TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2020 begins with problem-solving, gardening, civility

The first three presenters for TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2020 are ready to share their stories. 

The initial lineup of talks on July 9 and 11 includes discussions on community problem-solving, the merits of gardening and civility. 

All TEDxSnoIsleLibraries talks will be presented in Zoom meetings. The event host will introduce the speaker’s pre-recorded TEDx talk followed by live question-and-answer session with the speaker 

At 11 a.m. July 9, Oak Harbor High School students Holly Lewis, Elisabeth Ince and Molly Zimmerman will launch TEDxSnoIsleLibraries with their talk, “Embrace the Chance to Solve Problems in Your Community.” 

Holly Lewis, Molly Zimmerman and Elisabeth Ince stand together
Holly Lewis, Molly Zimmerman and Elisabeth Ince will lead the speakers in TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2020.

Lewis18, and Zimmerman and Ince, both 17, connected through the Whidbey Island Wildcats, a local robotics team. Lewis had been on the team for two years when Ince and Zimmerman joined it two years ago. The three have worked on projects to help the homeless, people in underprivileged countries, and Whidbey Island children.  

Lewis has graduated and will attend the University of Washington in the fall to pursue a degree in electrical engineering. After they finish high school in 2021, Zimmerman plans to study architectural engineering or interior design and Ince wants to study sociocultural anthropology. 

The Whidbey Island Wildcats is a FIRST Robotics team that focuses on the betterment of the community and the world. The team has won awards for making a significant impact on the community using STEM skills and outreach.  

Lewis, Zimmerman and Ince collaborated to answer the following questions. 

What inspired your TEDx talk topic? 

Our talk was inspired by the impact that we have been able to have on our community through the local robotics team that we represent,” they saidWe understood the importance of the projects we are able to do and the connections we are able to make, and wanted to spread the message to others about the unlimited number of ways that they can make a difference. Our team’s open-minded attitude and dedication to helping others are something that our mentors and fellow team members were inspired to bring to the world around us. 

What have you learned from this experience? 

We have learned how universal helping others truly is,” they saidThroughout the process of writing our talk, we continuously attempted to broaden the audience we were trying to reach. We were finally able to recognize how service can be expanded beyond a robotics team, and implemented in countless ways with countless skills. 

What expectations do you have with your talk? 

We hope that everyone who sees our talk will be inspired to help people around them in need, even if it’s just in little ways,” they saidIt would be great if this talk led to everyone in the world doing service on a daily basis and started a new norm where if someone is in need, you do your best to help them as much as you can. This world certainly needs a lot of help right now, and everyone can be a part of providing that help. 

On July 11, two TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2020 talks are scheduled.  

Jodi Crimmins leads off at 9 a.m. with her TEDx talk, How School Gardens Empower Young People. 

Jodi Crimmins holds bunch of carrots
Oak Harbor School District teacher and garden enthusiast Jodi Crimmins is the second speaker for TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2020. She’ll talk about the power of gardening.

Crimmins, a Whidbey Island native, managed to have her career and passion intersect. The Oak Harbor School District teacher and gardenlover has spent the past two years as a Garden and Sustainability Teacher on Special Assignment. 

“I have been so fortunate to work in education with kids in outdoor settings and have been inspired by the positive results I have seen in our kids and community,” Crimmins said.  

She recently moved to the farm fields of the Bow-Edison area in the Skagit Valley and loves to garden, hike, spend time outdoors, paint landscapes, cook and spend time with family, friends and her two dogs, Scout and Bowie.  

What inspired your TEDx talk topic? 

Crimmins said her students and her teaching colleagues served as her inspiration 

“My hope in sharing this through TEDx is that I can inspire people to make simple changes that can have a big impact for our kids and our planet,” she saidI hope I can inspire others to get outside and enjoy the beauty of this world.” 

What have you learned from this experience? 

I am an educator, not a public speaker,” Crimmins said. “I had to challenge myself beyond my perceived limits to put myself out there in this capacity. Embracing that this is not about me, and the coaching and time put in by our mentors has helped me develop the courage to take this idea and transform it into something that is hopefully useful for people to hear. 

This is about us and how we can take the best care of each other and our planet, and my hope is that this resonates,” she said. 

What expectations do you have with your talk? 

I want to create awareness that each and every one of us can make a positive difference, and I would like to amplify student voice in creating positive changes in our community for the future of our planet,” Crimmins said. 

Following Crimmins at 11 a.m. July 11, Kate Bracy wants to improve everyone’s civility with her TEDx talk, Quickly Learn to Stay Civil Most of the Time  Here’s the Secret You Can Master by Tomorrow. 

TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2020 speaker Kate Bracy
TEDxSnoIsleLibraries 2020 speaker Kate Bracy will talk about civility.

“I hoped that in making a TEDx talk I could raise the profile of civility as a tool for getting things done,” Bracy said. “We are in such need of effective ways to solve problems, and yet we neglect the important step of being respectful.” 

Bracy is a retired nurse and president of Civility First… So We Can Work Together, a grassroots nonprofit in Island County. As a writer and nurse educator, she has spent a great deal of her career helping clinical and management staff work more effectively together by improving communication skills.  

Bracy continues to write and teach on topics of health and communication. She lives on Whidbey Island with her wife, her dog, her sewing machine and her knitting needles. Learn more about her at katebracy.com. 

What inspired your TEDx talk topic? 

In the presentations and workshops that we do (with Civility First), I see the pain and difficulty that people are having with staying civil,” she said. “Family and work relationships are suffering, politically different people are not talking to each other, and we are not listening to each other. I want to create a space within which meaningful work can happen, and where increasing the level of civility can make solutions possible. 

What have you learned from this experience? 

This experience turned out to be much more than I expected or hoped,” Bracy said. It gave me the opportunity, and the mandate, to think more deeply and broadly about civility and its role in current times. 

The coronavirus pandemic and current social unrest made her do some soul searching. 

There is so much sadness and anger and fear,” she said. All these emotional responses are human and can be the impetus for us to make changes that serve our country and our collective wellbeing. The energy of these emotions can propel us toward real and lasting solutions, and civility is a tool in reaching those solutions. I am only more convinced that it is essential in moving forward, even through all the anger and pain. 

Creating this talk at this moment in history was an invitation to consider her commitment to this value, she said, and to think about how to equip others to use it for change. 

The pandemic forced Bracy to embrace change and flexibility. 

“It certainly wasn’t the conventional TEDx talk process,” she said. Recording it sitting in my den was not the scenario I pictured when I applied.” 

What expectations do you have with your talk? 

My hope is that it will spark others to think about how civility can help them in their endeavors,” Bracy said. I would love to see it used to open up conversations that we have not been willing to have. I would love to see people begin to combine passion and belief with respect, so we can broaden our understanding of the world we live in, and make lasting change possible. Having a civil mindset could allow us to turn toward each other, even when it’s hard.