Why We Need to Say Yes to Young People

16 Nov

Who goes to school, when they’re exhausted from work, on a night when they don’t even have class?

THIS GIRL. Right here. Yea, me.

All I wanted to do tonight was curl up in bed and eat ice cream. But no, I didn’t go do that. Instead, I dragged myself to my college campus because my school is pretty awesome and hosted TedxFIU.

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know how much I love Ted Talks. So obviously, when I heard that FIU would be hosting their very own Tedx event, I knew I had to be there.

And I’m certainly glad I was.

Alot of great speakers presented.

They also served FREE FOOD, which is really all that’s necessary to make a college event successful.

But what I loved the most about this event was hearing from two young students who have sought to change the world.

Philip Koenig is the founder of a local non-profit organization, Leading Miami, which teaches middle school students about leadership through a series of leadership development workshops hosted at schools throughout Miami-Dade County. He also has a British accent, just saying.

Ximena Prugue, at the age of just 19, became the founder of Giving the Green Light, a non-profit organization which seeks to alleviate energy poverty by replacing kerosene lamps in India with solar powered lighting. She’s also friends with a lot my friends, so I’m sure I’ve stalked her on Facebook at some point. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’ve stalked her multiple times. That’s what Facebook’s for.

But really…

Philip and Ximena are amazing young people who are making a difference.

Looking around the room as they spoke, it was obvious how much they were inspiring others. It was evident, without a doubt in my mind, that many of those college students listening to them tonight aspire to accomplish great things too.

In their talks, they both mentioned how their achievements started off as simple ideas. These ideas were then pitched to organizations and individuals. Their countless e-mails and phone calls more often than not, went unanswered.

People thought they were crazy (in case you missed the memo…the good ones always are).

For the most part, people seemed to dismiss their ideas because they were young and inexperienced.

Now, imagine if no one had given Philip or Ximena the time of day…

Imagine if no one had listened to them…

Imagine if they had received ZERO support…

The impact they’ve made on the lives of so many people would have been impossible.

So basically, here’s what I’m trying to say:

I’m tired of society saying no to young people.

Instead of listening to and supporting the ideas that many young people are bringing to our attention, we’re doing the opposite. We’re not taking their phone calls. We’re ignoring their e-mails. We’re not looking for ways to help.

And it’s sad.

Because there are a lot of people like Philip, like Ximena, who want to make a difference.

We NEED those people.

Our society can’t afford for good ideas to be continually shut down.

So the next time that you hear of a young person who has a dream, who has an idea, who wants to make an impact, see if you can help them. See if you can guide them. If YOU can’t, introduce them to someone who CAN.

There is nothing more powerful than a young mind.

So find a way to say yes. Find a way to help make a difference.

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23 Responses to “Why We Need to Say Yes to Young People”

  1. hopeforheather November 16, 2012 at 4:16 am #

    This sounds incredible!

    • heartflow2012 November 20, 2012 at 3:13 am #

      Congratulations! Sounds really great!

  2. victorschueller400550589 November 16, 2012 at 4:17 am #

    Hey Kayla,

    I have been following your blog for a while — I am not a Gen Y-er — I am 35 and a Gen X-er. I really like your posts and your takes on the subjects you talk about.

    I was wondering if you were interested in joining me as a guest on my online radio show called “Positively Empowered Radio.” I host a weekly show, and the premise of the show is to help people learn ways they can lead a more empowered and fulfilled life, primarily through learning from the guests I have on the show. I want to help people live a better life, and have better relationships so they can realize their true potential. If you would like to see a list of guests I have had on my show, you can follow this link , which provides you with information on previous guests and the subjects we discuss. As you scroll down the page, you’ll see the guests’ names and you can even listen to the interviews.

    I would love to have a conversation with you on the show about Gen Y-ers, whether it’s how they like to be treated in the workplace, what they can contribute, etc. I am guessing you’d have a great idea for a topic to discuss!

    I’d love to have you on my show! I think we’d have a great conversation. Please let me know what you think!

    Wishing you much happiness, health and prosperity,


  3. The Laughing Duck November 16, 2012 at 4:22 am #

    This reminds me of this Girl campaign and my friend and i attended to this conference in downtown and it was amazing the response they got. There was such a variety of speakers from an aboriginal woman, to two young females senior, to female politicians and even a male speaker. The audiences also came up at the end to share – which came to my surprise – the enormous amount of own local campaign to helping woman’s equality.

  4. thefitzgeraldtimes November 16, 2012 at 6:59 am #

    The world needs the youth to carry on. Enough said.


  5. Ralph Dopping (@rdopping) November 16, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    Brilliant post Kayla.

    With social media it is much easier for young folks, heck, just about anyone, to get their story out there and spreading around. If the ideas are solid then support will come. Your thoughts about supporting young minds are fantastic and not be forgotten.


  6. Ray Wheeler, DMin November 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    Well said, society (aka status quo) always says no to visionaries. These are the same visionaries that society later extols as powerful change agents. Breakthrough thinking always faces resistance…don’t stop at resistance push past it to find the possibility and the one or two others who will go on the journey to make a difference. I am inspired by these two stories as well.

  7. becca3416 November 16, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    You always hit the nail on the head ma’am. I want to be one of those young people!

  8. Peter November 17, 2012 at 1:52 am #

    I like your editorial voice. Just enough personality to make it interesting without getting in the way of your message.

    When I was in high school I wanted to design a way to use organic waste matter to produce energy using heat and pressure. I didn’t understand the science very well, but I knew that oil was formed by heat and pressure. Some 10 years later I am starting to see people implement systems that do exactly that. If anyone had shown any interest in supporting my idea, we could have been ahead of the curve. I think I was less inclined to pursue the idea because the adult culture gave so little value to my status as a young person.

    I like your post a lot, and I think that we need more programs to encourage young people to project their ideas into the world. Hopefully we can find ways to encourage older people to listen to them. Thank you for writing!

  9. newsofthetimes November 17, 2012 at 3:19 am #

    Such an important message. I worked for the organization Amigos de las Americas and their philosophy fits perfectly with your post!

  10. ivonprefontaine November 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    Reblogged this on Teacher as Transformer and commented:
    We do need young people. We need to make sure change happens in a meaningful manner. We need to find the balance between the energy of youth and the wisdom of all who have something to offer or we fall into a cynical world. It is what got us to where we are in North America.

  11. sp November 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    great GREAT article Kayla. Proud of a fellow Gen Y’er who can articulate so well and inspire

  12. chrisbkm November 20, 2012 at 12:27 am #


  13. The Blazing Trail November 20, 2012 at 2:40 am #

    This is wonderful Ivon. Thanks for your heart for the youth.

  14. heartflow2012 November 20, 2012 at 3:15 am #

    Great article! I felt I was right there ~ May many influential people get this message!

  15. Russel Ray Photos November 24, 2012 at 12:56 am #

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and are in the midst of a great Thanksgiving weekend!

  16. jalal michael sabbagh.http://gravatar.com/jmsabbagh86@gmail.com December 4, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    Wonderful post.Wishing you happiness and success.jalal

  17. MakeSomethingMondays January 22, 2013 at 11:37 pm #

    Ted Talks is my favorite! I watch it on Netflix waaay to much!

  18. Christopher Whitehead February 13, 2013 at 9:18 am #

    The word no doesn’t just happen to young people. It happens to anyone in any age group that is an innovator. You will hear the word no in this world much more than yes. The secret is if you truly believe in your idea you have to go out and sell it. Most times when you propose change you will have a hard sell. You will hear no a lot. But keep searching and if your idea is good eventually you will hear yes.


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