TRU gets its first taste of inspirational TEDx series

Speakers discussed a variety of topics from youth homelessness to racism

Katherine McParland spoke passionately on the subject of youth homelessness in Kamloops, a topic very near to her heart as she struggled with homlessness while young. (Justin Moore/The Omega)

Thompson Rivers University hosted their first ever TEDx talk on March 3 under the theme “growing through our truths”. Audiences were treated to inspiring and emotional speeches from those in the community.

“We invite you to spark conversations with strangers and challenge your own notions and belief systems,” said TEDxTRU chair Aanchal Mogla. “We invite you to come with a hungry mind and a growth mindset. Not just now and today, but in the days and months that follow.”

The afternoon’s talk gave deep personal perspectives on hard topics such as youth homelessness in Kamloops, learning to grow past an opinion of an individual, and the intense importance of solar energy even in a small community such as Kamloops.

The afternoon opened with an emotional speech by Katherine McParland, the founder and manager of A Way Home Kamloops; a movement to help end youth homelessness. McParland shared stories about her personal struggle with the foster care system in Canada and aging out of the system into a life of homelessness.

“Foster care taught me how to be homeless,” McParland shared bluntly.

Her own experience was a stepping stone in creating an initiative that has helped hundreds of youth in Canada, the United States and Scotland.

“Our team focuses on helping young people transcend homelessness,” McParland said.

Master of education graduate student Yasir Ali Khan, who hails from Pakistan, spoke openly and positively about a rather racist incident that ended in a far more upbeat manner than one would expect.

In his talk How to Get Along with Anyone, Khan spoke on the importance of listening and the power of empathy.

TRU professor of geography and environment Dr. Michael Mehta spoke enthusiastically on the work Kamloops and TRU is doing in the field of solar energy; speaking proudly of the solar compass located outside the Arts and Education building on campus, known as Canada’s first solar walkway.

“We have so much potential to use this energy, yet Canada is still building pipelines,” Mehta said.

The afternoon was insightful and powerful. TEDxTRU gave the audience the faith that even in a small community like Kamloops, there are always ways for the community to grow and better itself.