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.
There's a good reason for the update. But it's jarring, to say the least.
The oldest published version of the melody to the “Alphabet Song” was in 1761. However, because it’s the same melody as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” it's hard to trace it to its original composer.
The “Alphabet Song” is so deeply entrenched in American culture that it almost seems sacrilegious to change a piece of music that’s one of the first most of us ever learned. But after all these years, some educators are altering the classic melody so that there is a variation when the letters L-M-N-O-P are sung.
This change shocked popular TikTokker Jessica Skube, who documents life raising 7 children with her 2.6 million followers. Nearly 10 million people have watched her video revealing the significant change, and it’s received over 56,000 comments since first being published in late 2020.
"You guys, I have huge, huge, huge, huge, huge news,” Skube told her followers. "I have a fifth grader, a fifth grader, a fourth grader, a third grader, a third grader, a first grader, and a preschooler and I just got news that the ‘Alphabet Song’ is changing."
She then sang the updated version of the song.
Just to add to your 2020 🤯😱 because distance learning wasn’t enough!!! @ms_frazzled #abcsong #lmno #wtf #momsoftiktok
The big reason for the change is that people learning English, whether young kids or those who speak it as a second language, often get confused because L-M-N-O-P can sound like one letter, “elemenopee." So, the new version breaks up that part of the alphabet, making the letters easier to understand. There has been a "surge" in the number of students learning English as a second language over the past decade, so it only makes sense to alter the song to help them learn the fundamentals of the language.
It's that time again, friends! Every week, we collect 10 smile-worthy finds from around the internet, wrap them up in a nice bow and share them with our readers.
This week's list includes some adorable kiddos, some inspiring long-term love stories, some hilarious animals, a wildly talented harmonica-playing beatboxer and more. We hope this list brings you as much joy as it brought us putting it together.
Enjoy—and don't forget to share the love!
1. Kids are adorably wowed by a woman's sidewalk chalk art.
"There is no such chalk!" Ah, the pure wonder of children.
2. This little girl standing up for herself and her hairstyle is everything
That's right, little one. You do you and don't pay Owen's opinion any mind.
3. The way this doting husband styles his wife of 25 years is total #couplegoals
Can we clone this man? Gracious. See the fuschia dress on "Flower" and read the full story here.
4. Harmonica beatboxing is something we never knew we needed to see
It just gets better and better. Like, how?
5. Woman pretends to faint and her camel's reaction is the sweetest
Great, now I need a camel.
6. A-ha's stripped down version of 'Take On Me" is a lovely trip down memory lane
When a song makes you smile and tear up at the same time, you just lean into it. Read the full story here.
7. Gorilla siblings being classic siblings is completely hilarious
Siblings.. \ud83d\ude02\n\n\ud83c\udfa5 IG: limbewildlifecentre— Buitengebieden (@Buitengebieden) 1695790929
Everyone with a sibling recognizes this interaction. All that's missing is, "Mo-oommm! He's bothering meeee!"
8. Couple married for nearly 62 years saying goodbye for the weekend is total sweetness
"It's terrible, Troy." Awww.
9. We weren't ready for how this brother and sister talked about their love for one another
Sometimes siblings pick at one another, and sometimes they share a bond like no other.
10. Kid's alien abduction costume inspires an Oscar-worthy performance
#aliens #abduction #halloween
Seriously impressive acting skills, kiddo! Read the full story here.
If you enjoyed this post and want to receive more like it in your inbox, sign up for Upworthy's free email newsletter, The Upworthiest, here.
Until next week—keep on smiling!
"She wrote a letter for me before she died, but I couldn’t bring myself to read it until now."
Ten months after a man’s wife passed away, he finally got the courage to read a letter she left him, which contained a devastating admission. The 4-year-old son they had together may not be his.
“My ‘darling’ wife passed away 10 months ago,” the man wrote on Reddit’s Off My Chest forum. “She wrote a letter for me before she died, but I couldn’t bring myself to read it until now. She told me how sorry she was that she didn’t have the guts to tell me this to my face when she was alive.”
In the letter, the wife revealed that there was a “good chance” that the son he thought was his wasn’t his biological child. A few weeks before their wedding day, the wife got drunk at her bachelorette party and had a one-night stand with another man. Soon after that night, she became pregnant but was unsure who the father was.
The man was torn whether or not to have the paternity test done. The child had only one parent in this world, and he would have to take care of him regardless. He also thought it was cowardly that his former wife would wait until she was no longer around to share the truth with him.
A father and son playing with a train.
“So she thought she’d rather drop this bomb on my life when I could no longer confront her about it,” the man wrote. “Now that my son would only have one parent looking out for him, and she’d have no idea how I would even react. Maybe I should not have got the paternity test done. Maybe it might be better to live in ignorance. But I just had to know.”
The man took the paternity test and learned he wasn’t the child’s biological father.
“I’m devastated. This doesn’t change how I feel about my son,” he wrote. “He’s my whole world and he’s innocent. But boy, does it hurt. There’s so much going on in my head right now. I haven’t stopped crying. Thank god my son is at my parents' place for the day. I’d hate for him to see me like this.”
Facing a pain nearly too much for him to bear, the only outlet he had at the moment was reaching out to Reddit to find some solace. “I just needed to let this all out. Don’t have it in me to tell anyone in my life about this right now,” he wrote.
The commenters send him hundreds of messages of support to get him through the shock of first learning the truth about his family.
A depressed man sit on the couch.
The most popular message was straightforward and honest. "All your feelings are valid, a lot of people will react with some kind of toxic positivity to things like these. Your feelings are valid. Each and everyone," femunndsmarka wrote.
Another commenter added that someday, his son will appreciate how he stepped up and did what was right in a very trying circumstance. “He is going to find out the truth one day. Imagine how much more he will love you knowing you didn’t leave him, even though he wasn’t yours,” ImNotGoodatThis6969.
Another commenter provided valuable insight from the son’s perspective.
"As an adopted child, I just want to thank you on behalf of your son. I deeply believe it changes nothing, family is not about blood, its about who you love, want to have by your side, and care for the most. Sending hugs, strength and gratitude," Mariuuq wrote.
The father at the heart of this story is understandably devastated because his life was upended almost overnight. But the hope in the story is that his trials also taught him a powerful truth—his love for his son goes much deeper than blood.
They were doing trigonometry 1500 years before the Greeks.
Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!
Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.
Mansfield and his team are, understandably, incredibly proud. What they discovered is that the tablet is actually an ancient trigonometry table.
"The huge mystery, until now, was its purpose – why the ancient scribes carried out the complex task of generating and sorting the numbers on the tablet. Our research reveals that Plimpton 322 describes the shapes of right-angle triangles using a novel kind of trigonometry based on ratios, not angles and circles. It is a fascinating mathematical work that demonstrates undoubted genius."
"The tablet not only contains the world's oldest trigonometric table; it is also the only completely accurate trigonometric table, because of the very different Babylonian approach to arithmetic and geometry. This means it has great relevance for our modern world. Babylonian mathematics may have been out of fashion for more than 3,000 years, but it has possible practical applications in surveying, computer graphics and education. This is a rare example of the ancient world teaching us something new."
The tablet predates Greek astronomer Hipparchus, who has long been regarded as the father of trigonometry. Mansfield's colleague, Norman Widberger, added:
"Plimpton 322 predates Hipparchus by more than 1,000 years. It opens up new possibilities not just for modern mathematics research, but also for mathematics education. With Plimpton 322 we see a simpler, more accurate trigonometry that has clear advantages over our own."
"A treasure trove of Babylonian tablets exists, but only a fraction of them have been studied yet. The mathematical world is only waking up to the fact that this ancient but very sophisticated mathematical culture has much to teach us."
People were understandably excited by the news.
Some mathematicians actually think studying the Babylonians back then could help us improve the way we do trigonometry today.
\u201c"With Plimpton 322 we see a simpler, more accurate trig. (with) clear advantages over our own."\n@n_wildberger: https://t.co/xoZBNxvxZ8\n#TOK\u201d— Roo Stenning (@Roo Stenning) 1503658186
Of course, there were the haters...
\u201cFind someone who loves you as much as this guy dislikes a hypothesis about Babylonian math: https://t.co/AznQgoYxFP\u201d— Miles Brundage (@Miles Brundage) 1503605001
But all in all, Twitter users were pretty impressed with the Babylonians' skills.
And they figured it out 3,700 years ahead of me...and counting.— Marty (@Marty) 1503631905
\u201c@prophiphop And we're over here trying to figure out how to do trig with our TI-83s... man I love it when the ancients show what real intelligence is.\u201d— Kenny Hayse (@Kenny Hayse) 1503633184
Congratulations to Dr. Mansfield and his team on their incredible discovery... and for making trigonometry exciting!
This article originally appeared on 07.10.21
He couldn't keep it together, and his joy made everyone laugh.
Almost 100 years ago, nine newspapers joined forces to create a national spelling bee to help promote literacy. Now the Scripps National Spelling Bee has become so popular that was televised for 27 years on ESPN before moving to its own network in 2022.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is a serious competition with students who have studied arduously to memorize root words, phonetic rules and unusual spellings in the hopes of being crowned the nation's spelling champion. The honor also comes with a $50,000 cash prize, so the competition is fierce.
But that didn't stop one competitor from bursting into giggles at being asked to spell the word "sardoodledom."
During the 2007 Scripps National Spelling Bee, 11-year-old Kennyi Aouad approached the microphone with serious concentration when it was his turn to spell. But when the judges told him the word he was to spell and he repeated it, he burst out laughing.
"Sardoodledom" isn't a word most of us have ever even heard, much less recognize. (It means "mechanically contrived plot structure and stereotyped or unrealistic characterization in drama"—basically "melodrama"—according to Merriam-Webster.) It does sound a bit funny saying it out loud, and even one of the judges started giggling at the young contestant's reaction to it.
Watch Kennyi lose it repeatedly as he tries to make it through his turn:
Despite how serious the competition is, these kids are still just kids and people loved seeing his joyful reaction to a silly-sounding word.
"His laugh!! I love that in the seriousness of spelling bees, he was able to be himself. This made me smile!" wrote one person.
"So cute. Smart with a touch of sense of humour," wrote another.
"Talk about breaking the tension!!" shared another. "I love it and he got it right!"
“This validates my burnout, right?”
There never seems to be any downtime when you’re the default parent. You know, the parent that the kids go to first when they want anything, especially food. They're also the go-to person for school forms and bedtime stories, and the parents that the school reaches out to when a student is sick has to go home.
Some parents are the default because there’s an imbalance in the home, which forces them to assume most of the day-to-day child-rearing responsibilities. In other families, one parent is the default because the other is busy with work or other obligations.
Popular TikTokker Jordan Klein wondered why she becomes overwhelmed halfway through the day while watching her children. "I have three boys, ages 5, 3, and 1, and I continuously lose my sh*t. Sometimes it comes out. Sometimes," she said in a recent post. "I lose my sh*t right around 2 or 3 p.m. every day without fail. My husband works from home. But he does not lose his sh*t consistently. So, what's going on?"
To get to the bottom of her situation, she conducted a scientific study where she counted the number of requests she gets from her children on a given day, and the results were unbelievable.
This validates my burn out, right? #momtok #momsoftiktok #sahm #boymom #toddlermom #toddlersoftiktok #3under5
This validates my burn out, right? #momtok #momsoftiktok #sahm #boymom #toddlermom #toddlersoftiktok #3under5
"I downloaded one of those little counter clicker apps on my phone where I could just push the screen, and it ticks up one number, and I was just gonna hit it every time one of my children ...made a request,” Jordan said in her TikTok video.
Just ten minutes after downloading the app, her kids made 86 requests of her. She even didn't count repeats, and kids love to repeat themselves. “I guarantee you that if I were to ask my husband how many requests a day he gets at work... it's in the single digits, for sure," she added.
And they say being a stay-at-home mom isn’t a full-time job! “This validates my burnout, right?” Jordan captioned her post.
"I feel this completely, and point it out often to my husband. Like yall, Dad is RIGHT THERE. Ask him," CrochetFeen wrote in the comments. "I have 3 kids too and ‘Mom’ is now a triggering word," Sandra added.
The quasi-scientific experiment gives Jordan some excellent ammunition when talking to her husband about how they divide parenting duties. Even if it doesn’t mean he takes over the default role after work, it at least makes a great case that Jordan deserves more than a few lengthy breaks throughout the day and a few days off every month.
There is only so much stress and mental anguish that parents can take before they are no longer effective and cannot provide a happy and healthy home for their children. When evaluating domestic responsibilities, we often consider having a professional job more stressful than raising children. However, Jordan’s experiment proves that parenting can mean a lot more emotional labor, and families should take a second look at how default parents are valued.