All this mom needed for Christmas was a little help. Rapper 2 Chainz delivered. Big time.

Rapper 2 Chainz, seen here rolling on a hoverboard at an awards show, hasn't always had such a sweet life.

Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images for BET.


Growing up poor in Atlanta, Georgia, 2 Chainz (whose real name is Tauheed Epps) knows what it means to struggle. He recounted in a recent Instagram post what it was like to live without hot water and constantly go to bed hungry.

Today Epps is swimming in fame and money. But he hasn't let himself forget where he came from.

When the rapper caught word that Deirdre Plater, a single mother and wounded veteran in Georgia, had been in a tight spot for the past year, he and his charity TRU Foundation showed up big.

On Dec. 5, 2015, 2 Chainz arrived at Deirdre's door with new furniture for her apartment AND the offer to pay her rent for an entire year.

As you can imagine, it caught her off guard.

"I love to see stuff like this happen for other people, but I never thought it would happen to me," she told CBS 46.

For 2 Chainz, new furniture and rent was the least he could do – and proceeds from his Dabbing Santa holiday sweaters are helping to make it happen.

#DabbinSanta started out as a trendy guy but has grown & become a blessing. Not only did he stop eviction for this lady who ser our country and help keep a roof over her sons head but he fully furnished there home!! All of that was made possible by YOU supporting #DabbinSanta Lets keep it going!!! If you know someone in need this holiday please share your stories dabbinsanta@gmail.com
A photo posted by 2 Chainz Aka Tity Boi (@hairweavekiller) on


Deirdre had recently undergone surgery for a military-related injury and had been looking for a job for nearly a year with no luck. The assistance 2 Chainz was able to provide her helps shine a light on the importance of giving back, but it also serves as a reminder of a huge problem many American veterans face today: unemployment.

In fact, veterans face a higher unemployment rate than other Americans and are twice as likely to become chronically homeless. Circumstances that no one, let alone those who defend our freedom, should have to experience.

The stresses that come with chronic poverty and just barely making ends meet are no joke.

A 2013 study suggested that the stress of poverty is the same as pulling an all-nighter every single night, and can drop a person's IQ by 13%. 2 Chainz remembers what it was like:

I remember when we didn't have hot water and I didn't want my friends to know , so I told them it was something wrong with that bathroom and they couldn't use my mommas, i remember using the oven to heat the house , I would stand in the kitchen for hours to stay warm . I remember waiting until the water co. Close at 5 ,so we could use a tool and turn the water back on until 6 am , I remember going to sleep hungry , i remember a long ass extension chord coming from the neighbors house to mine to borrow they're lights ,I remember stealing cable , cars , clothes etc, no matter how much pain I endured I smiled on the outside , it was my defense mechanism. I remember 🙏🏿
A photo posted by 2 Chainz Aka Tity Boi (@hairweavekiller) on


Hopefully, thanks to the generosity, Dierdre will be able to get back on her feet now that she doesn't have to worry about keeping a roof over her family's head.

2 Chainz is also making sure that his kids, who are growing up in very different circumstances, understand the importance of giving back too.

Showing my kids how important it is to give back , when you got it .#TRU
A photo posted by 2 Chainz Aka Tity Boi (@hairweavekiller) on

It's always great to see those with extra giving back and helping others out. Whether it's donating money or time, good deeds can not only put the "happy" in "happy holidays," they can transform lives and future generations.

And really, at the end of the day, it's just the right thing to do.

Check out 2 Chainz visiting Deirdre below (the good part is at 58 seconds):

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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 difference between a politician and a public servant may be a matter of semantics, but when it comes to getting legislation passed that actually helps people, the contrast is stark.

Texas Representative James Talarico is on a mission to get his constituents the life-saving medicine they need. The 31-year-old lawmaker has just introduced legislation that would cap the price of insulin—a medicine people with type 1 diabetes need to live, which has become unaffordable for many—at $50 a month.

The mission is personal for Talarico, as he nearly died three years ago when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

He shared his story on Twitter:

"In May 2018, I was a healthy 28-year-old running for the Texas House. I decided to walk the entire length of my district and hold town halls along the way. I hike Big Bend every year, so I wasn't concerned about a 25 mile walk...

But halfway through the walk, I began feeling nauseous and fatigued. Before the town hall in Hutto, I vomited in the bathroom."

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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