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Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

From cutie-pie kiddos to a Kevin Bacon Christmas song, here's this week's roundup of joy.

joy, kids, camel

Kids and camels and Kevin Bacon in this week's roundup of joy.

With another year almost in the bag, it's a natural time of reflection for a lot of us. What did we learn this year? How did we grow? What are we grateful for?

Some might be thinking about loss, grieving loved ones who have passed away. Some may have gone through big transitions this year and are reeling from the change. Some might look back with a realization that they want next year to be different, feeling resolved to take the steps necessary to build the life they envision.

In any year, there are moments we want to cherish and moments we don't want to relive. It's all part of the complex reality of being human—the ups and the downs, the good with the bad, the yin balancing the yang.


But what we focus on matters. When we celebrate the good, we nurture a mindset of optimism that can spill over into all parts of our lives. It's easy to point to everything that's bad and become a cynic. But when we shift our focus to the good, we find hope and faith in humanity again and again. And that can make a world of difference.

Here's a sampling of good to get you going:

1. Mom gets an unexpected expression of love from her sweet son with a speech delay.

@jaylabrenae5

It’s an even sweeter moment for me knowing I used to pray for the days my son could tell me he loved me due to him being speech delayed. I’m in awe right now😭❤️ #momlife #sahm #mommoments #sweetestboy #toddlertalk #beautifulmoments

"It’s an even sweeter moment for me knowing I used to pray for the days my son could tell me he loved me due to him being speech delayed," wrote Jayla. "I’m in awe right now.😭❤️" We are right there with you, Mama.

2. Baby tries pho for the first time and his reaction is 100% relatable.

@brookestersandmommy

10/10 recommended by Hendrix 🤣 #babyboy #pho #firsttime #baby

Pho for the win. Every time. (And baby named Hendrix? Also 10/10.)

3. This Army vs. Navy drumline battle is just nonstop awesome.

Drumlines are fun, but drumline battles are epic. Read the full story and watch last year's battle as well here.

4. Kevin Bacon and Old 97's have gifted us with the Christmas song of the season.

Kevin Bacon has been entertaining us musically throughout the pandemic, even singing Beyoncé with a bunch of goats. "Here It Is Christmastime" from "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special" is just icing on our Kevin Bacon cake.

See the scene from the special and learn how the song came about here.

5. She looked worried searching for her family, but when she spotted them it was pure joy.

That wee one's face lit up like a Christmas tree. A sweet reminder that showing up matters. Read the full story here.

6. Liquor store employee sees a man without shoes and immediately gives him the Jordans off her feet.

Ta Leia Thomas is known in her community for her kindness, but this spontaneous sacrificial act is just the best. Read the full story here.

7. Baby gets glasses for the first time and her reaction is priceless.

@kaseysimpson6

#trend #foryoupage❤️❤️ #blind #littlesister #firsttimeseeing #blowthisup #blindnessawareness #tikkok

Anyone who wears glasses can understand that moment of WOW. I remember thinking, "Wait, people can actually see blades of grass?" when I got my first pair of glasses. Clear sight is something we simply can't take for granted.

8. Throwback to this 3-year-old drumming prodigy who wipes his nose and drops his stick while barely missing a beat.

The kid is Russian drum prodigy Lyonya Shilovsky and the video is from when, at age 3, he impressively led an entire orchestra in a part of Offenbach's "Orpheus in the Underworld" called "Galop infernal"—better known as "the cancan."(Shilovsky is now 13 and still playing percussion.)

9. A little girl asked L.A. County Animal Control for approval to keep a unicorn in her yard. They responded with an official unicorn license and more.

Click the arrows to scroll all the way through. Absolutely delightful response to an adorable young citizen.

10. May we all be as joyful about the weather as Albert the camel is when seeing snow for the first time.

@ranchograndeojai

Snow camel walks with the goats #ranchograndeojai #ranchoojai #ojai ##ranch #camel #goats #snowdrop

Didn't even know a camel could hippity hop like that. Yay, Albert.

Hope you found some smiles here! Come back next week for more! (And if you'd like to get these posts delivered to your inbox so you never miss them, join our free Upworthiest newsletter here.)

All images provided by Prudential Emerging Visionaries

Collins after being selected by Prudential Emerging Visionaries

True

A changemaker is anyone who takes creative action to solve an ongoing problem—be it in one’s own community or throughout the world.

And when it comes to creating positive change, enthusiasm and a fresh perspective can hold just as much power as years of experience. That’s why, every year, Prudential Emerging Visionaries celebrates young people for their innovative solutions to financial and societal challenges in their communities.

This national program awards 25 young leaders (ages 14-18) up to $15,000 to devote to their passion projects. Additionally, winners receive a trip to Prudential’s headquarters in Newark, New Jersey, where they receive coaching, skills development, and networking opportunities with mentors to help take their innovative solutions to the next level.

For 18-year-old Sydnie Collins, one of the 2023 winners, this meant being able to take her podcast, “Perfect Timing,” to the next level.

Since 2020, the Maryland-based teen has provided a safe platform that promotes youth positivity by giving young people the space to celebrate their achievements and combat mental health stigmas. The idea came during the height of Covid-19, when Collins recalled social media “becoming a dark space flooded with news,” which greatly affected her own anxiety and depression.

Knowing that she couldn’t be the only one feeling this way, “Perfect Timing” seemed like a valuable way to give back to her community. Over the course of 109 episodes, Collins has interviewed a wide range of guests—from other young influencers to celebrities, from innovators to nonprofit leaders—all to remind Gen Z that “their dreams are tangible.”

That mission statement has since evolved beyond creating inspiring content and has expanded to hosting events and speaking publicly at summits and workshops. One of Collins’ favorite moments so far has been raising $7,000 to take 200 underserved girls to see “The Little Mermaid” on its opening weekend, to “let them know they are enough” and that there’s an “older sister” in their corner.

Of course, as with most new projects, funding for “Perfect Timing” has come entirely out of Collins’ pocket. Thankfully, the funding she earned from being selected as a Prudential Emerging Visionary is going toward upgraded recording equipment, the support of expert producers, and skill-building classes to help her become a better host and public speaker. She’ll even be able to lease an office space that allows for a live audience.

Plus, after meeting with the 24 other Prudential Emerging Visionaries and her Prudential employee coach, who is helping her develop specific action steps to connect with her target audience, Collins has more confidence in a “grander path” for her work.

“I learned that my network could extend to multiple spaces beyond my realm of podcasting and journalism when industry leaders are willing to share their expertise, time, and financial support,” she told Upworthy. “It only takes one person to change, and two people to expand that change.”

Prudential Emerging Visionaries is currently seeking applicants for 2024. Winners may receive up to $15,000 in awards and an all-expenses-paid trip to Prudential’s headquarters with a parent or guardian, as well as ongoing coaching and skills development to grow their projects.

If you or someone you know between the ages of 14 -18 not only displays a bold vision for the future but is taking action to bring that vision to life, click here to learn more. Applications are due by Nov. 2, 2023.
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