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.
She had to know the truth.
A woman, 35, and her husband, 38, had been married for 10 years and during that time became good friends with a neighbor in her 20s. Two years after they met the neighbor she had a son. She said the father wasn’t in the son’s life because he was a one-night fling.
The woman had health issues, so the couple happily took care of the child when she was in the hospital. Sadly, the woman died when the child was young, so the couple became his foster parents and legally adopted him at the age of 7.
Years later, when their adopted son was 10, and their biological child was 5, the mother noticed that both children looked a lot alike. “Now that they are 10 and 5 years old and they looked so much like each other that I begin to have suspicions,” the woman wrote on the Reddit Relationship Advice subforum.
So, she secretly had the adopted son's DNA tested.
When the results came back, the woman found out that her children were half brothers. Her husband had cheated on her with the neighbor who passed away. In a strange set of circumstances, the man adopted his son. After learning the truth about her son and husband, the wife was beside herself.
“I don't know how I should act. I am so angry and feel so humiliated, but I love the three of them so much. I feel like I am just a tool and that my dignity was stepped upon,” she wrote on the forum.
To make things worse, she still loves her husband. She said that he was “never abusive” and was a “good husband” and a “good father.”
“It feels like I was not a mother but an idiot who was used like a babysitter for his child,” the woman wrote. “How am I supposed to react? Should I tell them the truth and try to cancel the adoption? Should I divorce him? Am I right to feel like it, or am I a monster to see this child as the source of my humiliation?”
A depressed woman.
The post received 110 comments, and the most popular urged her to ask herself the big questions. Do you want to raise both boys? Do you want to stay married? Do you feel like he will slight you again in some way?
I think one question you need to consider is, Do you want to raise both boys? Setting aside whether or not your husband is involved, understand that the child is blameless and isn't responsible for his parentage. Deciding what you want to do regarding the child is important. Also note that it isn't wrong to decide that you can't handle taking care of this child. Only you know if you have the capacity to raise the child, knowing where he comes from. If you decide that you can't, it is better to not try, and end up conveying all the upset you are feeling to him.
The other question is, Do you want to stay married? There can be various reasons for and against divorce. Only you can decide which ones matter most to you.
A related question is, Do you feel he will slight you again in some way? You talk about your dignity being stepped on. Is he often acting that way in many things? Was this a one-time thing? Do you think he is likely to do it again? Knowing this will help you answer the prior question.
Trying to break down all the things you are struggling with into separate ideas may help you get some control over it.
The woman’s final words on her situation were that she couldn’t resolve to hate her husband or the adopted child and that her husband’s infidelity was the only thing that made her feel hesitant about him. Further, she is legally bound to the adopted child and couldn’t leave him regardless. But sadly, even though it appears she will stay in the situation, she feels like she has no choice. “I feel trapped,” she wrote.
Upworthy has reached out to the woman for an update on her story. We will update this story if she responds.
Where do you draw the line?
On the popular “Am I The A**hole” subreddit, he explained that checking in and staying aware was something his wife was really good at, but something he struggled to maintain. He attributed part of it to what he called being “a fairly self-centered person.”
“I wish that weren't the case,” he wrote. “But in retrospect a lot of bad behavior on my part was not corrected and even enabled when I was young. By the time I realized this character flaw I was already well into adulthood and I have found that old habits die hard.”
And now, in adulthood, this man found himself “getting lost in his own stuff” and forgetting about his partners. So in an effort to be better, he started secretly making reminders in his calendar.
It was a strategy working “really well,” the man wrote.
That is, until his wife found out.
“She definitely found it weird and off-putting that I would need a system like that when she doesn't,” the OP lamented. “I kind of agree with her. It never felt like a deep dark secret, but on the other hand there's obviously a reason I never told her or anyone else I was doing it.”
“Still,” he concluded, “taking action to make sure I show consideration and concern for stuff that matters to her has to be better than continuing to forget, right?”
"Taking action has to be better than forgetting, right?"
People who read his story were inclined to agree.
“I think it's really sweet that you took the steps to help your wife feel valued,” one person wrote, suggesting that the situation might just need further communication. “I'd sit your wife down and let her know that this has helped you engage with her more and to learn more about how she's feeling.”
Quite a few noted that forgetfulness isn’t always something people can control, especially for those who are neurodivergent. So putting systems in place like calendar reminders isn’t actually a moral failing, but simply a different way of organizing important information.
“I’m married and have ADHD. I write EVERYTHING I can down bc I will not remember until it’s too late if I don’t…I would try to frame it as a tool you have used to try to better yourself for your relationship. Tell her you reflected on yourself and didn’t like what you saw. Then tried to do something to correct it so you could be a better partner,” one person commented.
One person even noted that they wished their partner did something like what the OP did.
“I'd love if my partner did something like this. We have had multiple arguments, because I remember everything, while he cannot remember the time he works the next day. So sometimes if I don't remind him, he will forget things, and it hurts,” they wrote.
Putting in the effort is never a bad thing!
All in all, folks agreed that this husband was not in the wrong (or “Not The A**hole, in Reddit speak) for his check-in reminders, and that it would probably just take another conversation for his wife to fully understand where he was coming from.
As one person put it: “I think we can all tell that your wife and your relationship means a lot to you, and I think it's great that you came up with something like that, and hopefully your wife will after this, too. It shows you care. Most people never develop systems for that, and their relationships deteriorate because of it.”
No two brains really think alike. And boy do we realize this in relationships. Even when we’re lucky enough to find that soul mate that seems to “get” us on a deeper level, there are still going to be ways our partners operate that seem completely foreign to us. But that isn’t nearly as important as whether or not a partner can take accountability, and put in the work to be the best partner they can be.
These powerful before-and-after photos reveal just how beautiful aging can be.
Centenarians — people 100 years or older — are a rarity. Their lives are often scrutinized as holding the key to aging.
Czech photographer Jan Langer's portrait series "Faces of Century" shows them in a different light: as human beings aged by years of experience, but at their deepest level, unchanged by the passing of time.
In the series, Langer juxtaposes his portraits with another portrait of the subject from decades earlier. He recreates the original pose and lighting as closely as he can — he wants us to see them not just as they are now, but how they have and haven't changed over time. That is the key to the series.
These are the rare faces of people who have lived through two world wars, a cavalcade of regimes, and the rush of advancements in modern life. These photos, and the stories of the lives lived by the people in them, show not only the beauty of aging, but how even as we age, we still remain essentially ourselves.
1. Prokop Vejdělek, at age 22 and 101
Vejdělek is a former metallurgical engineer who will never forget the taste of warm fresh goat's milk.
2. Bedřiška Köhlerová, at age 26 and 103
Originally born in Merano, Italy, Köhlerová wishes to visit Italy one more time.
3. Ludvík Chybík, at age 20 and 102
Chybík is a former postal carrier and says he will never forget the route he worked every day.
4. Vincenc Jetelina, at age 30 and 105
Jetelina spent eight years in prison after World War II. Now, he just wants to live the rest of his life in peace.
5. Marie Fejfarová, at age 101
Fejfarová burned all her material memories, including old photographs, when she decided to move to a long-term care facility. She lived a dramatic life, hiding from the Nazis and then the Russians, but eventually she was able to travel the world with her husband. Her experiences show there's no such thing as too late in life to start a new chapter.
6. Antonín Kovář, at age 25 and 102
Kovář is a former musician whose daughter comes to visit him every day. He wishes to play the clarinet once more.
7. Anna Vašinová, at age 22 and 102
Vašinová will always remember the day her husband was taken away by the Nazis. She wishes to be reunited with him after death.
8. Stanislav Spáčil, at age 17 and 102
Spáčil was an electrical engineer throughout his life and thinks that it's too early in his life to think about the past.
9. Anna Pochobradská, at age 30 and 100
Pochobradská was a farmer. She now lives a quiet life and is thankful that her daughter visits her every weekend.
10. Antonín Baldrman, at age 17 and 101
Baldrman was a clerk early in life and keeps up with current events by reading the newspaper.
11. Marie Burešová, at age 23 and 101
Burešová loves talking to her family and wishes to have them all together again.
12. Vlasta Čížková, at age 23 and 101
Čížková cooked in the dining room at the airport in the small village of Vodochody. She'll never forget reciting her own poetry at wedding ceremonies.
13. Ludmila Vysloužilová, at age 23 and 101
Vysloužilová stays active every day by chopping wood, shoveling snow, and doing work around her house.
The photographer Langer was initially inspired to document the lives of elderly people because of what he saw as the media's lack of coverage of them. He decided to focus on people over the age of 100 — a very rare demographic indeed. The 2010 U.S. Census reported only 53,364 centenarians, which is only 0.19% of the population of people 70 years or older.
“One should live every single moment according to their best knowledge and conscience because one day we will see clearly what has a real value," Langer says of what he learned from his subjects while photographing them.
The series was originally part of a story that Langer did for the Czech news outlet aktuálně.cz. You can see more photos from the portrait sessions by following the link.
This article originally appeared on 12.08.17.
"We have earned our beauty, we understand what it is, and we can see it so much better."
Aging is a weird thing. From one perspective, it's something we should be grateful for. Few people would wish for the kind of short, uneventful life that would remove aging from the equation completely. The longer we live, the more we grow and learn and experience life, and "aging" is simply the mathematical sum of those experiences. All good, right?
On the other hand, our society does everything in its power to hide the fact that aging happens. Especially when it comes to women. According to Statista, the global anti-aging beauty market is estimated to be worth $58.8 billion. People will try all manner of creams, serums, masks, acids, lights, technologies and surgeries to try to prevent wrinkles, lines, sagginess, spots and other signs that our bodies are changing with time.
Most of us live our daily lives somewhere in the middle of these two realities, wanting to embrace our aging selves but also hoping to stave off some of the more obvious signs that we're getting older. It's natural to resist it in some ways, since the older we get, the closer we get to the end of our lives, which we certainly don't want to hasten—especially if we actually love living.
It can be helpful to see people who are embracing their age, which is why it can be inspiring to see someone like former supermodel Paulina Porizkova confidently sharing photos of her 57-year-old self.
In posts on social media, Porizkova shared a photo of herself in a bikini and a screenshot of a comment made by a person who felt the need to comment on her aging body. And phew, was it something. The commenter wrote:
"You must be in so much pain to keep posting bikini pictures at your age. I've always thought that getting old and ugly is hardest on the pretty people. The fall from grace is so much farther when you were beautiful. Ugly people were always ugly so getting old and ugly isn't a change. In summary, I feel your pain. I pray you can come to terms with your mortality. We all get old and ugly…you just had to fall from a greater height than the rest of us. Tears Times Infinity!"
So many things to unpack here.
Porizkova shared her thoughts on the comment on Instagram.
A thoughtful reader comment on IG need an equally thoughtful response.\nThank you for feeling my pain, rickaroo777. As you can see, I\u2019m suffering indeed.pic.twitter.com/mWijP55iAS— Paulina Porizkova (@Paulina Porizkova) 1651241361
"Here’s a good follower comment- echoing a few others," Porizkova wrote. "A woman of 57 is 'too old' to pose in a bikini - no matter what she looks like. Because 'Old' is 'Ugly.' I get comments like these every time I post a photo of my body. This is the ageist shaming that sets my teeth on edge. Older men are distinguished, older women are ugly."
"People who believe prettiness equals beauty do not understand beauty," she continued. "Pretty is easy on the eyes, partly because it’s a little bland, inoffensive. It’s easy to take in and easy to forget. Not so beauty. Beauty can be sharp. It can wound you and leave a scar. To perceive beauty you have to be able to SEE."
"This is why I believe we get more beautiful with age," she added. "We have earned our beauty, we understand what it is, and we can see it so much better. There is no such thing as ugly and old. Only shortsighted and ignorant."
On Twitter, Porizkova was a bit more sarcastic, writing, "Thank you for feeling my pain, rickaroo777. As you can see, I’m suffering indeed."
That tongue-in-cheek response prompted others to share their aging selves in photos, sharing how their "old and ugly" phase of life is going. The thread turned into a veritable celebration of middle-to-late age, with posts about how much more comfortable people feel in their bodies as they get older and the freedom that comes along with not caring what other people think.
You suffer beautifully
There are two big ironies with the original trolling comment. Most obviously, Porizkova obviously looks freaking amazing in a bikini, so the whole "ugly" and "fall from grace" line of thought is object and off base. The second is that if you look through Porizkova's Instagram feed, she doesn't pose in bikinis very often at all. It's not like she's plastering her bikini selfies all over social media trying to make herself feel better about herself, as the commenter implies. She just…sometimes wears a bikini. Whoop dee doo.
Do it anyway! Every body is valid. Every body is a bikini body.pic.twitter.com/slDLHLWQo7— \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8Noel Giger\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 (@\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8Noel Giger\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8) 1651248625
People don't have to wear bikinis if they don't want to. But to tell strangers what they can wear crosses a line. All bodies are bikini bodies, and if the person in the body wants their body to be in a bikini, more power to them.
The "suffering" and "pain" in the posts were so funny to see.
I'm 49 and I haven't yet put on a bikini. Steph, thanks for showing me it's not too late! Tho, somehow I feel like I won't fill it as well as you & Paulina. But it's all about attitude, right? So let's the 3 of us hit the beach! (I'll stay in the shade of an umbrella, tho.)— Spark The Genius (@Spark The Genius) 1651262083
The thread brought inspiration to those who may fall prey to the idea that people shouldn't wear certain things after a certain age or that only people with certain body sizes or shapes should wear certain things.
The hashtag #oldandugly started trending as people responded to Porizkova's call for a celebration of aging beautifully.
"Todays thread has been my absolute favorite of all time," Porizkova wrote on Twitter. "Thank you all you 'old and ugly' women (and a few men) showing the world how much we 'suffer' at in our old age. You’re all breathtaking!"
The love continues! 57 and proud! Keep posting your wonderful beautiful selves and tag #oldandugly so we can keep sharing the pic.twitter.com/Veg72kQOqt— Paulina Porizkova (@Paulina Porizkova) 1651454555
May we all age beautifully and gracefully in whatever way those words are meaningful to us, and show those who think that aging means "suffering" and "pain" due to being "old and ugly" that they have no idea what they're talking about.
(And here's an extra shout-out to Porizkova for using her beauty and her age to make an important point—not only about celebrating getting older, but also about how propaganda works. Brava.)
This article originally appeared on 05.03.22
You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.
Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.
The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.
Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.
The idea was to make it accessible to visitors and use the cave as a tourist attraction, and the small structure was eventually built into a two-story house. But it was closed to the public in 1954 after the land was purchased for limestone mining and it remained closed for nearly 70 years. (In the words of Stephanie Tanner, "How rude.") Sometime during that 70-year closure, the home that contains the cave was purchased by Dara Black, and in 2021, it reopened to the public.
Currently, the home is occupied by Black, but to gain access to the cave you can simply book a tour. The best part about booking a tour is that you only have to make a donation to enter. It's a pay-what-you-can sort of setup, but since someone actually lives in the home, you can't just pop in and ask for a tour. You have to go during the "open house" times available.
According to the Black-Coffey Caverns Facebook page, they treat the tours truly as an open house, complete with snacks and drinks. There's a waiting room area where people can chat and eat their snacks while they wait for the tour to start. They also offer cave yoga once a month. According to Uncovering PA, the tour takes about 45 minutes to complete and there are about 3,000 feet worth of passageways.
Imagine living on top of a cave and just taking strangers on a waltz under your floorboards essentially. It makes me wonder if the house is quiet at night or if you can hear echoes of the cave sounds while you're trying to sleep. From the Facebook page, it appears that the cave doesn't have any lights, but there were pictures with some Christmas lights mounted to the cave walls. Otherwise, you have to use flashlights.
Hopefully, no mischievous children decide to play hide and seek or you just might have to call in a rescue crew. Literally. But what an unbelievable "pics or it didn't happen" kind of story to tell. It's not every day you run into someone that has a door that leads you to an underground cave.
If you want to see what a cave tour looks like starting from the outside of the house, check out the video below:
This article originally appeared on 1.30.23
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"You know what... This might just work."
There's the old cliché, desperate times call for desperate measures and one woman decided it was time to pull out all the stops. Well, sort of. Karolina Geits was annoyed with dating sites when she and her friends came up with the joke of walking around New York City with a sign that reads, "looking for a husband."
The sign isn't something fancy that they printed up at Office Depot or something. It's just a piece of cardboard with black sharpie writing. Geits, who is a model, debuted the sign in July, racking up more than 6.4 million views on TikTok. Since striking virility, she's taken to filming herself with some pretty eyebrow raising signs.
People walking along the streets seem to be a mixture of confused and amused by these silly signs, which sometimes actually result in money. One of her signs, "need money for a Birkin" had onlookers giggling and some folks forgetting they were in New York traffic while craning their necks to...read her sign. I'm sure.
In one video Geits is sitting on a park bench surrounded by balloons designed to look like dogs. While actual dogs stop to sniff the curious pets she's holding the leash to, the model holds up a sign that reads, "these are the only pets I can afford." She doesn't stop at just sitting on the bench with her inflatable best friends, she takes them out into the park for a walk while people look at her confused.
Geits, has a sign looking for a sugar daddy, asking strangers to marry her, and declaring that she is in fact fashion. One of her most recent strolls through New York City looking for a husband garnered more than 11 million views. By the end of that video, some lucky guy swooped her off her feet. Pretty sure they're married now and she's just looking for a spare. They seemed pretty happy together after meeting .3 seconds beforehand.
Commenters can't believe her results.
"If this is the result then I just might try it," one woman writes.
"You know what... This might just work lol," another says.
"At this point I need to do the same thing. Lol," someone comments.
"You know what... let me go get me some art supplies lmao," one person writes.
Well, it does seem to be effective in gaining the attention of attractive men, even the ones clearly sitting with their partners. There were quite a few women gripping their partner's arm and giving them death stares. It's all in good fun, but check out those reactions below.