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  • Writer's pictureAmit Banerjee

My TEDxSMU Triple Crown

In 2011, my English teacher introduced us to TED talks and organized a field trip for our class to attend TEDxKIDS. I was excited to go see these people and even more so when I found out we would watch the conference in giant bean bags. After the first break, the kids were given the opportunity to introduce a speaker. I jumped at the chance to be on a TED stage. I asked around backstage and ended up meeting people like Sharon Lyle, Kelly Stoetzel, and Rives. Ultimately, I introduced Tali Marx, and experienced the rest of the conference ecstatically.

"If any audience members would like to a speaker, please come up to the stage during the break." That's what I hear Rives say as the 2011 TEDxKIDS conference reached its first break. I ran to the backstage area looking for Kelly and Rives because I wanted to do this so badly. I inadvertently met Sharon Lyle, the program director at the time. The next thing I knew, I was on the TED stage introducing Tali Marx. I was exhilarated. Lights on me. I couldn't believe what was happening to me.

In 2012, I was recognized for my efforts celebrating and inspiring philanthropy among youth with my magazine Philanthropy Kids and was invited to share my story and idea that you don't have to be rich or old to be a philanthropist at the TEDxKIDS conference. I almost instantly accepted and was looking forward to the TEDxKIDS stage one more time. On the day of the conference, I appear calm and collected until about 4 minutes before I am to get on stage. My body starts shaking, my temperature drops, I have amnesia, and I'm up next. Lewis Warren plays magnificently on the piano and I think to myself "I have to follow that". But I get up on the stage, and adrenaline kicks in: I feel great, I remember everything I wanted to say, and I knew that I could make a difference in these kids' lives.

I was now a part of the TEDxSMU team. I was the youth advocate, and at the 2013 TEDxSMU and TEDxKIDS conferences, I helpe the organization, Public City, with their Message in a Bottle project. My job was to encourage every audience member whether they were a kid or adult to write a message to be put into one of these bottles. Volunteering was my way of giving back to the organization that gave me wonderful opportunities.

Audience member - check

Presenter - check

Volunteer - check

This is what I call the TEDxSMU triple crown.

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