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'Are you kidding me?': Amy Poehler derails silly Q and A to talk about dire issues.

Some (most?) days, it feels like the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

No one gets along anymore (or at least it feels that way). Social media is like a bad ex who loves toying with our moods. The news cycle is downright exhausting. Oh! And climate change is literally destroying our planet faster than ever before.

[rebelmouse-image 19534327 dam="1" original_size="580x282" caption="Thank you, K.C. Green, for blessing us with this all-too-real meme." expand=1]Thank you, K.C. Green, for blessing us with this all-too-real meme.


It can be ... a lot. So escapism can be a good thing! Read a silly book, binge on your favorite sit-com, walk in circles until you forget who the president is. Whatever works for you.

Some days, though, it's honestly too difficult to focus on anything trivial when it feels like there's so much on the line.

Amy Poehler gets the feeling.

Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images.

Poehler did a question and answer session for The Hollywood Reporter's "40(ish) Most Powerful People in Comedy" feature.  

And the interview went spectacularly well or terribly wrong, depending on how you see it.

In response to eight lighthearted questions posed to the comedian, Poehler flipped the script, answering most of them with sobering realities about the current state of affairs.

"Who cares?" Poehler answered as a way to start things off when asked about her most memorable heckler. "The whole world is on fire."

[rebelmouse-image 19534330 dam="1" original_size="799x489" caption="Image via The Hollywood Reporter." expand=1]Image via The Hollywood Reporter.

College comedy audiences are "kids that are afraid they will be shot in their own schools," she continued. "What has happened to us?"

"Let's not forget over 4,600 people have died in Puerto Rico," she chimed in when asked about her guilty pleasure.

"A giant whale just died in Thailand after eating 80 plastic bags," she answered instead of detailing her "dream product endorsement."

Can anyone blame Poehler for getting real in her interview?

Things do feel particularly bad right now. But we don't have to accept the status quo.

  • Concerned for whales and other ocean life? Support organizations fighting to get plastic out of our oceans.
  • Alarmed our elected leaders don't seem to care about the people of Puerto Rico? You can help, even if Washington is failing them.
  • Sick and tired of senseless gun violence? Do something about it.
  • Also, vote. Vote, vote, vote. Make sure you're registered!
  • And lastly — and this one is especially crucial — don't forget to laugh along the way. You deserve it.

Our whole world may feel like it's burning, but — believe it or not — there's a lot of good happening too.

All images provided by Prudential Emerging Visionaries

Collins after being selected by Prudential Emerging Visionaries

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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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