By Dean Whittaker

The purpose in sharing this story with you is to show what one small town with limited resources can do to inspire and share their gift with the world. On March 8th of this year, our community hosted a TEDx event. For those of you familiar with, this is a local version designed to showcase ideas worth spreading. The theme for our event was “Do More Good” in which we shared 16 ideas for ways in which to “Do More Good” in the world. These presentations told the story of the speakers and their effort to make the world a better place. There were four subthemes of our event: Higher Purpose, Perseverance, Learning, and Community. In addition to the 450 attendees, the event also reached many more through live stream and is now available on YouTube.

The dialog that the event created during the breaks was stunning. At the Speaker Appreciation Dinner following the event, each speaker, without exception, expressed their desire to continue the community conversation that this event catalyzed.

Several of the presentations struck me. Childhood hunger in our community has increasingly become an issue, and the Kids Food Basket with 160 volunteers is supplying evening meals to 4,840 grade school children each day. Chris Klein’s discussion about what it was like to grow up with severe cerebral palsy, learning how to communicate with an augmented communication system, going to college, and recently getting married was especially touching. He reminded us to focus on a person’s gifts, not the disabilities that we all have. Other inspiring presentations were Ann McKight’s talk about ways in which to heal conflicts that occur in our everyday life, and Curt Tofeland’s discussion regarding his work with the incarcerated using restorative circles. These and many more contain life lessons from which we can all benefit. Check them out here: I think you will find the talks inspiring and thought provoking.