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.
"Our moral compass is skewed if we think things like this are acceptable."
These are called "anti-homeless spikes." They're about as friendly as they sound.
As you may have guessed, they're intended to deter people who are homeless from sitting or sleeping on that concrete step. And yeah, they're pretty awful.
The spikes are a prime example of how cities design spaces to keep homeless people away.
Not all concrete steps have spikes on them, but outdoor seating in cities like Montreal and Tokyo have been sneakily designed to prevent people from resting too comfortably for too long.
This guy sawing through a bench was part of a 2006 protest in Toulouse, France, where public seating intentionally included armrests to prevent people from lying down.
Of course, these designs do nothing to fight the cause or problem of homelessness. They're just a way of saying to homeless people, "Go somewhere else. We don't want to look at you,"basically.
One particular set of spikes was outside a former night club in London. And a local group got sick of staring at them.
"Spikes do nothing more than shoo the realities of poverty and inequality away from your backyard — so you don't have to see it or confront what you can do to make things more equal," Borromeo told Upworthy. "And that is really selfish."
"Our moral compass is skewed if we think things like this are acceptable."
A bed covers up spikes on the concrete.
The move by Space, Not Spikes has caused quite a stir in London and around the world. The simple but impactful idea even garnered support from music artist Ellie Goulding.
"That was amazing, wasn't it?" Borromeo said of Goulding's shout-out on Instagram.
Artist's puppy books and home comforts.
"[The project has] definitely touched a nerve and I think it is because, as a whole, humans will still look out for each other," Borromeo told Upworthy. "Capitalism and greed conditions us to look out for ourselves and negate the welfare of others, but ultimately, I think we're actually really kind."
"We need to call out injustice and hypocrisy when we see it."
A message to offer support in contrast with current anti-homeless laws.
These spikes may be in London, but the U.S. definitely has its fair share of anti-homeless sentiment, too.
Spikes are pretty obvious — they're a visual reminder of a problem many cities are trying to ignore. But what we can't see on the street is the rise of anti-homeless laws that have cropped up from sea to shining sea.
Legislation that targets homeless people — like bans on panhandling and prohibiting people from sleeping in cars — has increased significantly in recent years.
For instance, a report by the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty that analyzed 187 American cities found that there's been a 43% hike in citywide bans on sitting or lying down in certain spaces since 2011.
Thankfully, groups like "Space, Not Spikes" are out there changing hearts and minds. But they need our help.
The group created a video to complement its work and Borromeo's hoping its positive underlying message will motivate people to do better.
"[The world] won't always be happy-clappy because positive social change needs constructive conflict and debate," she explained. "But we need to call out injustice and hypocrisy when we see it."
Check out their video below:
This article originally appeared on 07.24.15
- Restaurant owner defends homeless man after customer complaint - Upworthy ›
- Convertible sleeping bags become insulated tents for homeless - Upworthy ›
- This van delivers meal and socks to the homeless in New York - Upworthy ›
- Pizza shop owner faces fines to let homeless man stay - Upworthy ›
- Study gives free money to homeless people to spend however - Upworthy ›
The slower tempo and simple instrumentation creates a sadder, more haunting version of the 80s monster hit.
According to NPR—and the ABBA blaring from my young adult daughter's headphones—we're in the midst of an 80s music revival. As a Gen Xer who came of age in the 80s, I think most of that decade should stay locked in a time capsule, but there are a few songs that have managed to remain timeless despite the synthesizers and bad hair.
A-ha's "Take On Me" is one of them. Despite its consummately-80s sound, the song with the famous sketch animated video is still enjoyable (if not a little earwormy—good luck once it gets stuck in your head).
But a lesser-known 2017 arrangement of the song is actually, miraculusly, even better. A-ha performed "Take On Me" for an MTV Unplugged Summer Solstice album, and it's significantly different than the original. The Norwegian band filmed the performance live on the island of Giske, dropping the electric piano as well as the tempo for a stripped-down version that has become a fan favorite. As of this writing, the video has 97 million views on YouTube.
"Take On Me" is one of 17 songs in the unplugged performance, but naturally the most popular.
“We’ve talked about this idea for so many years," guitarist Paul Waaktaar-Savoy said. "And in many of our concerts we’ve also played some acoustic songs. But if you consider that we don’t use much technology at all when we write the songs, the idea of an entirely acoustic show makes total sense. Playing all these songs now in their acoustic versions is like returning to their origins.”
Watch and see how the slower tempo and simple instrumentation creates a sadder, more haunting version of their biggest hit.
"The fact he’s still got such a good voice after decades is incredible," wrote one fan.
This is music at its purest form. No light show, distortion pedals, autotune and massive audiences. Spotless," wrote another.
Another commenter made a poignant observation:
"The original version is like a soundtrack for a man living in the fast-paced life in the 80's all cool and hip. This one is like when the same man grows old and saying farewell to the fun memories of his youth."
And another summed up what most people feel seeing this:
"One version makes you dance and the other version makes you cry."
The look on her face when she sees the manual window.
David C. Smalley, a comedian and podcaster, regularly gives us some generational humor by exposing his 19-year-old daughter Talissa to relics of the past. You know, things like CDs, phonebooks, remote controllers…feeling old yet?
Recently, Smalley challenged Talissa with navigating a standard U-Haul storage truck. She had to 1) unlock the door 2) roll down a window and 3) start the engine.For those of us who grew up before the 90s, this might sound like the easiest challenge ever. But apparently, for Gen Z, it’s like being asked to maneuver a horse and buggy.
Despite growing up in a key fob generation, where simply pressing a button on a tiny remote controller could magically open doors, Talissa aced unlocking the door with a key.
Next, she was understandably baffled over the amount of physical labor required to simply roll down a window.
“Are you serious? They haven’t updated that?!” she exclaimed while doing the tedious hand-cranking move we all know so well. “Are you kidding me?! I would not do this every time.”
She definitely had a point on this one. Electronic windows have been the standard for decades. Is U-Haul just sentimental or what?
Having checked off two of the three tasks, Talissa then had to start the car—which proved to be the biggest challenge of all.
Looking on the center console, where she’s used to seeing the ignition button, Talissa found the airbag and radio (two foreign objects in their own right) but no way to start the car.
Finally…success! Talissa found the ignition hiding behind the steering wheel.
“I’m not going to make it explode, am I?” she joked as she turned the key and celebrated her victory.
Watch below. Hearing Talissa ask if the radio is a “fidget game” is entertainment in itself.
It’s always fun to see the ways in which different generations navigate the world through fashion, slang, entertainment, dating, food, the list goes on. But technology, which continues to evolve at a rapid rate, always feels like the biggest culture shock.
And unlike bell bottoms, outdated tech rarely makes a comeback. So once the more energy efficient, more convenient appliance becomes mainstream, its predecessor is forever obsolete. Unless of course you count the cool, hipster folks hanging onto vinyl for the superior sound quality.
Speaking of vinyl, Talissa was also previously challenged by Smalley to work a record player, to equal hilarity:
@davidcsmalley #daughterissues #daughterpod #genz #genx #recordplayers #vinyl #talissa ♬ original sound - David C. Smalley
Somehow, seeing how far we’ve come through the look of bafflement from the young ones is the only thing that never gets old.
Enjoy more fun interactions from Smalley and Talissa on TikTok.
"I am your father!"
Dads are ridiculous. But perhaps, in the world today, there is no dad quite so ridiculous as Rob Lopez:
Photo via Rob Lopez/YouTube.
On a morning not too long ago, Lopez apparently had the following thought: "I'm going to dress up as Darth Vader and wake up my 2-year-old."
Photo via Rob Lopez/YouTube.
Clearly, the correct follow-up thought is, "No. That's silly. Why would I ever wake up a 2-year-old. Like, on purpose."
But not for Rob Lopez. Oh, no.
After suiting up...
GIFs via Rob Lopez/YouTube, unless otherwise noted.
...and receiving the mission critical sign-off from his wife.
He grabbed his lightsaber and gave it a go. The results ... pretty much speak for themselves (fast-forward to 1:05 for the main event).
There are a couple of things about Lopez's son's reaction that we should talk about.
(First, this child is objectively the hardest core human on the face of planet Earth right now.)
He grabs the lightsaber he keeps next to his bed (just in case) and it's game on, Dark Lord of the Sith. Game. On.
Think about how you would feel, as an adult person, in complete control of your faculties, with a firm grasp on the difference between fiction and reality, being aggressively prodded awake by a six-foot-tall man in a full-body Darth Vader mech-suit complete with voice modulator and terrifyingly heavy breathing.
Think about how loud you would scream and the volume of pee you would pee into your pants.
Meanwhile, this toddler — who is probably no more than three feet tall, groggy and vulnerable, with no cognitive ability to discern this is not the real Darth Vader — didn't even think twice about taking him on.
GIF from "Return of the Jedi."
Perhaps the most impressive part? At a mere 2 years of age, he's already learned, perhaps, the single greatest lesson of "Star Wars."
You don't defeat the dark side with mad lightsaber skills (although they are fun to show off).
You defeat it with compassion.
...which, in this kid's case, involves casually grabbing a book and asking Darth Vader to read him a story.
Empathy for Siths — with an assist from curiosity and literacy: That's a lesson we could all use.
This article originally appeared on 05.06.16
From tackling maternal mortality in Cameroon to fighting food insecurity in the U.S., these "Goalkeepers" are making their mark on global development goals.
The past two centuries have seen humanity transform into a truly interconnected global community. Like any community, we have our virtues and strengths as well as our challenges that require collective effort to overcome.
The United Nations created 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 to help us focus our efforts on vital areas of concern, including poverty, gender equality, education, food security, health, climate and more. And every year since then, changemakers have arisen to meet those goals in various ways. Some of these changemakers are already leaders on the world stage, from heads of state to global celebrities. But others are grassroots activists doing incredible work on the ground to move us toward meeting our SDG targets by the 2030 deadline.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation calls these people Goalkeepers and honors them at an awards ceremony each year. This year's young activist Goalkeepers hail from Cameroon, Ethiopia and the United States, and their work on different goals in different countries is an inspiring example of how any one of us can arise and be of service to humanity no matter where we live.
Meet this year's award recipients:
Ashu Martha Agbornyenty was named the 2023 Changemaker at the Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards.
Photo by Kevin Hagen/Getty Images for Gates Archive
2023 Changemaker Award: Ashu Martha Agbornyenty
The Changemaker Award celebrates an individual who has inspired change either from a position of leadership or through personal experience. Ashu Martha Agbornyenty is a midwife dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safer in Cameroon, where maternal mortality rates are high. She writes about the work of midwives and shares her knowledge of pregnancy through her blog, Marthie’s Midwifery Diary, and she also founded the For Mom & Baby Foundation, which provides community workshops and distributes emergency kits containing essential birth supplies to pregnant women in crisis-stricken areas. Since 2021, the foundation has distributed over 1,000 emergency kits and reached more than 2,400 women and girls in the region.
"Midwives are essential to achieving the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, including Goal 3: Good health and well-being for all. They provide care to millions of women and children around the world, and they play a vital role in improving maternal and child health outcomes," Agbornyenty shared on her Facebook page.
However, she added, "Despite their important role, midwives are often underrepresented in policy-making circles. This is a problem because it means that the voices of midwives and the people they serve are not being heard when important decisions are being made about maternal and child health." She dedicated her award to all midwives. Learn more about her work here.
Eden Tadesse speaks at the 2023 Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards.
Photo by Mike Lawerence/Getty Images for Gates Archive
2023 Progress Award: Eden Tadesse
The Progress Award celebrates an individual who supports progress via a science, technology, digital, or business initiative. This year's award was presented to Eden Tadesse, an Ethiopian journalist, social entrepreneur, digital innovator, and human rights activist dedicated to helping refugees thrive. Tadesse founded the online global impact platform Invicta, which promotes digital financial inclusion, skills development and access to job opportunities for urban refugees. More than 35,000 people from 90 countries have registered on Invicta, 7,000 have completed online courses and more than 2,200 refugees have employment through the platform.
According to the UNHCR, the United Nations' refugee agency, 108.4 million people worldwide are currently forcibly displaced, and the majority of refugees are hosted by low-income countries. Refugees often face a mountain of obstacles as they resettle away from their countries of origin, from legal hurdles to access to education to finding work to prejudice and discrimination.
"I imagine a world where every refugee in every part of the world leads a meaningful, dignified life where they are economically empowered, safe and self-reliant," Tadesse says. Invicta is a one-stop tool for refugees to get connected with the educational, financial, mental health and other tools they need. Learn more about Invicta here.
The founders of The Farmlink Project, Ben Collier, James Kanoff and Aiden Reilly with Sabrina Elba at the 2023 Goalkeepers Global Goals Awards
Photo by Chris Farber/Getty Images for Gates Archive
2023 Campaign Award: The Farmlink Project
The Campaign Award celebrates a campaign that has raised awareness or built a community by inspiring action and creating change. This year's Campaign Award was presented to The Farmlink Project, founded by Aidan Reilly, Ben Collier, and James Kanoff, for its work advocating for and building community around food equity in the United States.
The Farmlink Project was started in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its purpose is to connect people experiencing food insecurity with surplus produce that will otherwise go to waste.
"No one should have to go to bed hungry while perfectly viable produce goes to waste. This produce shouldn’t have to be 'rescued' from rotting in fields or being sent to the landfill, either; why were we ever letting this produce go to waste in the first place?" asks The Farmlink Project. "These are systemic issues that our society needs to address."
In a perfect world, The Farmlink Project says, their organization wouldn’t need to exist because "systems would be in place to streamline the supply chain so that zero percent, rather than 30 to 40 percent, of food grown in the United States went to waste." For now, though, it acts as a “link” connecting the broken supply chains.
"Our long-term goal is to set up infrastructure which will render our work obsolete," the organization shares on its website. "If there were no food waste, if there were no hungry people lining up outside understocked and underfunded food banks, there would be no need for The Farmlink Project. That’s the dream. We’ve got a lot of work to do before we get there, though. We need you to help us put ourselves out of business."
Through its network of more than 600 student fellows and 6,000 volunteers, The Farmlink Project has provided 83 million meals and transferred more than 130 million pounds of nutritious food to communities facing hunger. Learn more here.
We are at the halfway mark toward the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal deadline. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but if leaders like these Goalkeepers can inspire more of us to action, we'll be that much closer to reaching our collective targets for a more sustainable global society.
His cat even has a carrying pouch so she can go on errands.
Not everyone gets to grow up with pets so they don't get the first hand knowledge of how it feels to love an animal. Sure, they may have experience with friends' or family members' pets but that's not the same as caring for one under your own roof. The memories and mini serotonin boosts you get when pets snuggle up to you on a hard day are missed by those who never own a pet.
Up until recently, Caleb had been in the "never had a pet" camp, then one day he found a tiny little kitten. He knew when he saw how little and helpless she was that he just had to rescue the sweet baby.
"I was walking home and I looked down and there was this little kitten," Caleb told The Dodo. "I feel chosen, this is my first pet."
He named the itty bitty kitty, Nala Jaye and takes her everywhere he possibly can.
Caleb put Nala on a leash to take her out on walks but when he wants to keep her close, the new cat dad wears a little cat pouch. Just a sling of sorts to keep the kitten tucked away as he takes her with him to run errands. The pair do everything together, she even supervises him brushing his teeth. It's clear the duo are quickly becoming best friends, Caleb sings to her, they dance together and she hangs out on his shoulder like a parrot.
"This is a house cat. We will not be outside unless she's on my shoulder like this or strapped to a harness," Caleb says.
So glad to see a new pet parent blossom. Nala Jaye is one lucky rescue kitty.