On a day that featured some heavyweight talent on stage at Delray Center of the Arts, one of the most diminutive speakers at Friday’s TEDx event more than held her own. For anyone familiar with Boca resident Rebecca Zerbo, that shouldn’t come as a surprise.
The articulate, engaging eighth grader from Eagles Landing Middle School captivated the sold-out crowd during the second of four TEDx sessions with her tale of turning a sixth-grade bullying experience into an entrepreneurial adventure that shows no signs of slowing down.
What started as a series of laminated cards with confidence-building affirmations has evolved into Positive Pocket LLC, an organization “devoted to empowering others who have suffered from the negative effects of bullying and other social/emotional issues.” After claiming the $30,000 top scholarship prize last year at a national young entrepreneurs competition for the Positive Pocket cards, Zerbo has broadened her business plan to include Positive Pocket jeans, which feature an inspiring message on the inside waistband. Look for the jeans starting May 7 at Kickstarter—the web-based fundraising platform for creative projects—where Zerbo will try to raise $6,000 in 30 days and, hopefully, attract the attention of investors.
Since Boca Raton profiled Zerbo in its December/January issue, the 14-year-old has become something of a local celebrity, as evidenced by the Delray TEDx team’s interest in her story. After working the room Thursday night at a VIP party with the maturity of a savvy businesswoman—she walked up to several strangers, confidently introduced herself, and shared her story—Zerbo took the stage Friday as poised as can be. She shared some of the humbling feedback she’s received since launching Positive Pocket—from a bullied fifth grader who called Zerbo her hero to an adult woman in an abusive relationship who found strength through the laminated cards.
Positive Pocket, she told the audience, doesn’t just inspire the people reading the cards. “It inspires [people to go out] and inspire others.”
Visit positivepocket.org for more information.