When the TEDx conference comes to Miami on Thursday, the microphone stand on the state of the Adrienne Arsht Center might need to be lowered more than usual.
For the fourth year, the Cushman School is bringing the TEDx Youth Miami conference here, inviting students ages 8 to 22 from public and private schools all over Miami-Dade County to encourage young people to their share powerful ideas through short talks.
TEDx events are independently organized, but are under the umbrella of the TED conferences that produce viral videos. The global conference series has given a platform for ideas from innovative speakers such as Arianna Huffington, Bill Clinton and Bono.
As with any TED event, Thursday’s presenters come from a range of fields. There are scientists and pianists as well as robotic engineers and entrepreneurs. Their topics run the gamut from overcoming homelessness to advocating tolerance.
“When you see and hear these kids and what they are doing and creating at their ages it is mind blowing, but it is extremely impressive,” said Arvi Balseiro, TEDx Youth Miami founder and head of the Cushman School.
Among the pint-sized speakers with big ideas is 8-year-old Taylor Moxey from Midtown.
Taylor runs her own baking business, which she promotes on social media herself.
“My TED Talk is about my business and how through hard work you can do anything you want,” Taylor said.
As with most young bakers, Taylor got her start whipping up desserts with her Easy-Bake Oven. But she soon became inspired by the cooking shows her parents watched and decided that she wanted to try her hand baking more ambitious recipes.
Now, she caters events and sells her creations to clients near her Midtown home.
“I bake almost every single day when I come home from school,” said Taylor, whose parents both supervise and taste-test.
Red velvet cupcakes are her specialty, but she says her favorite part of baking is experimenting with her recipes.
“You can create what you want,” Taylor said. “There are rules but you can be creative.”
The Bridge Prep Academy third-grader goes by Taylor the Chef on Instagram, where she connects with most of her clients. It’s also how she met reporter Constance Jones, who interviewed her for Local 10 News. The interview led to global interest in her delicious baked goods.
She also has struck up an unlikely friendship with Derek Cohen, the owner of bakery Fireman Derek’s World Famous Pies in Midtown. Cohen mentors Taylor and lets her use his kitchen for some of her bigger orders. She hopes to one day carry on his legacy with her own shop in the location.
Now that she has achieved some of her dreams, she says she wants to help her friends and classmates to tap into their passions as well.
“It’s important because kids don't think that they are geniuses, but they all are in their own way,” Taylor said.
Her talk will aim to encourage others to take their dreams further. Lately, she has been hard at work practicing her speech with the other presenters at weekly Saturday rehearsals for the past two months.
More than 40 students applied this year, but organizers have narrowed the group down to 15 presenters.
“We look for ideas that are relevant in which the presenters deliver passionately they have a call to action on how other people can do something follow suit,” Balseiro said.
Organizers then work with the students on their delivery and word choice before they go before the audience.
Attendance has swelled from 100 to 900 people since the first year of the conference, which was originally held at the Little Haiti Cultural Center before it moved to the Arsht Center for its second year.
And the students’ messages will reach far beyond Miami since the talks will be live-streamed to a global audience.
“It is powerful for children,” Balseiro said. “You are standing up on that stage with a global and audience that cares and pays attention to their message.”
If you go
What: TEDx Youth Miami
When: Thursday, Feb. 19 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd.
Cost: Tickets are $25.
For more information: Visit tedxyouthmiami.com.