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  • Writer's pictureAmit Banerjee

Hosting TEDxKids@SMU

This past weekend TEDxSMU held their TEDxKids@SMU and TEDxSMU conferences for the sixth year in a row. As usual the TEDTalks were marvelous and thought-provoking, but it was at the TEDxKids conference where I had a new connection with the speakers. I, alongside Kelly, Rives, and my friend, Olivia, co-hosted the event. It was so much fun talking with the presenters, figuring out what we were going to say next, meeting the kids while getting written on during the breaks. I always enjoy the Kids' conference (sometimes even more than the one for the adults) because they have so much energy. My favorite memory of the day was when I was in the stairwell next to the stage with Rives and Olivia, and, all of a sudden, Kelly opens the door with a happily worried face and says "Howard [Goldthwaine] just invited all of the kids on stage, so we're going to have to do a little bit of corralling". We walk outside and we see at least 300 kids on stage dancing the "can-can". Naturally, the four of us go out and begin dancing along until the end of Howard's talk. The kids loved every bit of the conference and knowing that I helped give them a show to enjoy made October 31, 2014 the best Halloween ever.

The next day at TEDxSMU, I volunteered for the second year in a row. Our jobs were to add to the environment whether physically through set up and take down, or mentally by mingling with the adult attendees and encouraging discussion on the talks. When I didn't have anything specific to do, I watched the astounding presentations. People like Alexander McLean told remarkable stories about the African prison and the hope he sees for inmate rehabilitation. Speakers like Cindy Dyer spoke about the courage that we need to bring an end to domestic abuse and the need for the population to speak up. Presenters like Andrew Sturm talked about cacoethes, the irresistable urge to do something inadvisable, and how it was this mindset that brought him to create a crosswalk in the Dolphin Heights neighborhood of Dallas. As usual, I was inspired to think differently. As usual, I reconnected with old friends and made new ones. As usual, I loved TEDxSMU2014

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