My Experiences at TEDxRundleAcademy

On stage at TEDxRundleAcademy — March 12th, 2016

When I first found out, I was going to be a TED talk I was extremely nervous … Of course, I had lots I could talk about, but how could I possibly convert this all into a 15-minute speech.

I began feverishly typing out my speech …. 100 words…. 150 words… 300…. 500!

To be quite honest I had no idea how many words would actually translate into the time I would spend speaking. As the word count continued to climb, I began to realize that simplicity would be key in getting my idea across.

Sometimes that bravest thing you can say is hello — A small and straightforward interaction can translate into so much more. A smile. A hand. A hello.

I kept this quote in my mind as I formed my speech — We have all been forced to take a risk to reach out and say hello… from the building blocks in Kindergarten to the lunch table in High School to meeting new friends at University.

My goal was to share the stories of the amazing, varied people we have had the chance to meet … Our inspiration that fueled us to continue to grow the initiative and meet more and more people!

From Jeremy who was the first person we met on the streets of Vancouver, to Bill from the UK who told us the worst thing about being homeless was not the COLD and not the HUNGER, but it was the fact that people looked down at him like it was his fault — and Mark who told us he simply wanted his old life back where he could chat with the neighbours and make a pot of coffee in the morning.

After hours practicing, I was brought back to those moments and the feeling I had when we met those people on the streets. One of the biggest things that I learned from this experience is to never be afraid to express your own ideas on a topic you’re passionate about.

We all have a voice, a story and a set of experiences that are unique to us!

This strongly connects to that message I discussed above — sometimes the bravest thing you can do is to tell your own story… if you’re passionate about an issue, never be afraid to share what you have learned because it can teach us all so much and broaden our perspectives.

And this can apply to every element of our lives… if we listen and believe in empathy through familiarity, then we can break down more barriers than we ever imagined!

I was so inspired by the incredible youth speeches at this TEDx event from the power of HUGS to aircraft engines to a statement about the impact that words can have on others. The energy of compassion was alive and the collective passion at this event made me excited for what’s ahead in this amazing world!

Thank you again, Rundle Academy for a special day!

To ending stigma,

Sam Sawchuk, Co-Founder, Sandwich for a Story