By Dean Whittaker

When your passion and talent intersect with society’s needs, it’s a truly amazing thing. This month I learned that one way to discover our passion is to realize that our greatest passion often comes from our greatest hurt. I learned this from listening to the presenters rehearsing their TED talks for our local TEDx Macatawa event taking place on September 12th.

This local version of TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) gives our community an opportunity to share ideas for “Doing More Good” in the world. It allows us to showcase the passion and compassion of these individuals and organizations.

As one of the organizers for this event, I have had the privilege of working with the 60 volunteers who are giving 10,000 hours to make it happen, and I have learned a great deal. I have learned about the power of the collective when people come together around a common purpose.

From our speakers, here is what I have learned:
• I learned that one person can make a difference in the world.
• I learned that if we aren’t giving our children the adult attention they need, they may get it from someone else like a drug dealer or gang leader.
• I learned how it takes a community to educate a child using a new paradigm of mentor-ship working in conjunction with teachers.
• I learned about how a group of senior professionals can use their experience and talent to impact world water issues.
• I learned about the circular economy movement that breaks the take, make, waste cycle.
• I learned about how our children live under “house arrest” driven by irrational fears of abduction and what role nature can play in their education.
• I learned about solving community issues through data combined with passion.
• I learned about the “hood” in which a four-city-block neighborhood is your world view but how reading can create a new perspective.
• I learned about how art and creativity can heal.

So, if you cannot join us in person to hear these stories on September 12th, please join us via Livestream or view the talks on YouTube. You will learn a great deal too!