STURGIS | As with many teenagers, Danika Gordon enjoys spending time on her smartphone, and connecting with friends on social media platforms, such as Snapchat and Instagram.
As a South Dakota 4-H Ambassador, Gordon also hopes to fulfill an assignment to help promote leadership qualities among her fellow students.
She decided to combine technology with a quest for self-improvement to accomplish her goal.
Gordon, daughter of Bruce and Kindra Gordon of rural Whitewood, and a junior at Sturgis Brown High School, has established a website titled Listen, Learn, Lead — or L3 for short, which may be found at: listenlearnlead4h.weebly.com.
In her own online scrolling, Gordon found she enjoyed TED Talks, brief online videos featuring expert speakers from around the world on an array of topics — ranging from business and science to human behavior.
Gordon thought sharing some of her favorite TED Talks with other youth across the state would be a way to promote learning and leadership among her peers.
“We spend so much time on our technology on Snapchat or Instagram and social media. I wanted to use technology as a way to promote higher thinking for our youth,” said Gordon.
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For her website, Gordon picked four links to TED Talks, highlighting introverts, body language, views on leadership, and thoughts on what helps people be successful in school and life.
She also generated study questions based on each talk, with the hope of spurring discussion on the topics at hand and beyond.
Gordon hopes youth might gather to watch the TED Talks during a school class or club meetings, as a family, or simply during free time.
As a nine-year 4-H member and current South Dakota 4-H Ambassador, Gordon is especially encouraging other 4-H youth to participate in the project. She plans to add more links to other TED Talks to her website on an annual basis.
In addition to 4-H, Gordon is active in Future Farmers of America, Student Council, and Destination Imagination. She is also a 2018 graduate of the Junior Leadership Rapid City program.
“I hope it really impacts a lot of students' lives. I hope it helps them realize they can be successful in school and life,” she said. “I hope to build a larger conversation and be able to make an impact with the youth in our state that are leaders for our future.”