The BBYO Leven Global Leadership Academy was started by Michael Leven in order to provide teens with a platform for learning about public speaking, discussing issues that are important to them, and sharing their messages with the world. Every year, a cohort of teens is selected to start this fellowship in which they hear from amazing speakers and changemakers from around the globe. Their studies culminate in their TED-Ed Student Talks, which they deliver at the BBYO International Convention. The teens are guided by student and adult mentors in order to build these talks.
Last year, I presented my TED talk on how literature builds empathy, and this year, I was chosen to mentor a group of teens with their talks. They shared their incredible insight ranging from topics from climate change to cultural differences to the power of open-mindedness. Below is a glimpse into the main takeaways from their talks.
- Isabelle talked to us about climate change and how in order to make an impact, we must all try to limit our climate anxiety and work together to find a solution.
- Heather spoke to us about the incredible self-sustaining properties of the Negev Desert in Israel. We learned how fruits and vegetables are grown and harvested in an arid environment.
- A half-Ukrainian half-Colombian teen, Sasha loves to experience both of her cultures for food. She told us about how food allows us to have conversations and build cultural bridges.
- Lily talked about how easy it is to get caught up in the moment but also how crucial it is to learn how to calm down. She even gave us some techniques that we can use to relax, such as the method of counting five things you see, four things you feel, three things you hear, two things you taste, and one thing you smell.
- Ruby enlightened us on the Jewish traditions associated with grief and how they are meant for us to feel comforted and supported during these difficult times. She then connected to the larger themes of the necessity of carrying on Jewish traditions and experiences.
- Logan gave a talk regarding the power of words and all that you can learn from listening. She touched on how much more productive your life can be if you try to hear one new person out every day.
- Maya discussed labels and how we are often so quick to label. She said that labels can partially serve to lock you in a box but that they can also allow us to see how each human being is unique.
- Parker told us about the necessity of consistent habits. He also provided us with some methods to use in order to maintain healthy habits and spoke about how these habits can build up your self-discipline.
- A world-class traveler, Luiz talked to us about the time he was in New Zealand, and the man with whom he was stuck in traffic did not get mad at him. He said that instead of assuming that people are always inherently doing the wrong thing, we should extend our empathy as we often lack the context behind their behavior.
- A proud member of the Israeli youth movement Maccabi Tzair, Lian spoke to us about the role youth movements play in shaping the future by providing the next generation with leadership tools.
If you’re interested in giving your own talk and spreading your own message, applications open on bbyo.org/lead this summer!
Dina Shlufman is a BBG from Palisades BBG in GJHRR: Northern, and she loves to write!