5 heartwarming moments when teenagers appreciated their parents for a change.
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Whirlpool Congrats Parents

When you think of teenagers, "grateful" is probably not the first word that comes to mind.

In fact, teenagers often have the opposite reputation — spoiled, entitled, and selfish. Fittingly, advice for parents of teenagers frequently focuses on how to deal with bad attitudes.

However, labeling all teens inherently ungrateful isn't totally accurate. Many teenagers actually do appreciate their parents’ hard work, whether it’s cooking, doing their laundry, or helping them study for next morning’s algebra test. Of course, it might be hard to see that gratitude, especially when teens are busy hanging out with friends, texting at the dinner table, or slamming the occasional bedroom door during a disagreement.


Photo via iStock.

So, for parents who are feeling doubtful about whether or not their kids appreciate their hard work, here are five stories of teens who were just waiting for the right moment to show their gratitude.

1. Without money for a gift, this single mom's daughter made a touching gesture.

When Kira Allen's daughter Vivian was 17 years old, Kira didn't think she'd be getting a gift for Mother's Day.

"As a single mom, I've always done my best to meet our necessities," the California mom explains. She liked to cook for her kids, especially her delicious homemade blueberry-apple crisp.

But that year, Kira says, "We were too broke for gifts."

Kira was just returning to work after medical leave for issues including severe anemia, sleep apnea, and a high risk for stroke. She'd originally only planned to take two weeks off, but once she got to the bottom of her medical needs, she realized she was in "a battle for survival," so her medical leave went on for another three and a half months.

However, even though they were short on money, Vivian didn't want to disappoint her mom by leaving her empty-handed on Mother's Day, especially after the year she'd had. So, she wrote Kira a heartfelt note.

Vivian's note to her mother. Image via Kira Allen.

"Dear Queen," she began. "Without you there is nothing. No sun, no moon, no stars — in my world."

Today, Vivian is 23 years old and away at college, and she's missing her mom's blueberry-apple crisp. But her note is still where she left it, on her mom's nightstand. "It still means more to me than anything she could have ever purchased," Kira says.

2. A tattoo went from giving a dad a scare to being his greatest gift.

Photo via iStock.

In April 2018, Richard, a dad from New Jersey, thought he was getting the shock of his life when his 18-year-old son Jonathan sent him this text: "Guess what dad I'm getting a tattoo."

Richard worried that Jonathan was making a rash decision. However, when he saw what his son chose for his new ink, he was surprised in the best way. Jonathan's tattoo was a set of Roman numerals marking the day that his dads adopted him.

"I was so taken aback," Richard told the parenting website Gays With Kids. Jonathan was 5 years old when he was adopted, and as the years passed, his father wondered if he'd forgotten the date. But now, Jonathan's first tattoo will always remind him that his son is forever thankful for the day they became a family.

3. This daughter's personalized messages to her mom fit every occasion.

Sarah Davis (left) with her mother, LaTonya. Photo by Holly Pohl Photography, used with permission.

Sarah Davis was 17 years old on Mother's Day in 2017, and she wanted to give her mom, LaTonya, something unique — a gift LaTonya could enjoy for years to come.

Sarah had recognized the sacrifices that her mom made for her while growing up. In fact, as a teenager, she had even begun taking on some of LaTonya's household tasks herself in order to give her mom a little extra help. For example, when LaTonya was having a bad day, Sarah would clean the fridge, the pantry, or other common areas.

But to do something really special for Mother's Day, Sarah wrote a collection of personalized notes along with instructions on which note to read when, such as "when you need a smile," "when you can't sleep," and "when you're missing me."

As soon as she saw the instructions, LaTonya had a touching realization: Her daughter must have put a lot of thought into this gift.

Sarah's instructions for her gift to her mom. Image via LaTonya Davis.

"I haven't opened all of the notes yet because I feel like it's the gift I don't ever want to end," LaTonya says.

She continues, "[Sarah] regularly shows appreciation for all of the opportunities afforded to her, but this reminded me that she sees me not only as a mom but as a whole person."

4. A birthday gift got one mom's unique wishes exactly right.

"Birthdays have always been a source of conflict for me," Asha Rajan says.

Growing up, she was raised to believe that being a girl or a woman meant making yourself "small" by avoiding drawing attention to yourself. She carried that belief into parenting, often sacrificing her own moments of celebration to make sure her kids received attention instead of herself.

And that's exactly what made Asha's 2018 birthday so memorable — her teenage sons, Nik and Milan, got the celebration just right. The day included breakfast by Nik, an ice cream cake with candles, and a homemade card that Milan decorated with a painting he'd made in fifth grade.

Asha with her sons, Milan (left) and Nik (right), in 2014. Image via Asha Rajan.

"Having my teens recognise [my] quandary and celebrate me with love and humor while still not making it too much about me made me feel understood," she says.

“I adore being the mother of teens — all the smelly sports clothes and wet stinky towels notwithstanding!”

5. This college freshman's sweet tribute to his dad went viral in his first week of school.

Every year since kindergarten, Charles Brockman III's first day of school started out the same. His parents, Sherry and Charles Jr., would walk him into school and take a photo.

At times, he found the tradition embarrassing (especially while in high school), but once he left home for the first time to go to college, he actually missed his parents' annual display of support and encouragement.

So after the 17-year-old settled into his new dorm room as a freshman at Mississippi State University, Charles wanted to say a simple thanks. He tweeted side-by-side photos of his dad walking him to school, along with the words, "From the first day of kindergarten to college move in. Thank you dad."

By the time classes started, his tribute had been retweeted more than 64,000 times and liked more than 263,000 times.

"[My parents] have pretty much supported me in everything I do," Charles told NBC News a couple of weeks later. "Knowing that makes me want to be successful and make them proud. I don't mind sharing that."

No matter how big or small, a teen's gesture of appreciation is a reminder to parents everywhere that their love, care, and sacrifice has huge meaning.

Image via iStock.

And kids aren’t the only ones who’d like to celebrate all of the hard-working parents out there. Whirlpool has created  "Congrats, parents" as part of its Every day, care® campaign in order to share uplifting messages for the parents of the class of ‘18.

After all, the class of ‘18 wouldn’t have made it to graduation day without the sacrifices that so many parents make for their kids. Throughout the journey towards graduation, those parents have put their time toward preparing their kids’ meals, making sure they always had clean clothes, and keeping the house in order along the way.

That’s why, even when teenagers are caught up in their own lives or when they don't have money for lavish gifts, they can still find unique ways to reveal just how much they care about their parents. These gestures can appear when you least expect it — which, in turn, makes them all the more meaningful.

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Judy Vaughan has spent most of her life helping other women, first as the director of House of Ruth, a safe haven for homeless families in East Los Angeles, and later as the Project Coordinator for Women for Guatemala, a solidarity organization committed to raising awareness about human rights abuses.

But in 1996, she decided to take things a step further. A house became available in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles and she was offered the opportunity to use it to help other women and children. So, in partnership with a group of 13 people who she knew from her years of activism, she decided to make it a transitional residence program for homeless women and their children. They called the program Alexandria House.

"I had learned from House of Ruth that families who are homeless are often isolated from the surrounding community," Judy says. "So we decided that as part of our mission, we would also be a neighborhood center and offer a number of resources and programs, including an after-school program and ESL classes."

She also decided that, unlike many other shelters in Los Angeles, she would accept mothers with their teenage boys.

"There are very few in Los Angeles [that do] due to what are considered liability issues," Judy explains. "Given the fact that there are (conservatively) 56,000 homeless people and only about 11,000 shelter beds on any one night, agencies can be selective on who they take."

Their Board of Directors had already determined that they should take families that would have difficulties finding a place. Some of these challenges include families with more than two children, immigrant families without legal documents, moms who are pregnant with other small children, families with a member who has a disability [and] families with service dogs.

"Being separated from your son or sons, especially in the early teen years, just adds to the stress that moms who are unhoused are already experiencing," Judy says.

"We were determined to offer women with teenage boys another choice."

Courtesy of Judy Vaughan

Alexandria House also doesn't kick boys out when they turn 18. For example, Judy says they currently have a mom with two daughters (21 and 2) and a son who just turned 18. The family had struggled to find a shelter that would take them all together, and once they found Alexandria House, they worried the boy would be kicked out on his 18th birthday. But, says Judy, "we were not going to ask him to leave because of his age."

Homelessness is a big issue in Los Angeles. "[It] is considered the homeless capital of the United States," Judy says. "The numbers have not changed significantly since 1984 when I was working at the House of Ruth." The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the problem. According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), over 66,000 people in the greater Los Angeles area were experiencing homelessness in 2020, representing a rise of 12.7% compared with the year before.

Each woman who comes to Alexandria House has her own unique story, but some common reasons for ending up homeless include fleeing from a domestic violence or human trafficking situation, aging out of foster care and having no place to go, being priced out of an apartment, losing a job, or experiencing a family emergency with no 'cushion' to pay the rent.

"Homelessness is not a definition; it is a situation that a person finds themselves in, and in fact, it can happen to almost anyone. There are many practices and policies that make it almost impossible to break out of poverty and move out of homelessness."

And that's why Alexandria House exists: to help them move out of it. How long that takes depends on the woman, but according to Judy, families stay an average of 10 months. During that time, the women meet with support staff to identify needs and goals and put a plan of action in place.

A number of services are provided, including free childcare, programs and mentoring for school-age children, free mental health counseling, financial literacy classes and a savings program. They have also started Step Up Sisterhood LA, an entrepreneurial program to support women's dreams of starting their own businesses. "We serve as a support system for as long as a family would like," Judy says, even after they have moved on.

And so far, the program is a resounding success.

92 percent of the 200 families who stayed at Alexandria House have found financial stability and permanent housing — not becoming homeless again.

Since founding Alexandria House 25 years ago, Judy has never lost sight of her mission to join with others and create a vision of a more just society and community. That is why she is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year — and the donation she receives as a nominee will go to Alexandria House and will help grow the new Start-up Sisterhood LA program.

"Alexandria House is such an important part of my life," says Judy. "It has been amazing to watch the children grow up and the moms recreate their lives for themselves and for their families. I have witnessed resiliency, courage, and heroic acts of generosity."

The battle between millennials and older generations isn't exactly a generational war—it's more a case of mistaken generational identity. A decade ago, whining about millennials being young adults unprepared to make their way in the world at least made sense mathematically. But when people bag on millennials now they end up looking rather foolish.

A marketing researcher with a doctorate in social psychology wrote an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune titled "Post-pandemic, some millennials finally decide to start #adulting." And when the Tribune shared it to Twitter, their since-deleted tweet read, "Writer Jennifer Rosner predicts COVID-10 lockdowns will force easy-breezy millennials to grow up."

Hoo boy.

Interestingly, the writer of the op-ed is a millennial herself, but she repeats generalizations about her entire generation that seem like they mainly apply to her own social circle. Read it yourself to decide, but regardless, the tweet of the op-ed itself set off a firestorm of responses from millennials who are tired of being painted as irresponsible young people who don't know how to "adult" instead of what they actually are.

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.