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The message is not spoken, but written, chalk-scrawled on a bubble-shaped blackboard while the three boys smile at the camera manned by an Outside the Lens Youth Councilor, making humorous hand gestures. Their grins may have been comedic, but their message is true and solemn. It may not have meant much to them at the time, but by the end of their TEDxYouth day, the three walk out with fresh minds and open hearts, open to the world around them. They have been exposed to awe-inspiring stories that may have changed their views of the world around them, and the people inside it. And most of all, they are the architects of the future.
TEDxYouth is inspired to spread “ideas worth spreading.” The interactive photo booth run by Outside the Lens, a local San Diego nonprofit dedicated to teaching youth to tell their stories through digital media, prompts the TEDxYouth students to write their thoughts on a small speech-bubble shaped chalkboard, asking: “What’s your BIG IDEA?” Then, the thinker/dreamer/creator takes their idea to a whole new level: getting it photographed so all the world can see.
Working the Outside the Lens photo booth introduced me to many new people as well as their big ideas. While some were cute and funny, others touched upon serious global issues like healthcare, equality, and education. It was refreshing to see so much creativity and mutual love from complete strangers. And, as the day was regrettably coming to a bittersweet end, I realized that it didn’t matter whether or not I knew these people individually. It didn’t even matter that I probably will not see them again. Since we are all the future, we all have to work together to make a difference. Without people like the students I met while running the Outside the Lens photo booth at TEDx, there wouldn’t be a TEDxYouth in San Diego. There wouldn’t even be a future for us because we are the future. We are the ones that have the task of making a difference and building our futures. And, we’ve already taken the first step in becoming an architect of the future, listening to the ideas that will help us shape our world.
Name: Morgan Chen, 858Teen Contributor and Member of Outside the Lens
School: The Bishop’s School in La Jolla
Fun Facts: She has written two articles for literary magazine, Teen Ink, and has published some poems in youth anthologies. She describes herself as a “storyteller” because she loves creating and telling stories.
Favorites: She loves books and is a die-hard fan of Harry Potter (she is the head of the Harry Potter Club at her school). Her favorite band is Panic! At the Disco and she loves watching Glee. She’s a theatre geek as well, and she hopes to one day see all of her favorite actors on Broadway.
Interests: Besides writing and reading, Morgan enjoys music and plays the piano and the guitar. Her favorite band is Panic! At the Disco and she loves watching Glee. She’s a theatre geek as well, and . In her spare time she likes to learn photography.