Thousands of children and adults cheered for Adora Svitak, author and advocate, as she took to the stage at We Day 2014, on March 21, at the Key Arena in Seattle. First published at 7 years old, Svitak challenges the dynamic of adult-child interactions, lectures around the nation’s schools and universities, and promotes the power children have to change the world.
On Friday Mar. 21, 2014,, thousands of local youth and leaders packed the Key Arena in Seattle to celebrate We Day, an event centered on youth empowerment and positive community engagement. The crowds were inspired by speeches by actor Edward Norton, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, and more.
We Day is a community event promoting and empowering youth involvement that changes local and global issues. The Key Arena saw over 15,000 students and teachers from over 450 Washington state schools. Attendees were given invitations to the event based on merit, such as community service. This year, Svitak was able to attend the We Day event in Seattle and share her story to inspire the audience into positively influencing their communities.
Quick Bio of Adora Svitak:
- Internationally known as the world’s youngest teacher
- Activist for literacy, speaker, author, and humanitarian
- Lectured TED attendees about how to take children seriously by changing the student-teacher dynamic
- Wrote her first book at the age of 7 called “Flying Fingers”, then later published “Dancing Fingers”, both meant to inspire children to take education seriously in a fun way
During this year’s We Day event, WG 206 Host, Jacky Graham, had the opportunity to meet up with Svitak and see the girl behind the inspiration.
Jacky Graham: Tell me something about yourself.
Adora Svitak: “I am a student and I absolutely love to write. I would have to say writing is what brought me here and I have been writing since I was four years old. There are two books I have published as a kid and I feel I can inspire people to accomplish things through writing and inspire them to act, even as a kid.”
Graham: I saw your video on YouTube and I thought that was so awesome! How did you get involved with TED and how did they contact you?
Svitak: “I have been teaching and speaking to schools and classrooms around the world since I was very young and TED heard about my work, especially through educational conferences, and they wanted to see what kind of message I had for their audience of all adults. The presentation was about what adults can learn from kids, which is a topic I believe is really important for everyone.”
Graham: You also wrote your first book at the age of seven. How did you do something so extraordinary at such a young age?
Svitak: “I think part of it was I was too naïve to know that publishing a book was really hard! I was ignorant and went ahead to tell my mom I wanted to publish a book and she never told me “no”. Most the things I wanted to do or accomplish, people never told me ‘no’.”
Graham: What are your feelings that people in this generation do not enjoy reading and writing anymore? Why do you think these two qualities are important?
Svitak: “Growing up, walking into a bookstore for me was like walking into a candy shop because it was all the things that I wanted. I could explore a new world through books and I wanted younger people to have that opportunity. Students who do not read or write at a young age are less likely to graduate from high school. Reading is the best way to maintain our childhood curiosity, so that is why I am so dedicated to advocate literacy and finding its important to kids.”
Graham: How does it feel being interviewed by pop star and actor Joe Jonas?
Svitak: “It was a big fan girl moment for me. It was a moment for me to get all of my girl friends jealous because they have a huge crush on Joe.”
Graham: What is the importance of We Day and how did you get involved?
Svitak: ”We Day actually contacted me last year, but I could not attend because I was giving a speech at the United Nations. This year, I was really excited to be on the stage with so many thousands of incredible motivated young people. As actor Edward Norton said, “People on stage are not the real impressive people, it is the people in the audience who inspire us”, so the importance of We Day is every single member of the Seattle community that has been involved in community service feel valued.”
Graham: How do you feel about the Seahawks organization and other celebrities being involved with We Day?
Svitak: ”I find it awesome because now when I speak around the world or around the United States, I can say ‘I am from Seattle, go Seahawks!’ and people will know exactly where I am from and I love that!”
Photo at right: Adora Svitak and host Jacky Graham smile for the camera post-interview at We Day 2014, celebrating youth positively influencing and changing their local and global communities. Svitak was happy and excited to share her message of youth empowerment with the crowd at We Day.
Svitak plans to attend college next year along with organize and inspire young people to seek out their own education. She believes in the power that youth have, that they can be both the recipients of their own education and the authors of it.
See her TED talk here: Adora Svitak’s TEDtalk challenges adults-child dynamic
For more information about Adora Svitak, head to her website at www.adorasvitak.com.
From the Host: Jacky Graham felt it was an honor to interview Adora Svitak about the inspiring, community-driven, and positive efforts Svitak has accomplished, and was inspired to continue to positively impact the community that What’s Good 206 has been enriching for nearly a year.