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.
Some moms in their 40s feel like they were lied to about what their "resume gap" would mean.
A few generations ago, parents had pretty clearly defined roles, with the dad generally being the breadwinner and the mom being the homemaker/stay-at-home mother. Then women's rights movement came along, empowering women in the workplace, ushering in the era of two working parents and producing an entire generation of "latchkey kids."
Now those Gen X latchkey kids are parenting Gen Z, with the pendulum of working motherhood having swung somewhat to the middle. We were raised to believe we could be anything we dreamed of being and that we didn't have to choose between being a mom and having a career. Gen X also became mothers during the heyday of parenting self-help books that impressed upon us the importance of attachment and hands-on childrearing, as well as the era of super-scheduled kids, whose activities alone require a full-time manager.
As a result, those of us in our 40s have raised our kids straddling two worlds—the one where women can have all of the career success we desire and the one where we can choose to be stay-at-home moms who do all the things. At first, we were told we could have it all, but when the impossibility of that became clear, we were told, "Well, you can have it all, just not at the same time."
But as many moms are finding as their kids start leaving the nest, even that isn't the full truth.
A Facebook post by Karen Johnson, aka The 21st Century SAHM (short for "stay-at-home mom") nails the reality many stay-at-home moms in their 40s are facing as they find themselves floundering with the glaring gap in their resumes.
"This is for all the moms in their 40s who put their careers on hold to do the SAHM thing because you knew you couldn't do both—career you loved and motherhood—and do both WELL, so you picked, saying to yourself 'this is just for now and we'll see,'" Johnson wrote. "But now it's 15 years later and so much has changed in your career field that you know you can't go back. So really, when you 'took a break' all those years ago, you gave it up."
Johnson explained that yes, moms know they should be grateful for the time they've had with their kids. Most are. That's not the issue. Whether a woman chose to be a stay-at-home mom because she really wanted to or because childcare costs didn't work in the financial equation of the family, the transition out of it feels like completely uncharted waters.
"Okay, so you're looking for a 'career' with part-time hours and a 100% flexible schedule because you're still Mom-on-duty but you do have *just* enough hours during the day to reflect on the fact that you *do* have a college degree (maybe even 2) and although being a mom is the greatest and most important job in the world, you *might* actually want something more to your life than folding laundry and running hangry children to 900 events and remembering that they're all due for dental cleanings," she wrote.
Yup. The "default parent" role is real and weighted heavily toward moms as it is. For stay-at-home moms, it's 100% expected, and that doesn't suddenly end when it's time to start thinking about joining the workforce again.
And, of course, moms barely have time to try to figure all of this out. So, as Johnson says, "But for now, you cram yourself into the only pair of jeans you have right now that fit and find a t-shirt on the floor that isn't clean but isn't dirty and will pass for the 4 hours of mom-taxiing you're about to do and you tell yourself, 'I'll figure it out another day. Right now, I gotta get the kids to practice.'" Oof.
Johnson's entire post is worth a read, as it resonates with so many women at this stage of life. But just as telling are the comments from women who not only see themselves in Johnson's description but who feel like they were sold a bill of goods early in their motherhood. So many of us were led to believe that the skills and experiences of managing a family would be valued in the workplace simply because they should be and that the gap in their resume wouldn't matter.
"This hits hard. I am right there too. And all those volunteer hours & leadership positions people said would look good on my resume when I once again applied for jobs? Those people all lied. It means squat," wrote one person.
"Thank you! You spoke my heart. 42 this year, resigned from teaching almost 12 years ago, and never been more confused about my personal future, or exhausted in my present," shared another.
"I’ve never related to a post more in my life! THANK YOU. Your words perfectly summarize the loneliest, most important job in the world and how that perspective shifts in your 40s. It is confusingly beautiful," wrote another.
There is hope in the comments, too. Some moms have chosen to see their post-stay-at-home era as a fresh start to learn something new, which might lend some inspiration to others.
"I went back for my master’s degree at 47 years old. I’m now 50 in a new career I love and my husband is doing just fine pulling his weight with after school/carpool/dinner. Happy for the years I stayed home, happy with this new season too," shared one person.
"Yuuuup. I decided to go back to grad school at 45. It’s insane but every term I complete I’m like - omg I’m doing it! So don’t let sweaty out of shape bodies and carpool fatigue stop you. I take naps and write grad school papers and have meltdowns where I cry from the frustration of it all - but dammit I’m doing it!" wrote another.
One mom who is past this stage also offered some words of encouragement:
"So incredibly well written. I feel all these things and did throughout my 40s. Now I'm in my early '50s and I'm so glad I was able to stay home with my kids, but the guilt! The guilt of not using my education, the judgment of people who don't understand why someone would stay home with their kids, the social engineering... We just eat each other alive sometimes don't we? I wouldn't trade it for anything, but it is a very lonely road and one you always question. I can tell you that all three of my kids were so grateful to have a full-time parent. I might not have always been the best, but they were glad to always have someone to talk to if they needed it. It's hard to fill other people's buckets when your bucket isn't full, but the rewards do come back when the kids tell you thank you for everything that you've done. "
Being a mom is hard, period. Working moms have it hard, stay-at-home moms have it hard, moms who have managed to keep one foot in the career door and one foot in the home have it hard. There's a lot that society could do to support moms more no matter what path they choose (or find themselves on—it's not always a conscious choice), from providing paid maternity leave to greater flexibility with work schedules to retirement plans that account for time away from the workplace. Perhaps that would at least make the many choices moms have today feel more like freedom and less like choosing between a rock and a hard place.
It’s encouraging to know that hundreds of people took her side and supported her.
A story recently posted on Reddit shows a mother confidently standing up for her culture and daughter in the face of intolerance. Reddit user Paste-Clouds-808 shared the story on the AITA forum to ask who was right in the situation.
Over 2,900 people commented on the story, and they overwhelmingly agreed that it was her.
The mother, 38, regularly cooks Asian foods for her daughter Lily, 7, and packs them in her school lunch. The mother was raised by a half-Japanese mom, so the foods have always been a part of her life, and her family loves them, too.
“Oftentimes I’ll either give my daughter some leftovers from last night's dinner, plus a fruit/veggie and a snack, or I’ll make her a quick little bento box or some other thing really quick,” the mother wrote.
One day after school, the mother allowed Lily to play on the playground for a few minutes before they went home. The mother was approached by another mom, whom we will call Debra, and she immediately began criticizing the lunches the mother had packed for her daughter.
“What? How are they bothering him?” Lily’s mom responded.
“She then proceeded to start talking about how her son was complaining about my daughter's lunches smelling terrible and that he thought it was disgusting,” the mom wrote. “She also said her son didn’t eat most of his lunch because he was so grossed out.”
The mother politely rejected Debra’s request to change her daughter's lunch habits and suggested it wasn’t her problem. “Okay…I understand your son doesn’t like the smell, but can’t he just sit somewhere else?” she asked.
Debra then became angry. “Are you kidding me?” she asked. “My son shouldn’t have to put up with whatever crap you make your daughter bring to this school. It’s disgusting!”
Lily’s mom says that Debra then began making more “vaguely racist” comments. She became fed up with the woman and sternly put her in her place.
“Listen, I understand your son might not like my daughter's food, but he can very easily just not sit next to her,” the mother said. “I’m not changing what’s in my daughter's lunches because you and your kid don’t want to exist near Asian food. F*** off.”
The mom asked people on the Reddit forum if she went too far by using foul language when talking to the woman, but they thought it was an appropriate response to the woman’s entitled racist attitude.
“Setting a firm boundary with a colorful exclamation usually does a wonderful job in preventing a busybody parent from bothering you in the future,” Johnny9k responded. Some commenters mentioned that she should go further and report it to the school’s administrators and the mother thought it was a good idea.
“Yeah, after thinking about it more, I’m going to talk to her teacher about this,” she wrote. “I’m gonna talk with Lily to so I can be sure this kid isn’t being racist towards her or anything.”
It must have been hard for the mother to stand there while Debra degraded her family’s heritage. But it’s encouraging to know that hundreds of people took her side and supported her in doing what they deemed appropriate.
The story is an interesting example of the two ways that people can go in this world. When Debra’s son complained about Lily's lunch, she could have just as easily taught him a lesson in acceptance by educating him on different cultures and teaching him the beauty of diversity.
Instead, she lashed out at the mother on his behalf, perpetuating the cycle of intolerance.
Jo Brundza has mastered the art of painlessly getting out of a second date by making them reject her.
It's uncomfortable for people to tell someone they met for a first date that they aren’t interested in a second one because nobody enjoys hurting another person’s feelings. TikTokker Jo Brundza has mastered the art of painlessly getting out of a second date by making them reject her.
How does she do it? Once she realizes she doesn’t want to see them again, she rants about the moon.
“From that realization and on, I spend the rest of the date trying to convince the other person that I don’t think the moon is real,” she says. Now, many folks out there incorrectly believe that the moon landing was faked, but she goes a step further by saying the massive object doesn’t exist at all.
“They’re typically too stunned to argue back,” she says.
They’re typically too stunned to argue back #fyp #dating #funny #bits
In a follow-up video, Brundza outlines the three arguments she uses to prove that the moon isn’t real:
1. If you know, you know
"I just think it's ridiculous that all these billionaires are going up into space. I mean, when they get up there, what do they expect to be there, or not be up there?"
2. False evidence
"Look, I'm just saying that if you look at the science of how light refraction works when it enters the atmosphere, it would bend it in a way that to the naked eye would look like solid mass, but it's not. Also, at the end of the day, do you know anyone who has actually been to the moon?"
3. Blame Greenland
"Eighty percent of the island is covered in ice and uninhabitable. You're really gonna tell me that's not where the projectors are? Actually, now that I think about it, do you personally know anyone who's ever been to Greenland?"
Replying to @TySpice Bonus points if you can somehow work in that the sun is fake too #fyp #funny #bits
Seriously, get this kid an Oscar.
Some kids just have a natural knack for acting. Frequently, a flair for the dramatics can cause parents significant grief (Ferris Bueller-style) but it can also be a source of non-stop entertainment.
The video shared by @saddiegau on TikTok has been viewed a million times, and when you watch it you'll see why. The kid dons an inflatable costume that makes it look like a large green alien is carrying him around, which is pretty funny all on its own. But the horror movie scene that ensues is practically an acting masterclass.
The screaming. The chaotic struggle. The frantic clinging to the door frame as the alien pulled him away. And doing it all walking backwards? Perfection.
#aliens #abduction #halloween
Impressive, right? People in the comments thought so, too:
"Haha get this kid an Oscar stat 😂"
"Watched this many times! He deserves an Oscar🏆"
"But how is he so convincing?!?! 🏆"
So many people said their minds kept questioning whether the alien was actually kidnapping him, despite knowing consciously that it was an act:
"He sold it. I legit thought he was in trouble for a sec 😆"
"We’ve all seen this costume and joke a hundred times, and yet the way I BELIEVED for a few seconds 😅👏 👏👏👏"
"Ok. I know it’s not real. YET each time I watch it I’m like why isn’t anybody helping him??? Get this kid a role stat!"
The kid might as well start writing his acceptance speech now because there's surely a red carpet in his future.
Pregnancy cravings can leave expectant mothers fantasizing about the strangest culinary concoctions.
Pregnancy cravings can leave expectant mothers fantasizing about the strangest culinary concoctions.
It goes so far beyond pickles and ice cream—women might find themselves pulling up to a McDonald’s drive thru when previously they never ate red meat, piling different forms of dairy products onto one another, dipping Cheetos into literally everything.
And that’s not even accounting for the non-food cravings that some women report having, like laundry detergent, chalk, paper, dirt. Yum.
The couple have all kinds of wholesome glimpses into their relationship. But since Kay became pregnant with baby number two, most of their content has been centered around documenting their pregnancy journey.
Which brings us to—pregnancy cravings. Tay provides us with a bit of backstory:
Since Kay’s pregnancy began, her cravings have been such an adventure, leading to some unique and sweet concoction“ he wrote on their account. “I’ve made it my mission to fulfill her every craving because there’s nothing I love more than seeing her first bite reaction.”
For example: in the video below, Kay dreams up a “pickle split.” A cut pickle. Ice cream. Chocolate AND caramel drizzle. Reese sprinkled on top. But also actual sprinkles sprinkled on top for “some color.”
Seeing Kay get so excited as she meticulously describes exactly how this recipe should unfold is hilarious. But hearing Tay get equally excited to bring her vision to life is what makes it so sweet.
@kayandtayofficial She went through so many emotions when she took the first bite! 😂 Backstory ::: Since Kay’s pregnancy began, her cravings have been such an adventure, often leading to some unique and sweet concoctions! I’ve made it my mission to fulfill her every craving because there’s nothing I love more than seeing her first bite reaction. She sure is keeping life exciting these last few months of her pregnancy. ❤️ #kayandtayofficial #couples #relationships #pregnant ♬ original sound - ✨Kay and Tay✨
Kay has since developed a special knack for thinking of ways to turn regular foods into sweet and salty desserts.
You know, things like nachos, hotdogs, sliders…Always with Reese’s. Always with caramel and chocolate drizzle. Because why not.
With every new recipe, Tay goes all out to follow his wife’s instructions to a t. And honestly, who can blame him, when Kay has the best reactions to getting exactly what she wants. Especially the eye twitch.
Enjoy a delicious sampling below:
@kayandtayofficial I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see if she was going to like it or not! 😳 Apparently this was the best craving idea that she has had yet! 😂 she said that she knew it was going to taste good, but this was way better than she expected. I’m always anxiously waiting for her reaction to see if it’s good or bad! 😂 I’m not sure how Kay comes up with these ideas, but they are always so tasty! It’s so funny how she will literally come bursting out of the most random places talking about her cravings! ❤️ #kayandtayofficial #couples #relationships #pregnant ♬ original sound - ✨Kay and Tay✨ @kayandtayofficial Judging by her reaction at the end, I don’t know, maybe she liked it? 😂 Backstory ::: Ever since Kay got pregnant, she has felt many cravings for certain food. While it’s often random and weird, it is almost always sweets! 😂🍫 She builds up the most random recipes in her mind and then “HAS” to have them! I really love doing things for her, so I’m always down to help her make her craving! This one actually turned out really tasty! #kayandtayofficial #couples #relationships #pregnant ♬ original sound - ✨Kay and Tay✨ @kayandtayofficial I’m always anxiously waiting for her reaction to see if it’s good or bad! 😂 I don’t know where Kay comes up with these cravings, but it always tastes so good! She literally will come bursting out of the most random places talking about her cravings! 😂 She should really write a cookbook or something! 🤔 Also, she ended up not having a stomach ache so thats good! 😅 Oh! and if you are new to our pregnancy journey, we have a lot of other cravings and experiences on our page! 😁 #kayandtayofficial #couples #relationships #pregnant ♬ original sound - ✨Kay and Tay✨
If you find yourself craving some of these munchie meals, you’re not alone. The comments sections for every single one of Kay and Tay’s craving videos is filled with people calling for an actual cookbook of their creations.
"Can't lie...I'm not opposed to trying this," one viewer wrote.
Another added, "I'm not pregnant but you're onto something here."
And of course, people found the way Tay supported his wife even sweeter than the treats themselves.
Follow along on even more of Kay and Tay’s crazy craving adventures on TikTok.
Wow... just wow.
You're probably familiar with the literary classic "Moby-Dick."
But in case you're not, here's the gist: Moby Dick is the name of a huge albino sperm whale.
(Get your mind outta the gutter.)
OK, technically, the narrator Ishmael survives. So it's actually a happy ending (kind of)!
Illustration from an early edition of Moby-Dick
Image from Wikimedia Commons.
Basically, it's a famous book about revenge and obsession that was published back in 1851, and it's really, really long.
It's chock-full of beautiful passages and dense symbolism and deep thematic resonance and all those good things that earned it a top spot in the musty canon of important literature.
There's also a lot of mundane descriptions about the whaling trade as well (like, a lot). That's because it came out back when commercial whaling was still a thing we did.
A non-albino mother and baby sperm whale.
In fact, humans used to hunt more than 50,000 whales each year to use for oil, meat, baleen, and oil. (Yes, I wrote oil twice.) Then, in 1946, the International Whaling Commission stepped in and said "Hey, wait a minute, guys. There's only a few handful of these majestic creatures left in the entire world, so maybe we should try to not kill them anymore?"
And even then, commercial whaling was still legal in some parts of the world until as recently as 1986.
Tail in the water.
Whale's tail pale ale GIF via GoPro/YouTube
And yet by some miracle, there are whales who were born before "Moby-Dick" was published that are still alive today.
What are the odds of that? Honestly it's hard to calculate since we can't exactly swim up to a bowhead and say, "Hey, how old are you?" and expect a response. (Also that's a rude question — jeez.)
Thanks to some thoughtful collaboration between researchers and traditional Inupiat whalers (who are still allowed to hunt for survival), scientists have used amino acids in the eyes of whales and harpoon fragments lodged in their carcasses to determine the age of these enormous animals — and they found at least three bowhead whales who were living prior to 1850.
Granted those are bowheads, not sperm whales like the fictional Moby Dick, (and none of them are albino, I think), but still. Pretty amazing, huh?
This bowhead is presumably in adolescence, given its apparent underwater moping.
GIF via National Geographic.
This is a particularly remarkable feat considering that the entire species was dwindling near extinction.
Barring these few centenarian leviathans, most of the whales still kickin' it today are between 20 and 70 years old. That's because most whale populations were reduced to 10% or less of their numbers between the 18th and 20th centuries, thanks to a few over-eager hunters (and by a few, I mean all of them).
Today, sperm whales are considered one of the most populous species of massive marine mammals; bowheads, on the other hand, are still in trouble, despite a 20% increase in population since the mid-1980s. Makes those few elderly bowheads that much more impressive, huh?
Southern Right Whales hangin' with a paddleboarder in the Great Australian Bight.
GIF via Jaimen Hudson.
Unfortunately, just as things are looking up, these wonderful whales are in trouble once again.
We might not need to worry our real-life Captain Ahabs anymore, but our big aquatic buddies are still being threatened by industrialization — namely, from oil drilling in the Arctic and the Great Australian Bight.
In the off-chance that companies like Shell and BP manage not to spill millions of gallons of harmful crude oil into the water, the act of drilling alone is likely to maim or kill millions of animals, and the supposedly-safer sonic blasting will blow out their eardrums or worse.
This influx of industrialization also affects their migratory patterns — threatening not only the humans who depend on them, but also the entire marine ecosystem.
And I mean, c'mon — who would want to hurt this adorable face?
Image from Pixabay.
Whales might be large and long-living. But they still need our help to survive.
If you want another whale to make it to his two-hundred-and-eleventy-first birthday (which you should because I hear they throw great parties), then sign this petition to protect the waters from Big Oil and other industrial threats.
I guarantee Moby Dick will appreciate it.
This article originally appeared on 11.04.15