KINGSTON, R.I. – March 29, 2022 – War, pandemic, climate change, inflation, food insecurity. Looking for something to keep you up at night? Take your pick. The world is full of reasons to despair.
But humans are resilient beings. We find strength to succeed under the worst circumstances. Hope is always around the corner.
“Hope is as essential to humans as oxygen,” wrote Jane Goodall and Heather Templeton-Dill in a 2021 column for USA Today. “It is a crucial survival trait that has sustained our species in the face of danger since the Stone Age. Hope is powerful.”
If you’re looking for a little inspiration, serenity, hope, TEDxURI 2022 can throw you a lifeline. On Saturday, April 2, the University of Rhode Island presents 11 speakers, of all ages and from all walks of life, who will share their ideas for “A Recipe for Hope.” The in-person program starts at 1 p.m. in the Richard E. Beaupre Center for Chemical and Forensic Science, 140 Flagg Road, on the Kingston Campus. (See below for ticket information or how you can watch online.)
In the tradition of TEDx, this year’s speakers will present stories – five to seven minutes in length – that challenge us to think bigger than ourselves. They’ll offer inspiring tales, reflect on how they stay hopeful during these uncertain times, share strategies for remaining optimistic or explain how they motivate others.
“Sharing experiences through storytelling is a unique way of connecting communities in a long-lasting and organic way,” said Adina Lundy, a lecturer of psychology at URI. “I wanted to be a part of TEDxURI because the platform is impactful in its reach and amplifies voices, both big and small.”
For her talk, Lundy, originally from Brownsville, Brooklyn, who holds a master’s degree in developmental psychology from Harvard University, will share stories that highlight her research on the life trajectory of a child who was a ward of the state, a subject of Lundy’s dissertation for her doctorate of education at the University of Hartford. The foster care survivor, she said, became an unlikely role model for her when she needed hope during a challenging time in her life.
“I feel immense respect and inspiration for the manner in which the former foster child perseveres in life,” she said.
While this may seem a difficult time around the world, Lundy said, for many “invisible demographics,” such as Indigenous Americans, it is always difficult. “As such, building the skill of resiliency and developing their hope muscles,” she added, “is always a priority, if these demographics living on the margins of society are to survive.”
Burr Harrison, of Cranston, an IT program manager in the financial services industry, echoes that feeling. “This is certainly an opportune time for the topic, but I think there is always a need for hope. There are times when world problems are more visible, but I think hope is something that’s important to cultivate anytime.”
Harrison, a self-described performer, storyteller, tinkerer, artist-engineer, writer, actor, and wedding officiant, is also a veteran of such storytelling events as Live Bait at AS220 in Providence. He will reflect on where and how he looks for hope when he needs it, sharing ideas he has picked up over the years – including those from a head nurse at a psychiatric hospital and one of his daughters, a URI alumna and a “newly-minted psychiatrist.”
While in college, Harrison worked a summer job at a psychiatric hospital in Massachusetts. On second shift, he was sometimes tasked to assist with the intake of patients. The intake process included taking vital signs and running through a questionnaire. There was a question about self-harm that made him pause. He thought it was intrusive, but the nurse gave him another way of looking at it.
“I learned a lot there and there was a very wise head nurse who taught me some things about hope and folks who are running low on hope,” he said. “As a result, I’m more comfortable today talking with anyone who is feeling really low on hope.”
Harrison hopes his talk will reassure people so they feel more comfortable asking others who are in distress if they need help.
Along with Lundy and Harrison, Saturday’s speakers are:
Dr. Richard Booth, of Boston, a clinician at Brown University and in private practice. Booth serves on the executive board of the Village Green Charter School and is a core member of The Wellness Collaborative, an interdisciplinary collective focused on improving health and wellness in underserved communities.
Wesley Cabral, who was born in Cape Verde and moved to the U.S. at age 9. A recent URI graduate in communication studies with a minor in business, he plans to start his own business and give back to the community.
Amelia Randolph Campbell, chief executive officer and found of ARC, Inc., and a certified speaker with The Big Talk Academy and alumnus of the Speaker Salon in New York City. A veteran actor with years of leadership and sales coaching, she has created a platform that elevates the personal development experience.
Douglas Creed, a URI professor of management. His award-winning research has focused on issues of workplace diversity and organizational change processes for greater inclusion and equity.
Sarah M. Kipp, an educator, coach, and professional development specialist. Along with providing training and education in writing, presenting and communicating to adult learners, she also works with leaders, executives, educators and entrepreneurs committed to making a greater impact through communication and connection.
Dawn Mallozzi, of Barrington, who, at age 16, was involved in an accident that changed her life. Over the last three years, she has turned that misfortune into a dedication to become a gifted public speaker, sharing her story with schools across Rhode Island.
Kalliana Marek, of Cranston, a 16-year-old high school graduate and political organizer. At a young age, she already has vast experience in climate advocacy working with numerous groups. As chief-of-staff for state Sen. Cynthia Mendes, Marek has seen how politics can work for the needs of all people, not just a select few.
Elaine Nadal, a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominated writer from Connecticut. Nadal is the author of two poetry chapbooks, “When” and “Sweat, Dance, Sing, Cut.” Her work has also been featured in several journals and anthologies.
Rosie Savage, a U.S. Navy veteran, mother of five and graduate student at Columbia University. Savage is a self-titled “hope dealer” and life and relationship coach.
Tickets for Saturday’s event are $25 for general public and $10 for URI students for seating in the live show room in the Beaupre Center. Tickets for the live streaming room, next door to the live show room, are $10 for general admission and $5 for URI students. Face masks are optional but recommended for those who are immunocompromised, have underlying health conditions or feel more comfortable wearing one. To buy tickets, click here.
Those interested in viewing “TEDxURI: A Recipe for Hope” remotely can find a link to the livestream here.
What is TEDx?
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDxURI, where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDxURI event, TED Talks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.
To view previous TEDxURI talks, visit: hljnews.net/tedx/talks