Skip to content
Home » Turning Impossible to Possible: Zoe Terry at TEDxYouth@Miami (Transcript)

Turning Impossible to Possible: Zoe Terry at TEDxYouth@Miami (Transcript)


Hello! Have you ever been told you would not be able to do something? Have you ever felt that being different was bad? Have you ever tried something and failed? I can fortunately answer yes to all those questions. Yes.

I know, those are not very good thoughts. It all depends how you look at it. My name is Zoe Terry. And I’m here to share with you how I turned my impossible to possible. I am nine years old.

And in my time here, I had to deal with some stuff. When I was just two years old, my mommy found out that I had a stroke. The stroke affected me doing jumping jacks, learning how to ride my bike, and the way I moved my body. It also affected how I speak. My words sometimes run together, and people can’t always understand me.

My mommy put me in therapy. I was there like all the time. It made me stronger. They said I would have trouble doing things that other kids do. My mommy was worried, and I believe she was scared, but she would never tell me that.

I was not worried or scared. You see, they didn’t know who I really was. I felt in my heart that I can do whatever I want so long as I gave it my best. That’s what I did. I wanted to do everything.

I wanted to dance so my mom put me in dance. I wanted to play tennis so my mom put me in tennis. I wanted to do aerial, so, you guessed it; my mom put me in aerial. I do all of those things now. Those things were not easy when I first started.

They were actually hard. I would get mad that I was not as good as the other kids. I did not make the dance competition team, I did not win my tennis matches, and when I first started riding my bike, I would fall off all the time. I would cry. There were even times I wanted to stop.

But I didn’t Monday, I grind Tuesday, I grind Wednesday, I grind I kept going. I got stronger, and I got better. Guess what? I can now do jumping jacks. I can ride my bike. I can twirl like a graceful ballerina, I can hang from the silk ropes in aerial. I also like to think that I’m a great tennis player.

I think I can play Serena someday. I did not give up. I turned my impossible to possible. When I was in kindergarten, I was bullied because I was different. My hair was different. It was puffy. And my skin was different from everybody’s in my class. This one girl would say, “Zoe, your hair is so puffy” or “Your skin is so dark.” There were even times she would call me slowpoke because I could not ride the tricycle as good or as fast as other kids could.

It made me feel like I was ugly. I just wanted to fit in. I could not understand why I looked the way I did and why that was so bad. It made me very sad. But not for long.

Along with my mom, my Gaga, and my school, I did something about it, and this is how. Every year, around Christmas time, my mom would make me give away one of my toys. When I was five, I told her I did not want to do that anymore.

I told her I wanted to start a new company called “Zoe’s Dolls”. I wanted little brown girls to know that their image is beautiful, and that they’re special just the way they are. So that year, on my birthday, October 19th, I asked all my friends and family to bring me a new brown doll instead of a gift. I also asked my school if they could help, I asked, and they did just that.

My first year, I got over 250 dolls. My school also worked very hard with me. My lower school principal, Miss Knight, worked with the girl that was not so nice to me. She helped her understand that our differences are what make us special and bond us in one community. That little girl who was not so nice to me is now my friend and helps out with Zoe’s Dolls each year.

We are now in our fourth year of Zoe’s Dolls and have given out over 2,000 dolls to little girls in South Florida. We even ship dolls to Haiti and Africa. I’ve been in the Miami Herald, the Miami Times, I’ve been on radio and TV. I speak about Zoe’s Dolls at schools, churches, organizations, and companies. We even started a chapter of Zoe’s Dolls in Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas.

My company also has very empowering programs to let little brown girls know that their image is beautiful. One of my favorite programs is “Loving the Skin I’m In” a creative expressions contest. This one is my favorite because I think it brings up girls’ confidence. Another one of our programs is “Love Letters to Black Girls”. People write love letters to black girls to encourage them and celebrate their beauty.

I want little brown girls to know that we may look different, but we are beautiful. My goal for this year is to have my own line of Zoe’s Dolls. You see what can happen when you don’t stop? I just love it! I tell my friends all the time, “You can never give up on you.” We are small, but we are mighty. Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, “I’m possible”.

Thank you.

Related Posts