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Sacramento hosts TEDx to celebrate youth

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Give your children pocketknives and let them play with fire. Let them deconstruct appliances, throw spears and drive a car, and trust them to develop necessary skill sets when given the tools.

These were just a few of the ideas shared with the crowd of 100-plus children and adults at the TEDxYouthDay event Saturday night in the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria.

TED is a small non-profit best known for its TED Talks and Podcasts that bring the worlds’ most innovative, entrepreneurial and inspirational speakers together to give the speech of their lives and share ideas worth spreading via global conferences and TEDx events.

The TEDx program brings TED talks to the local level as independently organized events perfect for cities such as Sacramento that want to become a part of the global conversation.

“TED events open up the mind,” said Internet marketer Nathan Chowilawu-Eshe.

“I liked the five rules you want your children to break because you know we try to keep our children safe and give them these boundaries when they’re young, and that safety is more for our benefit as parents,” Chowilawu-Eshe said. “It kind of stifles their ability to search and explore and find out things.”

The theme ran throughout that youth can and should be trusted with their abilities to be creative and innovative in ways that adults are unable. But one of the speakers, Jay Silver, dreamer and researcher at the MIT Media Lab, focused on just that: trusting children.

“I hope that the idea behind trusting children in your heart expands out, like a Care Bear Stare,” he said. “Kids are creative. Trust them.”

The youngest speaker was kid reporter Daniel Wetter, 14, who has interviewed names like Mayor Kevin Johnson and covered stories as newsworthy as the Haiti earthquake for the Scholastic Kids Press Corps. He is currently the only video journalist for Gold Country Media, which has newspapers throughout Placer County.

“Kids just need to get themselves out there,” Wetter said. “They will find success.”

Glitter & Razz Productions owner Lynn Johnson came all the way from Oakland for the presentation. As an advocate for youth education, she appreciated the piece on Flexbooks, the online and interactive textbooks, by Rivkah Sass of the Public Library.

“There are so many ways that the rest of the world gets information in much for flexible and dynamic ways, so why don’t we give that to children?” she said.

The night ended with a finale by the guys of Simple Jack, all under age 14, who blew the audience away with an energized and surprisingly awesome performance.

“Keep it real,” said Simple Jack’s Cole Aperson, 14. “You know like if you play an instrument you can put it to more use and join a band with your friends, or you can do it by yourself. It doesn’t really matter. It’s just sort of fun.”

Other musical performers included Sacramento's Doombird and 15-year-old Julianna Zachariou.

The talks from this event should be accessible via the TED website within the next two weeks, according to event organizer Brandon Weber.

Photos courtesy of Jeremiah Mayhew.

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