5 Comments on “Follow the (student) Leaders For Serious (but Fun!) Participatory Democracy”

  1. Karina says:

    Hi, Andrea!
    Thanks for highlighting the very essence of problem-solving at all levels: interdisciplinary collaboration. As active community member, educator, and first of all a mom I appreciate it.

    Excellent article, and keep watching -our youth will amaze us!

    • Karina —

      Your comment here reminds me of the energizing and inspiring conversation you led at TEDConversations on “What Place Does Creativity Have in Education.”


      To build on your thoughts about the essence of problem solving. Yes, agreed: interdisciplinary collaboration.

      Which leads me to the Q of:

      How can conversations we’ve had (with others, too) at TED and now here, cross ever-more and further disciplines with students partaking as co-equal leaders?

      Or, more to the point:

      How can we build on these and pull them together in ever more concrete efforts? To perhaps even connect the “ends of US geography” from your community in Houston to mine Minnesota — and maybe even bridging a few “middle(s)” from somewhere in-between?


      • Karina says:

        Mmm, just think of the possibilities! I just come from helping put together our local TEDx Youth, so finding your message here was specially pertinent. Let me tell you, we managed to gather the most unlikely array of youngsters ages 13 and up, some with physical disabilities, some with brain abnormalities, others seemingly “normal”. But in all truth, there was nothing even close to normal in this group!

        These are real kids overcoming their personal challenges and moving beyond self to change their world. They are not famous, popular or even geniuses (well, I might be wrong in that one -the 13 year old created a cheap and simple water purifying system AND a global non profit to go with it 🙂 Yet, they step forward with passion to wonder, “does it inspire you to take YOUR next step? Can we work together on a solution? ” These are our youth, playing hard -no sidelines, no excuses; and having fun while doing it!

        As you know, collaborating across the world is an idea that I been playing with for a while. Taking it from the virtual forum to the real world, now that is collaboration with a purpose!

        Thinking, thinking, we may be able to do something here… Houston-Minessota is not a bad idea at all 🙂

  2. Heyzel says:

    Hey Ms.Grazzini,
    I really loved this, thanks for writing about our small community in the YMCA. I, myself and the few kids that participate playing with the little ones know and want to make a difference in their lives. This is a perfect way to see that others around us are really noticing our attempts.
    Thanks alot.

    • Heyzel–

      Not only are adults like me noticing your efforts.

      So are students your age. I’ve observed how others have begun following your consistent lead. It is as evident to me as the “crowd contagion” effect on the courts.

      A spirit or unspoken rule of cooperation rather than competition for space prevails. As you know: sometimes football, basketball, soccer and volleyball are played at the same time in “co-existence” on the same court.

      As Karina says, children are literately practicing pro-social skills by “co-existing” along.

      And, courtside discussions about current events including about ethnic experiences, political positions, school, studies and, even sports – I recall one you and other young adults partook regards the shames of Penn State — plant seeds of insight and connection that can and do carry beyond the Y.

      A challenge to you and your “co-leaders” crew is to build on your efforts and ideals.

      Which, I’d say, is done as much by continuing to lead as you so naturally do, as much as anything else. But, also by continually coaxing others you engage to replicate such efforts and, thus, amplify the effects.


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