Creating Home: A Conversation at Mary's Place

Join us at Mary's Place for a unique tour and conversation.

Mary's Place is a nonprofit organization operating in King County to addressing homelessness and empower homeless women, children, and families to reclaim their lives by providing emergency shelter, nourishment, housing & employment resources. Listen and participate in a community conversation on family homelessness and policy reform in Seattle/King County. We will share a spectrum of viewpoints - including those from Mary’s Place, the City of Seattle, Seattle Public Schools, and families experiencing homelessness - to develop, analyze, and suggest policy solutions that address homelessness.


Playing a Violin Outside the Box

Geoffrey Castle aims to shatter people’s preconceived notions of what is possible on a violin.

With a strong interest in community outreach, Castle is thrilled to give back through performances at schools from kindergarten to college. When playing for schools, Castle loves inspiring kids— first to pick up a stringed instrument, and then to learn to “play outside the box”.


Setting scientific research free

The results from taxpayer-funded, scientific research are often locked behind a paywall.

Jennifer Hansen, a senior officer in Knowledge and Research at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, says the cost of accessing that data is too high. Limiting access to the research results in social inequity and puts human lives at risk. She argues that the current model of research distribution is overdue for disruption. Hansen says it’s time to foster a scientific revolution through open access to data. Jennifer Hansen is an equity advocate with a fierce dedication to ensuring information and scientific knowledge is free and available to all. Her professional career has revolved around closing the digital divide and inspiring others to believe in the power of knowledge to shape their world. Ms. Hansen currently works at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as the Senior Officer for Knowledge & Research. She drives the strategy development and management of the foundation’s research outputs and is an influencer in shaping the future of scholarly communication. She championed and led the implementation of the Foundation’s groundbreaking Open Access Policy – a policy requiring that all its funded published research be immediately available to everyone, everywhere without barrier or restriction. Nature called the bold action to open up scholarly research the”world’s strongest policy on open access research.” And, The Economist described it as “something that may help to change the practice of science.”


Everyone has a song - welcoming refugees through music

What started as a place to sing became a refuge.

Founded by Erin Guinup, just as the U.S. was closing its borders to citizens from select countries, the Tacoma Refugee Choir was determined to turn its musical practice into a celebration of human connection by welcoming voices from around the world. The Choir has created an original song to showcase the idea that it takes diversity to create true harmony. Featuring vocals by Wanz, QDot and Stephanie Anne Johnson.


Northwest Tap Connection on the TEDxSeattle 2017 stage

Dance as protest; say their names see their names feel their names

Using a combination of live performance and their viral-sensation video of the protest dance “Hell You Talmbout”, these Northwest Tap Connection students work to heighten awareness about black individuals killed by police.  Movement is power and these young people have the power to move us all.


Creating purposeful wonder

Inspired by the view through his first telescope of a fuzzy, but awe-inducing glimpse of Saturn, entrepreneur Jim Haven was spellbound by wonder.

He is now creating ways to discover and share that sense of wonder with others. Haven’s message to all of us is look up and wonder. A lifelong daydreamer and former advertising creative, Jim learned from some of the most creative people in the business before forming a creative agency in Seattle and London. It was this relationship with creativity that inspired him to change careers and a chance encounter with Saturn that has sparked his present endeavor. Jim has turned his focus skyward, co-founding Look Up where he serves as Wondernaut and Executive Director. Look Up explores the power of wonder through art, science, and space. The organization is creating collaborative experiences designed to incite wonder.


A powerful strategy for disrupting child trafficking

Patty Haven Fleischmann is successfully combating child trafficking in Seattle and catalyzing similar nationwide efforts.

As a therapist, child of a Holocaust survivor, and “kid advocate,” Fleischmann uses her ability to hold two opposing truths to attract a diverse and committed community and disrupt a seemingly insurmountable problem. Launching a Seattle-based non-profit which has raised $4.5 million to fund local organizations that combat both supply and demand, Fleischmann is galvanizing the community and driving a national conversation.   A licensed marriage and family therapist of 25+ years, Patty is the co-founder and President of the StolenYouth board. StolenYouth’s mission is to support the rescue and recovery of our community’s sexually exploited youth. Patty and StolenYouth have worked tirelessly to build a unique coalition of organizations fighting trafficking on all fronts. Since then, these organizations have pioneered new ways to disrupt the scope and nature of child trafficking. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.


Ending homelessness, block by block

Architects Rex Hohlbein and Jenn LaFrenier ask us to consider “Yes in my backyard” as an answer to homelessness.

This father-daughter duo has an idea: let's reimagine our personal space by inviting homeless residents to move into beautifully designed, off-grid, homes built in residential backyards. Called “The Block Project” these tiny homes — built with neighborhood support and community volunteers— provides a path out of homelessness that encourages neighbors to come together as advocates, mentors and friends to those currently living on our streets. A Seattle native, Rex ran a successful residential architectural firm for 30 years. Seven years ago, after befriending several men experiencing homelessness along the Fremont canal, Rex started a Facebook page to raise awareness for those living unsheltered through the sharing of photos and personal stories. Today, that Facebook page has over 46,000 followers, becoming a thriving and inspirational non-profit, Facing Homelessness. This year begins a new chapter, as Rex combines both architecture and community outreach in starting a social justice architecture firm, BLOCK Architects, with his daughter Jenn LaFreniere. Jenn spent a little over five years working at Graham Baba Architects on an array of projects from small remodels to large commercial buildings. Discussions about starting a firm with her father, BLOCK Architects, sparked conversations about the ties between architecture and social justice, ultimately leading to the formation of the BLOCK Project, the first endeavor for their architectural firm


Kids sue the government to fight climate change-- and win

As a high school student, Aji Piper joined with other students in the fight to combat global warming.

Together, they sued the Washington State Department of Ecology and won a ruling to enact new regulatory standards. Now, they are taking their fight to the next level by challenging the Federal government. Piper believes that the future is here today in the voices of the young and that children have a role to play in guiding policy for the planet they will inherit. Aji Piper,17, grew up in the woods of the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington. From his upbringing Aji developed a deep love and connection to the forest and waters of the Pacific Northwest. His activism began when he learned about oil trains coming through his city and along the coast and he was driven to take part in protests and legislative hearings. He uses songs he wrote and his ukulele to speak about environmental issues. He also serves his community by sitting on the Earth Guardians national RYSE council and serving as the President of Plant for the Planet a nonprofit dedicated to fighting climate change through planting trees.


Nature's internet: how trees talk to each other in a healthy forest

This fascinating talk presents the scientific research that shows the interconnectedness of life in the forest ecosystem.

It takes us beneath the forest floor where we learn how trees are communicating and exchanging resources. Going beyond the simple view of a forest as a resource to be exploited, it presents the forest as a complex network of life. Her examination of the relationships that make up the complexity of nature present compelling support for the idea that “We are all one”


Finding Bigfoot Hike and Overnight Camp

Come help us solve one of the greatest mysteries alive by channeling your inner field biologist as we hike alongside Animal Planet’s ‘Finding Bigfoot’ host Ranae Holland. Ranae is a field biologist who has traveled the globe in search of Bigfoot evidence, and has dedicated her life to educating people on how to decipher fact from myth using science.

We will start the day with an afternoon exploration hike under a canopy of trees alongside a river using all of the fun equipment a scientist would use while researching a natural phenomenon. Following our hike we will spend the evening cooking around a fire, listening to live music and hearing some of Ranae’s favorite Bigfoot stories. We will wrap up the adventure with breakfast around a fire and head home. This is sure to be a memory of a lifetime.

Meet at the Denny Creek Campground (near Snoqualmie), campsites 30,31,32.

What to bring: Active shoes, comfortable/active clothing, something to stay warm at night and a rain coat in case of rain, sleeping bag, pillow and tent. If you are missing any of the required gear (i.e., Tent, Sleeping Bag, etc) please email us and we will be sure to provide you the gear you need.