Ambassador for London Citizens

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Are young people able to make a positive impact in the community?

Being 17 years old, too many times I have been told I am too young create any sort of change or impact in my community.
Whenever I speak to my teachers or my senior relatives about my ambitions they say I am too young or I have a long way to go. some may even say I shouldn't be thinking about these issues at such a young age as they don't concern me.
I am passionate about perception of the youth in London and I want to change it. I have already taken steps to do so but I feel my efforts are being looked upon by 'grown ups'.
Which brings me to the question are young people able to make a positive impact in the community?

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    Nov 2 2013: A young person helping an old person across the street has a positive impact on the community. People are people.
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      Nov 2 2013: Well said Christopher! Every single act of matter how large....or how small... impacts the giver, the receiver, and often touches many more people than we can imagine. It is contagious a carrier:>)

      I remember years ago, while walking with a friend in NYC, on a dark, rainy, stormy night, we came upon a little older lady trying to get across the street and having difficulty because of traffic, visibility, wind, rain, etc. We got on either side of her and walked with her across the several lanes of traffic. Cars didn't stop for her alone, because she was so tiny, they probably didn't see her in the dark and rainy conditions. Cars, DID stop for 3 of us however! She was SO appreciative and delightful, we ducked into a sheltered place on the other side of the street and had a chat. My friend and I still remember the feeling of joy and connectedness. And now, I am the little old lady who sometimes needs help! LOL:>)
      • Nov 4 2013: You have inspired me Colleen, now I'm going to work twice as hard. It's great to see people like you from a different generation supporting what young people do. If there were more people like you this world will be a better place, not only for young people but for all generations. THANK YOU!
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          Nov 4 2013: Thank you for your kind words and feedback Ismael....much appreciated:>)

          My perception, is that we (humans) are all here in this earth school to support each other in our life adventure. We are all teachers and students in the experience of life, and as I said in another comment on this conversation thread, the young people of today are our leaders of tomorrow. There is absolutely no reason to NOT support them/you in your mission:>)
    • Nov 4 2013: I helped an old lady across the street once and she kept hitting me with her purse all the way, maybe it was because she didn't want to go? :)
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        Nov 4 2013: Alas, old people have an impact on society as well, as do purses! :)
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        Nov 4 2013: Keith,
        It's always good to check with the person, to clarify if the gift we are trying to give is actually what is wanted and needed!

        EDIT regarding comment below...

        I agree..."some give the gift and let others decide what to do with it"

        With the example Keith provides....helping an old lady cross the street and she keeps hitting him with her purse, it appeared that Keith was offering a joke, which he states in the next comment. Can you understand the humor?
        • Nov 4 2013: That was something else "I just found" by "just found" I mean back in the crevices of my old and forgetful mind. Something dredged up from my distant past a long time ago. It was an old boy scout joke from years ago about doing a good turn daily. Whenever you see a smile :) at the end of my comment, you can assume it was possibly a joke, hopefully funny, and may or may not be a true statement.
        • Nov 7 2013: Colleen,

          Some give the gift and let the others decide what to do with it...
          ... even-though some may not want the help they still need the help...
          ... that doesn't mean they will show appreciation for the help...

          ... wanted to add that some gifts are wonderful and definitely 'keepers', some are 'recyclable' to pass along when the appropriate opportunity happens and then there is always the dumpster.
        • Nov 8 2013: I did see the joke... I often try to convey a point with a bit of humor only to realize that the other didn't get the intended joke... and responded a bit too serious... for example I may even give the context to prepare them for the humor telling them the tone of my message so that they prepare to perceive what follows in such a tone only to discover the mangled mess that results from what they did to my joke... oh and its alway my fault that they didn't get the joke because I didn't explained it to them... everyone knows that explaining the joke takes most of the humor away... one has to just get it... sometimes it may take a while and when they get the joke its like an eureka moment.
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        Nov 7 2013: I "got" that it was a joke Keith, which is why I responded in kind:>)
        • Nov 7 2013: Again I have under estimated you and as always you shine right through it all. Thanks Colleen
  • Nov 2 2013: Yes, we are capable of making a positive impact in a community. It's just harder to be recognized because we are often looked upon because of our age. I've dealt with a similar issue, and its annoying, but keep trying and please, if you want to promote your idea talk to me! I am more than willing to assist you- I have a couple of teachers who do support us teens who are trying to make a difference!!

    Stay positive and don't lose faith, you will make that impact. It's just going to take time... (:
    • Nov 4 2013: Thank you Michael, I am glad that you are able to look at it from my perspective, it means a lot coming from a young person. If you could check out my podcasts at, that would give you an idea of what I am about. Also if you could help me promote it that would mean a lot. If you can contact me at I am sure there are many things we could do help each other.
  • Nov 9 2013: Yes, yes and YES! I refuse to believe otherwise! I'm 17 too and I'm in the same situation as you are, except that adults don't look at me warily but they do seem to be more afraid of some big changes I propose. Anyway, I believe we can have a great impact, and the more we are, as well as the more organized we get, the better!!

    It is true that we may find it hard to change things like ways of running politics, or the whole educational system, but if we choose proposals over confrontations and we know how to communicate it to others in an alluring way, it gets easier. Do not forget that you alone can do little, you need someone who is brave to follow you that invites friends that will also follow you and him/her, and so on and so on, start a movement!! (There's a 3 minute TED talk on that, I believe).

    I'll keep working on changing the society here in Argentina, but you keep it up too! ;)
  • Nov 6 2013: People of all ages are able to make an impact. It should not be needed to be a controversy. People are amazing. Whether young or old people are able to make an impact. They can be as small as donating money to the homeless or taking revolutionary steps on the moon. Young people are capable of anything and that goes for old people as well. Impacts are simply making a difference or a change for someone or in something. This topic is great to discuss and I agree with many of your points.
  • Nov 6 2013: They do have positive impacts in the community all the time.

    Just go for it.
  • Nov 4 2013: As a young person myself I think that anyone can make some kind of impact on community. If you look at media right now a lot of young people (Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus etc etc) is making impact on the world. Even though they might not be doing it on purpose but they themselves are creating impact on the world (Do I agree with their impact?... that's another story). As an aspiring filmmaker/writer I really want to say that I'm always surprised when I learn something from someone who is younger than me. Sometimes I think, there are so many young people know so much more than me... It can be learning their moral stands and their views of the world. I think we don't give enough credit to young people. Of course, there is a defence that young people need to be more developed and need to see the bigger world. But they have imaginations and they have innocence, and I honestly believe that we can learn a lot from innocence and imaginations... So I honestly think we can learn many different things from young people...
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      Nov 6 2013: I agree Min Sung Kim.....we can all learn from each other regardless of age. In my perception, we are all students and teachers in this life adventure:>)
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    Nov 2 2013: Yes Ismael.....absolutely......people of all ages can make a positive impact in the community. I don't understand why some folks might tell you that it does not concern you. Young people are very valuable in a community, and one day, the young people of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. It makes sense to impact the community in a positive way, whenever, wherever, however you can. You are already impacting the TED community by bringing this up for conversation....welcome to TED....carry on:>)

    In case you have not noticed Ismael, there are quite a few conversations on TED started by teens, about teenagers......check out "teens", "teenagers", etc. You will also run into quite a few young people commenting on various topics.....I am very impressed with young people today:>)
  • Oct 31 2013: the answer is yes but you will need to show determination and persistence. There are many small things you can do but larger ones take time.
    • Nov 4 2013: Thank you so much, this means a lot
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    Oct 29 2013: Of course young people can and do make a difference every day. Have you checked in your community or city for organizations that use youth volunteers?

    What areas of service interest you? Do you live in London?

    Have you checked this out?
  • Nov 11 2013: being an adult i feel uniquely qualified to comment that adults are idiots. we think we know everything and fight off any attempt from the outside to tell us that things aren't the way we perceive them. Just look at the state of politics. That is our own doing. That is what creates such strong divisions in political parties and ideologies. The one key attribute of anyone who has ever changed the world in any manor, is that they ignore the naysayers and trudge through the people who don't care and do it anyway.

    watch this tedx presentation and get to it...
  • Nov 7 2013: Yes, young people are able to make positive impact in their community. The today's world has been spreading ideologies so fast and people are more aware about everything. One of the best points is that we are becoming more open-mind and corcerning more about our rigths and what is happening near us. In other words, from my point of view, we are more engaged with what surrounds us and young people have stronger opinions and more knowlodge nowadays than in few years before. Each individual can act to improve their comunities and contribute enourmously to make the world better. Another important fact is that the accessibility to education has been increasing and soaring the knowledge and human's capability to change the planet. Thus, the possibility for young people make a positive impact in their comunity exist; it's just depend on how the youth pretend to use the available facilities.
  • Nov 6 2013: Yes... each individual makes an impact in their community with their actions, words, feelings, thoughts, stories, dreams etc... I would pose the question as how each be impacting and contributing to what happens and takes place.

    Keep in mind that many will seek to project their ideas and notion unto your path for multiple of reasons. I remember a math teacher who told me that I was too young and had a long way to go to be able to resolve the problem that I presented... rather than help me learn the stuff... I now think the teacher did not know how to resolve the problem themselves and discouraged me doing it because of the implications. In some places (the in group =tenures) keep the (outsiders=rookies) from advancing to maintain their places...

    I have often met people who say "they are too young for that, they are too old for that" fact is now at this stage whatever ones age be the only moment one can act and change... just do remember that for some adventures one has to take the necessary gear, be prepare and have appropriate company.
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    Nov 4 2013: Ismael, A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. You have taken that step by recognizing a need. I am a "senior citizen" and offer you this advice. I do not know you so the advice is generic.

    Age is not the cause for either success or failure. I am going to ask you to do something very hard and do not expect a answer ... this is between you and the guy in your mirror.

    Why are you doing this? Is it for the community or for Ismael? By your words above it would appear that you are promoting / trying to hard. The phrase "action speaks louder than words" in this case is valid. Say you quietly are helping Sam and Sue with math every night .... If you tell everyone you are helping lesser students they may think it is a means of gaining attention to yourself not a act of kindness. However, if no one knows and Sam and Sue tell the teacher that you have been helping them at night and that is why their grade is improving then the teacher see you differently ... Sam and Sue's friends see you differently ... and their friends ... etc ....

    The bottom line is that if you are that example then you have affected change ... small changes inspire larger changes. Stop looking for immediate change ... it is not coming. Things take time .... The acorn you plant today will not be a tree in a day, month, year ... but someday it will become a might oak. Plant that seed, be that example, be that guiding light .... Some day there may be a tutoring center near your house. It may not bear your name ... but is that important?

    Introspection is the hardest of all tasks .... but is also the most needed.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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      Nov 4 2013: Dear Robert,
      Do you believe that making an impact in the community can be BOTH.... for the benefit of the individual as well as the community? That is my perception when contributing to the is for my benefit as well. What I learn while making positive contributions to the community is a HUGE gift to myself, and I would not deny the existence of that gift:>)

      I agree with you that intention is a factor. Are we doing something simply to gain recognition? Or are we genuinely engaged in the process of learning, growing, in ourselves while contributing to the whole?

      As one "senior citizen" to another....
      "We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing"
      I know you know this Bob:>)
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    Nov 4 2013: young people are not only able to make a positive impact in the community but no permanent impact can be made without the involvement of the youth in a community. youth are energetic, creative and do not believe in the "impossible". They are willing to try new ideas and find new ways. They can easily make friendship with new people and because of less family responsibilities they have more time to devote.
  • Nov 4 2013: Well Ismael, believe nuttin you hear and half of what ya see. Your 17 years old and still listen to Old People, I find that hard to believe. I am 65 years young and just started to listen to old people.
  • Oct 30 2013: Yes, I believe young people are able to make a positive impact in communities. The younger generation is the future of our worlds. We learn from them because they come up with new knowledge of new things. These things could involve our knowledge with bettering our future. Knowledge of technology, of our world, our universe, us ourselves. We are never too young. Believe in yourself and show them what you can really do. Make a difference as a kid!