairs, except thicker and stronger.  The rest of the wheelchair comes apart and is shipped in flat boxes.  The wheels are bicycle wheels, better suited to rough/uneven terrain and easy to fix or replace.  There is a bicycle pump on the back and a patch kit for easy repairs.  They also have a second model for children that is more adjustable.  This mission really spoke to my heart because my stepmother has to use a wheelchair most of the time now.  Her wheelchair is electric and very well-made and very much a necessity.  I can't imagine not having access to a good wheelchair like so many of the disabled in poor countries.  I think this is a charity well worth giving to.


All in all, it was an amazing day.  It was one of those experiences where your sleepy brain wakes up and comes to attention.  I haven't felt so challenged and stimulated to go out and be part of the change since I was in college.  As an adult with a full life of family and duties and cares...it's kind of easy to get into a comfortable routine.  I liked how TEDx challenged me to think deeply about things I hadn't really thought a lot about.  I hope we can attend next year.

*7 Quick Takes is hosted every Friday over at Conversion Diary. Click over to join up!