Inspiring local communities through TEDx

ASTEP was invited to present at the TEDxYouthDay event on November 19, 2011 at The School at Columbia University. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, the well-known TED conference created TEDx so local communities could spark deep discussions and share a TED-like experience. The theme for TEDxYouthDay 2011 was Play, Learn, Build & Share,  and ASTEP’s Mauricio Salgado presented A Call to Action to highlight creative ways to inspire curiosity and empower young leaders. Read below for his account of the day’s events:

Twelve presenters, including Charles Wilson (author of Chew On This) and Dickson Despommier (author of The Vertical Farm), shared innovative ideas and projects to encourage aspiring middle school students to make positive change in their lives and communities.

For my presentation, I adapted stories shared by ASTEP students and alum during the A Story per Step Campaign to relate the power of story-telling and what it can embody. After the presentation, I received help from a group of ASTEP volunteers–Will Clark, Laura Mead, John Egan, Dion Mucciacito, and Slaveya Starkov–to facilitate a story-telling workshop for students and parents. Both ASTEP presentations were received very positively by the community and a handful of people expressed interest in connecting with ASTEP in the future. Most importantly, I was honored to have 9 ASTEP members and supporters present, including Joe Norton (the Director of Educational Outreach for Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS).

The piece I performed was co-created by Alejandro Rodriguez, Slaveya Starkov, Cindy Salgado and myself. At the core of the piece is the following story:

Truth, naked and cold, had been turned away from every door in the village. Her nakedness frightened the people. When Parable found her, she was huddled in a corner, shivering and hungry. Taking pity on her, Parable gathered her up and took her home. There, she dressed Truth in story, warmed her and sent her out again; clothed in story. Truth knocked again at the villagers’ doors and was readily welcomed into the people’s houses. They invited her to eat at their table and warm herself by their fire.

Thank you to Karen Blumberg and The School at Columbia University for including ASTEP in this rewarding community building experience.