TEDx Catholic Speaker Dillon Mendes Speaks to CDSBEO Secondary Students
CDSBEO students from grades 7 through 12, had the opportunity to hear inspirational TEDx Catholic Speaker Dillon Mendes, who spoke to students about his own experience with student leadership and creating positive change within his community. Centered around the Catholic Social Teachings, Mendes encouraged students to think about one or two of the teachings that resonate, and how they can do something small, consistently, to make a difference within their communities.
Dillon discussed how youth strive to attain a sense of camaraderie, and touched on his own desire to find a sense of belonging by following what his friends were doing, what clothes they wore, and what food they brought to school for lunch.
Through his own research, he learned that it’s common for young people to often do what others want them to do, rather than making their own decisions, and that people are hardwired for connection and belonging to thrive in communities. He discussed how if we focus on our own intrinsic desire, and lean into the Catholic Social Teachings for guidance, we can also find a sense of belonging and community by working together and doing small things consistently to achieve a meangingful goal.
“Our actions do matter, and the ripple effect of our actions are real.”
Dillon referred to his own experience of helping a friend clean up litter around their community every Saturday, which then grew to a weekly and eventually, a city-wide annual initiative for the City of Pickering. The group of volunteers completed over 300 community cleanups.
“Think about what you can do in small ways to make an impact in your community. It can be something you can do right now. Set a goal and reach out and connect with others to build a sense of community to attain that objective.”
The presentation was part of the Board’s Catholic Education Week initiatives, including the Just Us Youth Day which brings focus to social justice for grade 10 students.