TEDxYouth @PaseodelPrado: For Young People. By Young People.

Never say never. Recently, two young changemakers from Spain took initiative and launched Spain’s first-ever TEDx for youth event, organized by youth. We caught up with 17 year-old organizer Sara Santos before she and her teammate, Kike [KI-KAY], successfully launched the TEDx event with the help of a team of teams consisting of: young volunteers they mobilized and the youth years team at Ashoka Spain.

Youth Venture: Was there a specific moment or situation that you can share that inspired you to take this idea on of having the first TEDx event for youth, organized by youth in Spain?

Sara: Last December Ashoka Spain organized a campaign called #CambiasMiMundo in order to stimulate the youth to take action in improving their communities. They selected a group of young people who were having an impact on them already, and Kike and I were both there because of different projects. We filmed the campaign in a couple days, and everything was really inspiring. Each of us got to know other people around with interesting projects and ideas. We all started talking about what we could do to spread the ideas of the youth among society, to inspire young people, to multiply the effect of the campaign. And a small group of us thought about organizing a TEDx event because we loved the platform and the ideas and values it promotes. We started working on the application process for a TEDxYouth with unconditional support from Ashoka Spain and, after a couple months, Kike and I finally got the license.

Youth Venture: Do you identify yourself as a changemaker? If so, why? What ingredients go into being a changemaker for you?

Sara: We do identify as changemakers. We believe that empathy is one of the key ingredients in order to identify the problems that any group of people, regardless of their condition or origin, can go through in our community. Also important to changemaking is collaborative work for managing a team of people who are determined to solve the same problem as you. And above all, what is important for any changemaker is a passion for generating an impact with your day to day actions; a passion that makes you learn from failure and always get up and try again.

Youth Venture: What is the 6 word story describing the mood and status of young people in Spain in right now?

Sara: Suddenly, our passion for learning disappeared.

Youth Venture: What are you hoping to achieve with this event? In what ways do you want your event to change culture, society, youth in Spain?

Sara: In today’s society, the image that is constantly shown of young people is that of a generation almost lost. Adolescents without motivation to study, to work and, even less, to change the world; adolescents who don’t care about the future nor have the necessary tools in order to change it.

But at [email protected] we disagree. We are determined to change this vision that people have about us by giving a voice and a stage to all the invisible youth who now want to make themselves seen and heard.

Our main goal is to analyze adolescents’ current situation, focusing our action on those problems that they face on a daily basis and giving them the opportunity to get to know ideas put forward by people their age that are already making an impact in their surroundings. Moreover, we want to show the youth technological and scientific advances that these young people are generating as a solution to their own problems: new technologies, apps, science, chemistry…

We want to put ourselves in the social center of Madrid’s life, and demonstrate to our peers that they should support these initiatives, that we have the power we need to change the world and to break with convention.

Youth Venture: In your personal opinion, why should companies, schools, parents and the media care about and support more youth-led changemaking?

Sara: We believe that the new model of society we have started to see in the last couple years requires a continuous collaboration among the third sector and other entities. This is a way we will come to understand the importance of skills such as innovation or creativity in the development of each person. And for this, we need a collective commitment from all the stakeholders involved in this procedure to help generate a chain of support that — going from the development at schools and following with the support of enterprises and media — ends up generating in each kid a future social entrepreneur who is skillful at empathy, leadership and emotional intelligence, and who addresses world’s problems.

**Ashoka and Youth Venture believe that experiences and opportunities for changemaking should start early-on in childhood. Why? Because becoming and identifying as a changemaker is what is necessary for society to become an “Everyone a Changemaker” world. Mastering empathy, team of teams culture, fluid leadership and changemaking at an early age will impact the trajectory of a young person growing up in today’s world where change is the only constant. Check out our new campaign where leading social entrepreneurs from around the world illustrate how they started in their teens! Share the global movement by posting these stories using the tag:#YouthLead. Share your own story with us as well! We will repost from @youth_venture!

Dig deeper by visiting @youth_venture on Twitter and heading towww.youthventure.org. Are you in Spain? Follow our amazing Ashoka youth years team at Ashoka Spain.