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upworthy
Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy

person holding a smiling balloon in front of their face

We've got 10 smile-worthy finds to lift your spirits.

One of the most classically "Upworthy" stories of the past decade is the story of Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench. In a twist of fate, Wanda texted her grandson about Thanksgiving plans in 2015, or so she thought. The number she texted belonged to a young man named Jamal, who said she wasn't his grandma but could he have a plate anyway? It was a joke, but she invited him to join her family's dinner—and he came.

Jamal and Wanda became fast friends, and they have gotten together for Thanksgiving nearly every year since. They've seen a lot of life changes together—Jamal finding love, Wanda losing her husband, a global pandemic. And Jamal is still getting random texts from random numbers on occasion, which is just a reminder of the story that has delighted millions over the past eight years.

Jamal and Wanda made this week's list along with some other delights, both old and new. May these tidbits of joy lift your spirit and bring a smile—or 10—to your face.


1. Three cheers for the greatest college trick-or-treaters ever

Swipe to see the whole thing. Reason #739 to not put an age limit on trick-or-treating.

2. Woman who worked as a housekeeper for 30 years to help fund her son's pilot education gets the best surprise

There's nothing like a mother's love. Nothing.

3. 4-year-old Emi is out here making eternal optimists out of all of us

"Everything that changes has a sweet to it." Wise words, little one.

4. It's year 8 of the greatest Thanksgiving story ever told and we are here for it

It never gets old. (Scroll through for the whole story.)

5. Baby girl repeatedly pranks her parents by pretending to have her arm stuck in a bottle

The acting chops, though. So adorable. Read the full story here.

6. The way this mama cat introduces her baby to her doggo friend

It looks like she's teaching him how to be gentle with her baby. So sweet.

7. Backpacks of school supplies in lieu of flowers? We don't deserve teachers.

"A teacher to the end" indeed.

8. Ever seen two cellists rock an AC/DC song? It's amazing how well it works.

This isn't new, but it's new to some people and definitely worth revisiting for those of us who have seen it. Read more about 2Cellos here.

9. Hummingbird gets stuck inside, but lets a gentle human help

Here's to helping the gorgeous little birdy find its freedom.

10. Ginormous dog sounds like Chewbacca while getting a bath

First of all, how is that dog real? Secondly, what on Earth is he going on about? Does he like the bath or hate it? Or maybe he's just trying to make conversation with the hairdresser like the rest of us.

Hope this roundup brought a few smiles to your face! If you enjoyed this post and want to see more like it in your inbox, subscribe to our free email newsletter, The Upworthiest, here.

True

Do you ever feel like you could be doing more when it comes to making a positive impact on your community? The messaging around giving back is louder than ever this time of year, and for good reason; It is the season of giving, after all.

If you’ve ever wondered who is responsible for bringing many of the giving-back initiatives to life, it’s probably not who you’d expect. The masterminds behind these types of campaigns are project managers.

Using their talents and skills, often proven by earning certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI), project managers are driving real change and increasing the success rate on projects that truly improve our world.

To celebrate the work that project managers are doing behind the scenes to make a difference, we spoke with two people doing more than their part to make an impact.

In his current role as a Project Management Professional (PMP)-certified project manager and environmental engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Joshua Williard oversees the cleanup of some of America’s most contaminated and hazardous waste sites.

Courtesy of Joshua Williard

“Recently, I was part of a four-person diving team sent to collect contaminated sediment samples from the bottom of a river in Southeastern Virginia. We wanted to ensure a containment wall was successfully blocking the release of waste into an adjacent river,” Williard says.

Through his work, Josh drives restoration efforts to completion so contaminated land can again be used beneficially, and so future generations will not be at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals.

“I’ve been inspired by the natural world from a young age and always loved being outside. As I gained an understanding about Earth's trajectory, I realized that I wanted to be part of trying to save it and keep it for future generations.

“I learned the importance of using different management styles to address various project challenges. I saw the value in building meaningful relationships with key community members. I came to see that effective project management can make a real difference in getting things done and having on-the-ground impact,” Williard says.

In addition, Monica Chan’s career in project management has enabled her to work at the forefront of conservation efforts with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US). She most recently has been managing a climate change project, working with a diverse team including scientists, policy experts, data analysts, biologists, communicators, and more. The goal is to leverage grants to protect and restore mangroves, forests, and ecosystems, and drive demand in seaweed farming – all to harness nature's power to address the climate crisis.

Courtesy of Monica Chan

“As the project management lead for WWF-US, I am collaborating across the organization to build a project management framework that adapts to our diverse projects. Given that WWF's overarching objectives center on conserving nature and addressing imminent threats to the diversity of life on Earth, the stakes are exceptionally high in how we approach projects,” says Chan.

“Throughout my journey, I've discovered a deep passion for project management's ability to unite people for shared goals, contributing meaningfully to environmental conservation,” she says.

With skills learned from on-the-job experience and resources from PMI, project managers are the central point of connection for social impact campaigns, driving them forward and solving problems along the way. They are integral to bringing these projects to life, and they find support from their peers in PMI’s community.

PMI has a global network of more than 300 chapters and serves as a community for project managers – at every stage of their career. Members can share knowledge, celebrate impact, and learn together through resources, events, and other programs such as PMI’s Hours for Impact program, which encourages PMI members to volunteer their time to projects directly supporting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“By tapping into PMI's extensive network and resources, I've expanded my project management knowledge and skills, gaining insights from seasoned professionals in diverse industries, including environmental management. Exposure to different perspectives has kept me informed about industry trends, best practices, and allowed me to tailor my approach to the unique challenges of the non-profit sector,” Chan says.

“Obtaining my PMP certification has been a game-changer, propelling not only my career growth, but also reshaping my approach to daily projects, both personally and professionally,” Chan says. Research from PMI shows that a career in project management means being part of an industry on the rise, as the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030 and the median salary for project practitioners in the U.S. is $120K.

PMI’s mission is to help professionals build project management skills through online courses, networking, and other learning opportunities, help them prove their proficiency in project management through certifications, and champion the work that project professionals, like Joshua and Monica, do around the world.

For those interested in pursuing a career in project management to help make a difference, PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification could be the starting point to help get your foot in the door.

Pop Culture

UPS driver shares his weekly paycheck, and now everyone wants to apply

People are shocked to find out how much delivery drivers make.

@skylerleestutzman/TikTok

People were shocked to find out how much Skyler Stutzman earned as a UPS driver

People are seriously considering switching careers after finding out how much can be made as a UPS delivery driver.

Back in October, Skyler Stutzman, an Oregon-based UPS delivery driver went viral after sharing his weekly pay stub on TikTok.

In the clip, Stutzman showed that for 42 hours of work, and at a pay rate of $44.26 per hour, he earned $2,004 before taxes, and ultimately took home $1,300 after deductions.

This both shocked the nearly 12 million viewers who saw the video…not to mention it stirred their jealousy a bit.

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Science

MIT’s trillion-frames-per-second camera can capture light as it travels

"There's nothing in the universe that looks fast to this camera."

Photo from YouTube video.

Photographing the path of light.

A new camera developed at MIT can photograph a trillion frames per second.

Compare that with a traditional movie camera which takes a mere 24. This new advancement in photographic technology has given scientists the ability to photograph the movement of the fastest thing in the Universe, light.

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Family

A letter to my mother-in-law who spoiled my sons

"It's pointless to dwell on regrets, but I often think about how I had it all wrong. I was so wrong in how I perceived your generosity."

Tina Platamura


You always stole my thunder. You gave them everything they wanted. You never said no when they asked for anything.

Tina Platamura

A second helping of dessert. Candy before dinner. A few more minutes in the bath. Money for the ice cream truck.

I struggled to show you respect and appreciation while trying to make sure you didn't spoil my children. I thought you would turn them into “selfish brats" by giving them everything they wanted. I thought they might never learn to wait, to take turns, to share, because you granted their wishes as soon as they opened their mouths and pointed.

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Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny as Agent Scully and Mulder

As any “X-Files” will tell you, mystery is a major part of the show’s intrigue. After all, Agent Mulder and Scully dealt with some new kind of paranormal phenomenon every episode.

But it’s usually not a mystery centered around the show itself.

That is, unless we’re talking about a catchy country song that appears during the 5th episode of season 6, titled “Dreamland II,” which premiered in 1998. During the episode, Mulder gets body-swapped with an Area 51 employee at a dive bar, where the song plays in the background.

It was a song “so good” that Lauren Ancona tried to use her Shazam app to find its title. Only nothing came up. So then she tried to look up the lyrics. Still nothing. Finally she decided to look up the episode itself.

That’s when she realizes she was stumbling upon a decades long puzzle that even the most high tier “X-Files” aficionado couldn’t solve.

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Democracy

Urban planner shares a simple and proven way to cut rents in half

“Housing is ultimately for people, not profits.”

Why is one building so much cheaper?

Over the past few years, one of the most significant contributors to the increase in the cost of living in the U.S. has been skyrocketing rent and housing prices. A big reason for the rise is the lack of housing supply. Estimates show that Americans need to build around 6 million more housing units for supply to meet demand.

If we are going to build more housing units, About Here’s founder urban planner Uytae Lee, suggests that the U.S. and Canada focus on building more non-market co-op units.

He lays out his theory in a video entitled “The Non-Market Solution to the Housing Crisis.”

To illustrate his point, he highlights two apartment buildings side by side in the up-and-coming Olympic Village neighborhood in Vancouver, Canada. In one building, the average rent for a 2 bedroom is $4,500. However, in the building across the street, a 2-bedroom unit only costs $1900 a month.

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@katielovesocial/TikTok

May all Santas be like this one

Forcing a kid to sit on Santa’s lap, even when it makes them clearly uncomfortable, might have been a holiday tradition once upon a time. But today, in an age where many, if not most parents advocate for their child’s boundaries, it’s an automatic naughty-list move.

And that’s why people are applauding one Santa’s perfect display of respect for a little girl named Adley, who gave him a firm “no” after he asked her if she wanted to sit in his lap. Their viral exchange became a simple, but effective lesson in consent.

Katie Love, Adley’s mom, was so impressed with what Santa told her that she asked him to repeat the message so she could record it, according to Today.com.
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