A lifetime highpoint – Benjamin has given a TED talk!
The title: Breaking Barriers of Autism: The Power of Kindness and Friendship.
Just over one year ago, Benjamin wrote, “One of my big dreams is to give my autism presentation in a football stadium or events center filled to the top with people – I want to make an impact like a meteor!” (See Choosing Kindness, February 2014 blog entry.) Benjamin’s dream has just been achieved – in a special way – by his participation in this year’s TEDX-CU event.
The 2015 theme: A Step Further. Eight wonderful speakers, eight fabulous topics—a range of subjects that would ordinarily not be found side-by-side. That’s the beauty of the TED concept: in the course of one evening, so many “ideas worth sharing,” with each 10-15 minute talk distilling the essence of an idea – a collection of focused and inspiring messages. Wow.
The grand venue: Stadium Club, adjoining CU’s Folsom Field (where football games and other events are held). High up, on the fifth floor with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, a ballroom with a bird’s-eye view of the stadium below. One wall of windows facing westward, taking in a breathtaking vista of front-range foothills. East-facing windows looking over nearby Boulder neighborhoods (dotted with blooming crabapple trees), with rolling plains and towns extending to the horizon. Late-afternoon sunshine filtering in. Hundreds of chairs set in rows, the grand window-views to left and right.
The familiar TED stage: a red circular carpet, lit by spotlights, waiting for each speaker’s moment of glory. A black velvet backdrop highlighting the TEDxCU logo. A large screen for projecting visuals at the left side. Facing the stage at three different locations: video cameras, ready to roll, recording from different angles – this evening’s speakers are presenting their ideas to the world. Every TED talk is posted on YouTube, available for the public to see, to learn from, to enjoy and share.
So Benjamin’s dream really has come true, transformed by the magic of TED: the football stadium, the packed live audience, the world reached through the internet – impact like a meteor. And Benjamin’s universally resonating message: Reach out, be kind, and break those barriers – extend kindness and friendship, and take this world a step further!
Deepest thanks and appreciation to the amazing TED-team that has worked tirelessly to make this highpoint possible! Passionately dedicated CU students: Mathew Talpe, Cory Finney, Jamie Finney, and Sammie Greenwald – organizing, mentoring, leading meetings and rehearsals, giving astute feedback, pushing each speaker to produce their very best. Plus invaluable input from professional speaker-coach, Andi O’Conor – available every step of the way. The two-months journey leading up to the big night has been amazing – collaboration amongst speakers and team on an ongoing basis, ever-present support and enthusiasm, insightful critical thinking, everyone open to suggestions for changes… You all have been the best – and we’ll remember this shared time together, for always, with joy!
May 4 update – link to Benjamin’s talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r05BUkOfOk8
Michael Wigge: Ring the Bell
Ryan McGranaghan: Living with a Star
Elizabeth Boese: Internet Has Killed Education as We Know It
Benjamin Tarasewicz: Breaking Barriers of Autism: The Power of Kindness & Friendship
Intermission – 20 minutes
Batya Greenwald: What Kindergarteners Taught Me About Gender
Peter Genuardi: Protecting Your Digital Soul
Mariam Shareefy: Learning to Rock-Climb in Afghanistan
Zack Kanter: Falling in Love with the Future