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.
Letterman asked what he thought of Eddie Murphy parodying him on SNL's "Mister Robinson's Neighborhood."
Few people have earned the amount of genuine, wholesome love that Fred Rogers did. Mr. Rogers made an indelible mark on countless children's childhoods with his goodness, and he even managed to maintain his reputation for being genuinely kind and caring until the end of his life and beyond.
It's a rare feat these days, to live a life in the spotlight and not be outed for some kind of scandal. But Mr. Rogers did and we love him all the more for it.
In the clip, Letterman chatted with Rogers for a few minutes about his career, then pointed out that there was a performer in the building who had done imitations of Rogers.
"I just met him a little bit ago," Rogers responded, pulling out a Polaroid photo of himself smiling next to comedian Eddie Murphy.
Murphy was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1980 to 1984 and one of his most popular skits was a parody of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" called "Mister Robinson's Neighborhood."
By Eddie Murphy standards, the skits were fairly clean, but they referenced some hefty topics such as poverty, racism and gentrification while also playing up certain racial and socioeconomic stereotypes. And they weren't always very kid-friendly (as is the case with many SNL skits).
"How do you react to that?" Letterman asked Rogers. "We talked to Andy Rooney about someone doing an impression of him and he didn't seem too keen on it."
Rogers' response was honest but totally classy.
"Well, some of them aren't very funny," he said. Then he seemed to choose his words thoughtfully: "But I think that a lot of them are done with real kindness in their hearts."
People in the comments praised Rogers for being exactly who he was during the interview.
"I love that he seems unfazed that some of the audience are not exactly laughing with him... or that Dave would ask him some baiting questions. The man is so comfortable in his own skin that he cares not what others think or say. One of the many reasons he was such a wonderful role model for us kids. A truly wonderful human being." – @OldSaltyBear
"After watching this interview, I just realized what you see on Mr. Roger's Neighborhood is basically him, he wasn't acting or trying to be someone else just for the show, that was him. Fred Rogers was Fred Rogers on and off the show. Such genuineness, it definitely, and exponentially, multiplies the kindness he shows on the show." – @arisketch9247
"Mr Rogers was truly the odd man out. Just a wonderful human being. I was never a fan of Letterman but I think he wanted this interview to go different. I’m not sure the exact intent but Mr Rodgers was just a convicted, sincere and genuine person to want kids to be kids. Even the bad, he wanted them to be true to their feelings and have a safe place to express it. He was the best." – @MurphySullivan
Others shared how much Mr. Rogers meant to them personally:
"I will always appreciate Mr. Rogers because my childhood was one of abuse and violence. Watching an adult talk to me like I mattered and in a calm way was a refuge for me. It may sound corny and dramatic, but it was my reality back in the 80's. He was a blessing and a genuine person." – @jameswhittenburg5299
"That man saved me from my childhood. Abuse surrounded me. There were no good or trustworthy adults I could rely on, but I had Mr. Rogers. I loved him when I was really young, & he taught me things I desperately needed to hear. What a wonderful, wonderful man." – @dshepherd107
"I don't think people realized that Mr. Rogers was actually a foster parent to every child that watched this show. He's still fostering children posthumously. He just had that big of a heart and good spirit. Such a good man. RIP" – @randomsteve7808
It's truly impossible to overstate the impact Fred Rogers had on generations of kids during his lifetime, and thanks to the miracle of television, his legacy continues to inspire and comfort to this day.
(And if you haven't seen "Mister Robinson's Neighborhood," here's a taste:)
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
Can positivity be “toxic”?
A Helpful Chart to Explain the Difference Between Support and 'Toxic Positivity" was originally published on The Mighty.
There's no denying that positivity can be powerful. I know when I'm struggling with anxiety and negative thoughts, if I can hold onto an ounce of hope — that I'll make it through, that I'm not defined by my thoughts, that I'm not as bad as my brain is making me out to be — I can cope a little better.
The positivity we hold within ourselves, when we can manage it, makes it a little easier to get by.
That being said, perhaps counterintuitively, positivity isn't always the best way to help others. You can't make someone be positive. You can't sprinkle positivity dust on them and make their problems go away. And honestly, when people are seeking help and support, they're usually not looking for straight-up, inspirational poster positivity. More often, they're looking for validation that their negative feelings are OK.
I've always kind of known this but didn't think about it in a tangible way until I saw a graphic made by Whitney Hawkins Goodman, LMFT, owner of The Collaborative Counseling Center. She runs the Instagram account @sitwithwhit, and after she posted an image explaining "Toxic Positivity," I started seeing it all over social media.
The full graphic showing the difference between the positivity and the not so positive.
via Sitwithit / Instagram
The graphic shows the difference between supporting someone with validation and hope, and trying to support them with "toxic positivity." According to Whitney, it's the difference between, "This is hard… I believe in you," and, "Just be happy!" If you could never pinpoint why simple "inspiring" quotes didn't sit well with you, this could be the explanation.
It reminds me of a popular animated video about empathy, which uses the words of Brené Brown. If sympathy is shouting down at someone while they're stuck in a hole, empathy is getting into the hole with them. If "toxic positivity" is telling someone to just "look at the bright side," support is putting yourself in someone's shoes, and accepting their feelings for what they are.
Of course, when we throw around phrases like, "Think positive," or, "Stop being so negative," we're probably coming from a good place. You're spreading these messages because you want people to be happier, damn it! So what's wrong with reminding people to be positive?
The hard-to-face truth is, supporting people isn't about being "positive." In fact, when you force positivity down someone's throat, it can actually have the opposite effect. "Toxic positivity" can make people feel unsafe expressing their negativity, and negativity thrives in isolation. It can make people think there's something wrong with them for not simply "choosing" happiness, and shame is negativity's enabling best friend.
When we're supporting someone who's hurting, we need to leave room for positivity to grow. And you don't yell at a flower to "just" grow — you water it. In this case, you water it with listening, with validation, and with unconditional support. It's OK to experience negative emotions, and with support, we can help people who are stuck in negativity find their own way out. Simply telling them to "be positive" doesn't cut it.
Thanks to Whitney for making this informative graphic! You can follow her on Instagram here.
This article originally appeared on February 12, 2019
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Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through.
WARNING: At 2:40, he's going to break your heart a little.
This article originally appeared on 06.26.13.
“I’m a teacher and I’m not mad about it."
We know how important it is for adults to take a mental health day once in a while. But allowing kids the same privilege isn’t quite as mainstream. It’s easy to forget that, while maybe not the exact same as clocking in for a job, going to school everyday for upwards of 6-7+ hours a day can be physically and emotionally draining.a TikTok video her 6-year-old daughter Giada enjoying a day off from school at the mall—something she now gets to do every month, “without being sick.”
LaPalomento told "Good Morning America" she had noticed a dip in her daughter's energy levels and mental health since taking on private school full time, depleting her motivation to keep going back.
"Last year, there [were] times she would literally come home from school, she'd be sleeping on the step before I could get her off, then she'd be sleeping in the hallway. It was like, the kid was a zombie," she told GMA. "And then she comes home, and I don't even have time to spend with my kid. I'm making dinner, trying to do homework [with her], and then it's time for bed."
One morning, LaPalomento wasn’t really feeling great either. And certainly wasn’t eager to make the 30-40 minute drive to Giada’s school. So, she offered a trip to the mall instead, and Giada was thrilled.
In the clip, Giada can be seen sipping boba, playing arcade games, eating cotton candy, and, perhaps most important of all, smiling from ear to ear.
mind your business♬ Prada - cassö & RAYE & D-Block Europe
And now, playing hooky is a monthly tradition—a choice most viewers wholeheartedly support…even envy.
“A mental health day off would have done so much good for my hurting brain and heart when I was growing up. This is amazing!” wrote mom blogger Elyse Myers.
“This should be normalized! So happy to see this!” wrote another.
Of course, others were critical of the decision, arguing that weekends offered the needed amount of relaxation time and the Giada could be missing out on important education days.
But according to LaPalomento, Giada’s grades haven’t been compromised at all. In fact, the days off have even boosted her with a little more motivation.
“It only accounts for 9 days out of an 181-day school year. I don’t see the problem if the student is doing well in school, which in that case she is doing great!,” she reasoned with the New York Post.
Actual educators even weighed in, most in favor of Giada taking a monthly mini break.
“I’m a teacher and I’m not mad about it. Mental health days are super important and let kids be kids!” one person wrote on TikTok.
Meanwhile, psychologists also noted the benefits.
Amy Morin, LCSW, argued that it could help offset anxiety—a serious issue in today’s pressure-inducing, performance-oriented world. And Dr. Kimberly Alexander of the Child Mind Institute in New York City remarked days off as “very restorative when done strategically." (Insider, GMA)
The key to this strategy is being clear on exactly why a kid might want to skip school. There is of course a difference between needing to prioritize self care avoiding facing fears, which can make mental health issues worse.
It also helps if parents plan for rejuvenating activities rather than allowing bad habits such as excessively playing video games or sleeping all day to form. But the common denominator between all these things is open communication. Checking in, asking questions, and validating a child’s experience.
Not every parent might be able to pull off a monthly day off like LaPalomento, but it helps to at least recognize the value in letting kids have the autonomy to actually voice when they need a break. Just think of how different our world might be if it were full of adults who didn’t think the world would end if we sat back and enjoyed life once in a while.