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.
People are supporting her for her heartfelt honesty.
A mother on TikTok shared a heartfelt moment when her 9-year-old daughter opened up about her self-image concerns, wondering about her appearance as she grows up. The story was a wonderful example of a mother delicately dealing with an issue that far too many young women face. It was also a difficult moment because the conversation brought up the mother's body issues as well.
The conversation happened while the two were clothes shopping at Target. “My 9-year-old’s saying she's fat, and this is because she has to wear adult sizes versus kids 'cause she's really tall, just like me,” Mackenzie Waddell told her 222,000 followers.
“She kept calling herself ‘fat’ and that she had too big of a butt and that the other kids her age don't have to wear adult clothes,” Waddell continued. “I reminded her that I, too, had to wear adult clothes when I was her age 'cause I was really tall just like she is.”
Im so devastated that she feels that way about herself. 💔
The discussion led to a question that was hard for the mother to hear.
“... she asked me if she was gonna look like me when she grew up. And I asked her, ‘Do you mean big like me? When you grow up?’ And she said, ‘Yes. I'm not trying to be mean mom, but I want to look like Aunt Sarah, not you,’” she recalled.
Her daughter’s remarks hit her right in the heart, but she responded with perfect composure. "I kept a brave face and said, 'As long as you are happy and healthy, and you love yourself, that's all that matters. No matter what size you are,” Waddell said.
The mother was sure not to take it personally, but it still cut close to the bone. “And was I hurt? Yeah, I was. But she didn't mean to hurt me. It just really sucked. Yeah,” she concluded.
The post went viral, receiving over 1.7 million views and over 2,000 comments. The most popular commenter thought that Waddell should tell her daughter to avoid commenting on people’s weight.
"You should tell her she hurt your feelings. She needs to know. You did a great job supporting her in how she feels. She has to learn that skill also," Char8201 wrote.
However, many women responded with nothing but love for how Waddell handled such a challenging situation. "You responded beautifully, momma. She’s still learning and these are the moments where we provide that guidance, even when it hurts," Mavv13 wrote. "Oh mama. Thank god she feels comfortable to talk to you openly," tirrelltribe added.
After the tremendous response to her video, Waddell responded with another post, educating people about how one’s weight doesn’t necessarily mean they eat unhealthy. “A lot of people like to assume that plus-size people don’t know how to eat healthy or are unhealthy. When, in fact, we’re not,” Waddle said.
She added that her daughter lives a healthy lifestyle but avoids having conversations about weight with her because “That’s what traumatized me.”
Replying to @user3838812846970 she will always be perfect, no matter what.
There's a good reason for the update. But it's jarring, to say the least.
The oldest published version of the melody to the “Alphabet Song” was in 1761. However, because it’s the same melody as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” it's hard to trace it to its original composer.
The “Alphabet Song” is so deeply entrenched in American culture that it almost seems sacrilegious to change a piece of music that’s one of the first most of us ever learned. But after all these years, some educators are altering the classic melody so that there is a variation when the letters L-M-N-O-P are sung.
This change shocked popular TikTokker Jessica Skube, who documents life raising 7 children with her 2.6 million followers. Nearly 10 million people have watched her video revealing the significant change, and it’s received over 56,000 comments since first being published in late 2020.
"You guys, I have huge, huge, huge, huge, huge news,” Skube told her followers. "I have a fifth grader, a fifth grader, a fourth grader, a third grader, a third grader, a first grader, and a preschooler and I just got news that the ‘Alphabet Song’ is changing."
She then sang the updated version of the song.
Just to add to your 2020 🤯😱 because distance learning wasn’t enough!!! @ms_frazzled #abcsong #lmno #wtf #momsoftiktok
The big reason for the change is that people learning English, whether young kids or those who speak it as a second language, often get confused because L-M-N-O-P can sound like one letter, “elemenopee." So, the new version breaks up that part of the alphabet, making the letters easier to understand. There has been a "surge" in the number of students learning English as a second language over the past decade, so it only makes sense to alter the song to help them learn the fundamentals of the language.
"She wrote a letter for me before she died, but I couldn’t bring myself to read it until now."
Ten months after a man’s wife passed away, he finally got the courage to read a letter she left him, which contained a devastating admission. The 4-year-old son they had together may not be his.
“My ‘darling’ wife passed away 10 months ago,” the man wrote on Reddit’s Off My Chest forum. “She wrote a letter for me before she died, but I couldn’t bring myself to read it until now. She told me how sorry she was that she didn’t have the guts to tell me this to my face when she was alive.”
In the letter, the wife revealed that there was a “good chance” that the son he thought was his wasn’t his biological child. A few weeks before their wedding day, the wife got drunk at her bachelorette party and had a one-night stand with another man. Soon after that night, she became pregnant but was unsure who the father was.
The man was torn whether or not to have the paternity test done. The child had only one parent in this world, and he would have to take care of him regardless. He also thought it was cowardly that his former wife would wait until she was no longer around to share the truth with him.
A father and son playing with a train.
“So she thought she’d rather drop this bomb on my life when I could no longer confront her about it,” the man wrote. “Now that my son would only have one parent looking out for him, and she’d have no idea how I would even react. Maybe I should not have got the paternity test done. Maybe it might be better to live in ignorance. But I just had to know.”
The man took the paternity test and learned he wasn’t the child’s biological father.
“I’m devastated. This doesn’t change how I feel about my son,” he wrote. “He’s my whole world and he’s innocent. But boy, does it hurt. There’s so much going on in my head right now. I haven’t stopped crying. Thank god my son is at my parents' place for the day. I’d hate for him to see me like this.”
Facing a pain nearly too much for him to bear, the only outlet he had at the moment was reaching out to Reddit to find some solace. “I just needed to let this all out. Don’t have it in me to tell anyone in my life about this right now,” he wrote.
The commenters send him hundreds of messages of support to get him through the shock of first learning the truth about his family.
A depressed man sit on the couch.
The most popular message was straightforward and honest. "All your feelings are valid, a lot of people will react with some kind of toxic positivity to things like these. Your feelings are valid. Each and everyone," femunndsmarka wrote.
Another commenter added that someday, his son will appreciate how he stepped up and did what was right in a very trying circumstance. “He is going to find out the truth one day. Imagine how much more he will love you knowing you didn’t leave him, even though he wasn’t yours,” ImNotGoodatThis6969.
Another commenter provided valuable insight from the son’s perspective.
"As an adopted child, I just want to thank you on behalf of your son. I deeply believe it changes nothing, family is not about blood, its about who you love, want to have by your side, and care for the most. Sending hugs, strength and gratitude," Mariuuq wrote.
The father at the heart of this story is understandably devastated because his life was upended almost overnight. But the hope in the story is that his trials also taught him a powerful truth—his love for his son goes much deeper than blood.
Great info, even better delivery.
Amazon delivery drivers don’t have the easiest job in the world. Sitting through traffic, working in extreme temperatures, hauling boxes … not exactly a fun time. So when a driver goes out of their way to be extra considerate—people notice.
One delivery driver has gone viral for the way she delivered a little bit of safety education, along with some lighthearted advice. The TikTok video of the encounter, which now has more than 4 million views, was shared by Jessica Huseman, who had only recently moved into her new house.
The clip shows the doorbell cam recording of the driver approaching the house. As the delivery driver makes it to the front door, she sings, ”Hello … I hope your Monday’s going well. You have no markers on your house that says what number you are.”
From there, the driver’s song quickly changes tune, going from funny jest to helpful PSA.
“And that is hard to find your house my dude, and it’s unsafe, honestly,” the driver continues, adding, “what if you needed medical assistance and the paramedics didn’t know your town well? Come on.”
@_jesshopehuse We just moved in and this happened today…she’s not wrong though. Guess I need to get some house numbers. #amazondelivery ♬ original sound - Jessica Huseman
“Have a great day!” she says happily before walking off.Huseman added the caption: “We just moved in and this happened today... she’s not wrong though. Guess I need to get some house numbers.”
The driver’s observation was clearly on point. Several medical pros commented to back her up.
“As someone who works in EMS I can verify house numbers are necessary! BUT ALSO MAKE SURE THEY ARE EASILY VISIBLE FROM THE STREET AT NIGHT,” wrote one person.
Another replied, ”yes! Medic here, we’ve had to call dispatch and ask for them to get [the] caller back on the phone and get [the] description of [the] house because there [are] no numbers.”
Besides her information being vital, people were mostly in love with the driver’s friendly attitude. Here are just a few of the compliments:
“Honestly, give them a raise. That’s awesome vibes right there.”
“She’s a whole friken mood, I love her she gives me pink vibes.”
“I need to meet this Amazon driver!!!! I love her!!”
The delivery driver (named Kelsey) eventually saw her viral video and decided to do a follow-up, where she added other unsafe things she’s seen on the job—primarily unclear entrances and exits—along with an additional sweet message:
@queenofconsent #stitch with @_jesshopehuse ♬ original sound - The Queen K
“Crisis management and prevention education is essential and literally a part of my soul. So anytime I do go out and deliver packages … if I see something, I say something. Cause that’s how bystander intervention works. But keeping in mind that it’s more than that. It is about reminding each other that we are enough, and being there for one another.”
Whether it’s packages or something to smile about, Kelsey is a master of delivery.
This article first appeared on 6.15.22.
"I had to unlearn it because it never was okay."
There is certainly no shortage of stories from women highlighting the glaring disparity between society’s expected responsibilities of husbands vs. wives. Some are a bit more lighthearted, poking fun at the absurdity. Others reflect utter frustration and had-it-up-to-here-edness with partners not doing their share of the work.
However, self-proclaimed “Clueless Husband” J Fisher’s honest, thoughtful retrospection on the subject shows that it’s not just female partners noticing that things need to change.
In a now-viral TikTok video, Fisher describes how he used to consider himself the “main character” of his relationship.
What exactly did that look like? Early on in his marriage, it looked something like this:
@jfisher62 What NOT to do as a husband #fyp #husbandsoftiktok #wivesoftiktok #fairplay #parenting #feminism #dismantlethepatriarchy #relationship #marriage #support #partnering ♬ original sound - J Fisher
Fisher later shared how his wife would then get everything ready for said trip, while he would simply pack for himself. This continued even after they had kids. It became worse, actually.
“My partner would do all the work to get all of them ready to make sure they were bathed, snacks packed, and I would get myself ready.”
Looking back, Fisher can plainly see how this behavior was “not okay.” But how did he think this was acceptable in the first place? After some reflection, he realized that it was simply the standard being modeled to him from an early age.
“I saw my own father do this quite a bit where he would take care of his own needs. So, I know I didn't learn it from nowhere," he said. "But I also had to unlearn it because it never was okay. I thought that my role was to do all these things outside of the home and that the home was women's domain. I saw that modeled and even taught as the way it should be, but, oh my gosh, is that not partnership? And that sucks.”
After coming to this revelation, Fisher’s opinion is that if you approve of this division of labor, that you “shouldn’t be in a relationship.”
Hard to argue with that.
Hoping that he can further illustrate a better partnering mindset in a way that “may help it click for some guys,” Fisher has all kinds of insightful TikToks focused on taking accountability and expanding emotional intelligence. In them, he often names therapy, setting boundaries, finding community and accessing personal joy (rather than relying on a partner to fulfill all emotional needs) as major tools for creating a more equal relationship.
@jfisher62 Good intention ≠ Truly loving 💔😔 “I’m Sorry” doesn’t begin to do it justice. #fyp #foryoupage #marriage #longtermrelationship #partner #husbandsoftiktok #wivesoftiktok #accountability #healingjourney #grief#stagesofgrief #dabda #acceptance ♬ original sound - J Fisher
And perhaps the best part—there doesn’t seem to be so much shame around the subject. Fisher acknowledges his own goodwill while still admitting to displaying less-than-healthy behavior. It’s hard not to feel like if maybe this kind of honest, yet compassionate reexamination of gender stereotypes were more commonplace, we’d all collectively be a lot farther ahead.
This article originally appeared on 5.4.23
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