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Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy.

Street sweeper and dancing toddler

From sensitive street sweepers to delightful dancing toddlers, here are the week's most smile-worthy finds.

Did you know that the most popular class ever at Yale University is all about happiness? It's called "Psychology and the Good Life," and there's even a free six-week version of the class for teenagers called “The Science of Well-Being for Teens.”

In his new series, "The Geography of Bliss," on Peacock, actor Rainn Wilson explores what the happiest and unhappiest cultures do differently. The "secrets" he found to bliss are fairly straightforward. Community. Connection. Simplicity. Routinely plunging your body into the frigid waters of Iceland with your friends. (You know, the basics.)

In reality, we're all looking for ways to feel more contented, more fulfilled and more joyful. One of our goals at Upworthy is to aid in that process by highlighting what unites us and showcasing the good in humanity. Another goal is to make people smile, not only with beautiful stories of human connection but also with adorable animals and goofy toddler videos that remind us of the joy to be found in tiny things.

Hope this week's roundup brings you some measure of bliss. Enjoy!


1. The delightful, spontaneous 'fish song' that became a viral mental health anthem

@hicorook

I was having a very emotional day, feeling insecure and out of place. So I cried to Olivia and after feeling through it, we wrote this song in 10 minutes to remember the joy in being different 🐸 happy Tuesday

When you're having a bad day, so you co-write a song to cheer yourself up. Love it. Read the full story here.

2. Hummingbird takes to a human flower, and her joy is contagious.

Have you ever had a hummingbird fly this close to your head? It's loud. Those wings flapping are like a lawnmower. Pretty magical to be chosen like this, though. Read the full story here.

3. Radio DJ in the UK gets emotional when a man who won a large cash prize shares how he'll use it

Gulp. Crying? Smiling? Sometimes they're the same thing. Read the full story here.

4. Man hears his old high school teacher is in need of a kidney and changes his whole lifestyle to help him

Swipe through to read the whole story. Totally worth it. Good teachers truly make a lifelong impression on us.

5. This classic TV game show moment when a man called his dad as his 'lifeline'

Seriously a winner move. Just cool as a cucumber. Read the full story here.

6. When you get the imaginary kid lasso, you comply. It's the law.

And you always stop for the lemonade stand. Even if you don't drink it, just the purchase makes a kid's whole day.

7. Street cleaner keeps a rose on his trash cart for the most beautiful reason

This video just gets better and better. How could anyone not adore this guy's attitude?

8. A high school choir teacher invited all his former students to join him for one last performance

@watchmaggiepaint

Thank you, Mr. Stanley. When Mr. Stanley retired, he sent out an invite to all his old students, inviting us to come sing and be directed by him for one last day. I blocked it in my calendar and didn't work a wedding, specifically so I could go to my small home town and sing for one last time with all the people I grew up knowing. It was so emotional. So many memories flooded back, we had the strongest choral program of a town our size, all because of Stanley. Many of us became artists and mysicians professionally. Reuniting and seeing the life path of each former student was wild. SHOUTOUT to Lisa for the solo, she is amazing. #mrhollandsopus #choralmusic #teacher #inspiring

Teachers are the best. And that soloist—phew! Yay, Mr. Stanley and all the lives you've made better with music.

9. People's slow-motion reactions to a squirrel scampering by at a baseball game are hilarious

Like, have they never seen a squirrel before? (I'm reminded of my Australian brother-in-law who literally had never seen a squirrel in real life and was completely enamored with them in our yard when visiting. Enamored, not terrified.)

10. A life lesson from a wee one: When someone tells you to walk, dance instead

That kid's got soul. What a cutie.

Hope that contributed a little bit to your personal sense of bliss! If you'd like to receive these posts weekly in your inbox, sign up for our free newsletter, The Upworthiest, here.

Happy long weekend, everyone!

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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