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.
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.
"I was only 3, but I recognized something was up."
Julian Lennon, son of Beatle John Lennon and his first wife, Cynthia, had a candid, two-hour conversation with Bill Maher on a recent episode of his “Club Random” podcast. During their intimate talk, Julian discussed his complicated feelings about being the subject of one of The Beatles' most famous songs, “Hey Jude.”
“Hey Jude” was written by Paul McCartney while driving to the Lennons’ house to comfort them after John Lennon left Cynthia for Yoko Ono in 1968. The song is credited to the Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership, which by ‘68 mainly had splintered.
The song was initially called “Hey Jules,” but McCartney changed the name to Jude because he thought it was “a bit less specific."
When asked about being the subject of such a popular song, Julian Lennon had his reservations.
“I'm thankful for the song without question. The other real thing is that people don't really understand that that's a stark and dark reminder of actually what happened with the fact that dad walked out, walked away, left mum and I,” Lennon told Maher.
“You know, that was a point of complete change and complete disruption and complete darkness and sadness. I mean, I was only 3, but I recognized something was up, you know,” Lennon continued. “Yeah, it was heartbreaking, heartbreaking. So, it's a reminder of that time and that place. So, I get both sides of it, but a lot of people don't necessarily understand there's a dark, you know, the yin and the yang of that song.”
As a massive Beatles fan, Maher failed to realize the song's impact on Lennon’s life. “I feel stupid not seeing that before you had to explain it to me, but I get it,” Maher said.
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."
To no one's surprise Adelman did not like these answers.
Google and smart phones have been around so long that Gen Z doesn't know a time before those things existed. They may have Googled what a card catalog was used for but plenty of them don't know the pressure we all felt having to learn the dewy decimal system while walking around the library with a card with numbers scribbled on it.
They've never experienced the frustration of having an out of date Encyclopedia collection from the thrift store that was missing books "D" and "X-Z" when you had a research assignment due. Oh, sweet tech savvy - we not me generation, doesn't understand that riding shot gun on a road trip meant you were suddenly a pirate with an Atlas map bigger than the dashboard.
Even as someone that was alive when having a rotary phone was the norm, I sometimes forget what life was like before all of the technological luxuries. It's not surprising that Gen Z is confused on how we survived back then without knowledge at our fingertips, so when one of them asked, Gen X, Xennials and elder Millennials entered the chat.
Sarah Adelman posted a video to TikTok with the caption, "pls help I was born in 1997." In the video she says she has a genuine question for older people and that's when she asks, "what did you do before you could look something up?"
Adelman gives the example of something that isn't in the dictionary or Encyclopedia. She wants to know what someone would do if there was a celebrity whose name you couldn't remember or other trivial things like that.
"Would you go to the library? Like gen..and like okay, without Google Maps, like I know that there was MapQuest but before that like genuinely what would you do? Would you just accept not knowing," the Gen Zer asks before saying she doesn't think she would be able to survive without knowing.
Unfortunately for Adelman, the older generations informed her that this is exactly what we did back in the 1900s. We simply wondered about things that popped into our heads. In fact, since we knew there was no way of knowing the name of the actor that played on "Matlock" for one episode, we didn't bother attempting to look it up. You'd either see them again in a rerun or it would come to you randomly while trying to locate a payphone.
"The name of an actor would come up to you 3 weeks later while you were eating a bowl of cereal," one person writes.
"You would just be forever annoyed by it, keep it bookmarked in the back of your mind, then realize one day that dude's name is Ray Liotta or something," another commenter says.
"Ummm. I love how you reference Mapquest. We used maps. Just maps. Good ole paper maps," someone writes.
"We just lived in blissful ignorance and then in the middle of a conversation about pretzels a week later we would just yell out the answer," one person reveals.
To no one's surprise Adelman did not like these answers. She replied to someone explaining that we simply wondered with, "I could never." The official Google account even chimed in saying, "however it worked, sounds bad."
Ehh, it wasn't so bad. We didn't know any different, but in a way Adelman had that good old fashioned pre-Google experience when she posed this question. You can watch the perplexed girl's video below:
Pls help i was born in 1997 #90s #genz #90skids #iphone #rant #question #funny
The way he talks about "Flower"—his nickname for his wife—is a testament to lasting love.
If there's one thing pretty much all humans love, it's love—love that works, love that lasts, love that inspires. Literature is full of love stories filled with heartache and heartbreak, but we always hold out hope that a relationship will not only endure but blossom.
Such a love feels rare enough that we marvel when we see it, which is why the Motivat family has gained a loyal following on Instagram. The elder Motivats (Dr. Jones and Dr. Beatrice) have been married for 25 years, and their daughter shares their sweet interactions on the Instagram account @queenmotivat.
One of the hallmarks of the couple's long-time love story is that Dr. Jones loves to pick out clothes for his wife. And not just any clothes—beautiful dresses and gowns, along with jewelry to go with them—and his enthusiasm for seeing "Flower" (his nickname for her) dressed up is incredibly sweet.
But equally endearing is how much Dr. Beatrice looks forward to dressing up for her husband—her "Honey"—as well. (It also helps that Dr. Jones sounds like he should be narrating every audiobook and nature show with his deep, soothing voice.)
And here is Dr. Beatrice showing off the fuschia dress from the beginning of that video:
(Seriously, guys—buy a woman a dress with pockets and she will never let you go.)
People just love seeing Dr. Jones express his love for his wife, not only in words but in deeds.
"He has set the bar so high, I can’t even see it anymore 🥲," wrote one commenter.
"I’m enamored by their marriage," wrote another. "I really want to love someone THIS way. Just like this. Be completely engulfed in their humanity. Wow. It’s so beautiful to see ."
"Mass produce this gentleman asap and protect the original at all cost," wrote another.
"He seriously needs to cloned. The time he takes to make things perfect for his Queen 👸🏾 is astounding. He is truly amazing!" shared another.
The mutual adoration shows in every video:
This could save the life of you or someone you love.
Most abusers don't start their relationships by hitting their partners. That's why early warning signs are vital to recognize.
I know two women who recently left abusive partners. Both men seemed sweet and likable—even gentle—each time I saw them. Both had some lovely qualities as people and even as partners. And both turned out to be controlling, increasingly abusive partners behind closed doors.
Abuse usually comes on gradually, with plenty of opportunity to manipulate and forgive and justify the water getting warmer. That's why many stay in abusive relationships far longer than they should.
A domestic violence counselor suggests a simple test to help identify potential abusers early in a relationship.
Rob Andrews is a domestic violence counselor in Australia. He told ABC News that he advises people to use what he calls the "No Test" to identify potential red flags early on in a relationship.
"The No Test is basically to watch out for the way your partner responds the first time you change your mind or say no," Andrews said.
"While expressing disappointment is OK, it's not the same as annoyed. Annoyed is 'how dare you,' a sign of ownership or entitlement."
Ownership, entitlement, control—these are red flags that often lead to increasingly abusive behavior. And though women can definitely be abusers, the reality is that women are much more likely to be the victims of domestic violence and male abusers tend to be more dangerous to their partners.
"A lot of the women who will present to services will see themselves as part of the problem," Andrews said. "They'll ask themselves why they're always attracted to abusive men, blame themselves for not being assertive enough, blame themselves for pushing their partner's buttons, causing their anger."
"With the No Test, we're not trying to give women knowledge that they didn't already know," he said, "but when they see it in black and white in front of them like that, they realize they of course have the right to say no, that they aren't to blame."
Andrews describes our patriarchal history as "the nut of the problem."
Andrews said that some people erroneously tell women that they should just be more assertive with their partners, letting them know they won't stand for controlling or abusive behavior, but that's not always the best tack to take.
"Being assertive with a man who's threatening to bash you is not a very good idea," he said. "It almost comes from what I'd call 'deficit thinking,' that somehow these women need to be trained up so that the people won't abuse them. The only person who can stop the abuse is the person who is doing the abusing."
Andrews works with men who are struggling with their own behavior and want to change. He has them think about what kind of man they really want to be and work with them to align their behavior with that vision.
"I hear a lot of people saying how it's so hard for men now, it's all so confusing," he said. "It's very easy to be a man. Just be polite and respectful to people, it's not that difficult really."
"But in saying that," he added, "we are to some extent dealing with 2,000 years of history of women being a second-class citizen. That's the nut of the problem and we've got to keep chipping away at it."
This article originally appeared on 02.11.19