Things That Matter

These Government Aid Programs Exist For You To Use Because Your Tax Dollars Pay For Them

@PDHScounseling / Twitter

There is a multitude of government aid programs that are part of what makes America great. We pay taxes specifically to create government (one that provides equity for all).

Before we dive into the programs, you should know that receiving government aid is far more common than you think. In 2012, more than 1 in 4 Americans benefitted from some kind of government assistance. When you look at the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 analysis of Latinos specifically, you’ll find that about 36 percent of Latinos participate in government aid. Now, here are some programs you might be unaware of but pay taxes to keep them going.

These programs are here for you, paid by you.

CREDIT: @TimGurung / Twitter

While President Trump claims that reliance on welfare “is out of control,” it has actually drastically declined since 1996, and the vast majority of recipients are children. If you’re reading this, we know you’re not a child and that you’re entitled to programs that make life more equitable.

1. American Music Abroad Program

CREDIT: @IndieWire / Twitter

That’s right. Your music group could be eligible to “foster cross-cultural communication with global audiences.” You’ll never know if you don’t find out.

2. Cell Biology and Biophysics Research and Research Training

CREDIT: @CamBiochem / Twitter

If you’re one of those brainy, bioscience people, then The Division of Cell Biology and Biophysics might sponsor you to conduct research to prevent, treat and cure diseases that come about from disturbed or abnormal cellular activity. Serve your country with sicence.

3. The Lifeline Program

CREDIT: @onthehoneyy / Twitter

Lifeline is an income-based program, so if you’re stretched thin, you might be eligible for discounted landline or cell phone services. Take what’s yours. The world is vastly connected through technology and lacking technology is the fastest way to be left behind.

4. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

CREDIT: @heating_guide / Twitter

There is simply no reason to go cold during cold snaps or sweat your physical energy away during heat waves because of costs. This program issues grants from the Department of Health and Human Services to help heat or cool your home.

5. Unclaimed.org

CREDIT: @BirchwoodInvest / Twitter

Don’t think of this as free money. It’s money that’s literally owed to you, that is turned over to the state when you can’t be found. Moved recently? You might have a forgotten deposit paid to a utility company or uncashed paycheck waiting for you to claim it at unclaimed.org

6. American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) Leadership Development Programs

CREDIT: @thehill / Twitter

Ok, I’m not saying that ACYPL put Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the map, but you could be the next AOC thanks to ACYPL. Participants are offered leadership training, international relations education, and the connections you need to become an up-and-coming global leader and policy maker.

7. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

CREDIT: @LouisianaDCFS / Twitter

SNAP is the largest federal nutrition assistance program and provides benefits to low-income folks with something that functions as an actual debit card. Whether you’re in the Los Angeles living struggle bus to pay rent, work at an underpaying non-profit or just have found yourself in a pinch, don’t pinch pennies around your health and nutrition. SNAP is here for you.

8. Identity Protection

CREDIT: @hurlinspiel / Twitter

Dwight’s right, which is why the U.S. government created the Identity Protection Program. When your name, Social Security Number is stolen, the IPP will resolve the crime and case for you.

9. The Child Care and Development Fund

CREDIT: @HoneyTWilton / Twitter

Child care is a growing, crippling cost for dual-income households. This fund gives states, territories and tribes money to distribute to low-income families to help pay for the child care of your choice. Just find the Child Care and Development Fund contact for your state.

10. Disaster Legal Services

CREDIT: @LucyWicken / Twitter

DLS offers legal assistance to low-income individuals who have been affected by a presidentially declared major disaster. Boricuas, this is for you.

This legal advice can help with insurance claims for doctor and hospital bills, property loss, home repair, and beef with your landlord.

11. Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program

CREDIT: SUPER BOWL WHATEVER GIF BY AMAZON / GIPHY

At the same time, communities affected by disaster desperately need crisis counseling. Puerto Rico, I see you. The CCP can train you to become a crisis counselor or offer access to one. Just call 1-800-621-FEMA.

12. Education Grants

CREDIT: @insidehighered / Twitter

College grants are goldmines for access to higher education, and an obvious choice for anyone without half a million dollars to drop on an education. Some major grants include:

  • The Pell Grant
  • The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
  • The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant
  • The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

Here’s how to get those grants.

13. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

CREDIT: @PDHScounseling / Twitter

We all know what FAFSA is, and there is no shame in using the federal student aid program to be able to afford outrageously expensive college tuition. Why let there be shame in any other aid program usage?

14. American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC)

CREDIT: @KTLA / Twitter

The AOTC will help reduce your tax obligations on expenses paid for the first four years of education post-high school. You can get an annual credit of $2,500 and even $1,000 refunded by the IRS if you owe no taxes. 👍

15. Job Accommodation Network (JAN)

CREDIT: @agentyoo / Twitter

You’re done with school and in the workforce, congrats. JAN offers free expert assistance to employees and employers who require workplace accommodations for a disability or health-related issues.

Got terrible endometriosis coupled with debilitating cramps? I feel you, and JAN can tell you what you need to be acknowledged fairly by your employer for sick time.

16. Housing Counseling Assistance Program

CREDIT: @JonathanREdwar1 / Twitter

Most millennials aren’t even financially able to own a home, let alone pay an accountant for their expensive services. the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds housing counseling agencies across the country that will offer up advice on buying, renting, foreclosing, and more…for free.

17. Property Improvement Loan Insurance

CREDIT: @ArgoDevelopment / Twitter

According to our government, “The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) makes it easier for consumers to obtain affordable home improvement loans by insuring loans made by private lenders to improve properties that meet certain requirements. Lending institutions make loans from their own funds to eligible borrowers to finance these improvements.”

18. Health Insurance

CREDIT: @BoostHLTH / Twitter

Last but certainly not least is Obama’s parting gift to Americans: health insurance. Healthcare.gov will guide you on how to find affordable coverage that’s right for you.

You can find out what other benefits you’re eligible for at benefits.gov.

CREDIT: @OaklandResearch / Twitter

There, you can fill out a questionnaire that will generate a list of federal programs that you may be eligible for. I filled it out myself and found out I was eligible for 20+ programs.


READ: DREAMer Gets Hate After Telling The Internet ‘Undocumented Immigrants Pay Taxes Too’

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13 Lessons From Jefas On How To Make Your Business More Instagrammable

Entertainment

13 Lessons From Jefas On How To Make Your Business More Instagrammable

Anyone can create an Instagram account, but only a few can sustain a coherent online presence and narrative. From individuals to companies, everyone is trying to find the golden rule of social media. We have found 17 Jefas from around the world who totally slay their Insta game and used the platform to grow their businesses. They have created authentic brands around their personas that both wannabe influencers and established companies can learn from.

1. Thou shall keep thy color palette constant.

Credit: @ameliagoldie / Instagram

Amelia Goldie is an Australian Instagrammer who has sustained a black-white-red color palette throughout the year and has become a real influencer in terms of fashion and style. Her slightly French quirkiness also makes her approachable. She is also honest about her personal struggles with mental health, making her approachable.

2. Thou shall repeat: “Fun is queen”

Credit: @kidjess / Instagram

In the old days of mass media people would say that “content is king.” Well, in the age of social media, when there are so many channels to be entertained by, good old simple fun goes a long way. @kidjess knows it and is supported by almost half a million followers. She is quirky and has a cute aesthetic that is always on brand.

3. Thou shall stay true to yourself, yes Ivon!

Credit: @bonboncherie / Instahram

We love this Latina jefat hat has gotten quite a following by being herself: a proud Latina mom. She describes herself as a wife and full-time mom and a Mexican-American blogger from California. She is not trying to pretend she is a gringa: her aesthetics scream latinidadeverywhere!

4. Thou shall scream: “B for Brown and Beautiful”

Credit: Instagram. @naturallykimmy

Kimberly Gomez is a gorgeous jefa from the Dominican Republic who is a proud representative of her ethnicity, she wears her Browness on her sleeve and we applaud her for that. Standards of beauty won’t stop being Anglo territory only if influencers AND brands don’t start exalting Brown and Black hermosura.

5. Thou shall take us on your creative journey

Credit: Instagram. @valerush

Valeria Gascon is a Mexican illustrator and academic who takes us on her creative and emotional journey as she expands her “fantasmitas” series, her flower girl series, and she studies her Ph.D. in Glasgow, Scotland. Her Insta is a delicia full of music, literature, plants, and nostalgia. Moraleja: whatever your brand does, take your audience on a ride.

6. Thou shall remain sencillita, no matter how big you are

Credit: Instagram. @anadelareguera

Ana De La Reguera is one of the best and most famous Mexican actresses of her generation. She has broken into Hollywood as well and she is basically a Mexican Meryl Streep in the making. But she has enough time and self-confidence to post pictures like the one in the upper left corner: look at her foodgasm eating that taco. No matter how big you or your brand are: humble is best, always. She wears her wrinkles with pride, para rematar!

7. Thou shall showcase the woman behind the product

Credit: Instagram. @brunelda_

Online presence is all about people. Brands that remain stale, faceless, are bound to have a boring and just meh online presence. Follow the example of Carmen Bruna, who owns a company of gorgeous invitations and other products featuring her watercolor illustrations. Her feed is a perfect mix of personal and professional content. If you are a brand, creating an attachment between the production process and the customer surely translated into loyalty.

8. Thou shall know that sometimes less is more 

Credit: Instagram. @nerya_yeger

Nerya Yeger is a fitness and vegan influencer who curates a gorgeous Insta feed in which she mixes motivational messages, art, and selfies. We love all the blank space in her feed. The white is a welcome relief in a sea of oversaturated images. La elegancia es lo que cuenta. Don’t you just love that illustration of Frida blowing a bubble gum? We can only imagine the impeccable taste with which her house must be decorated! Jealous!

9. Thou shall recommend a healthy lifestyle, but not be preachy, no suenen como madre enojada

Credit: Instagram. @lacoctelhera

Instagram is full of influencers who try to tell followers how to leave their lives, and to be honest that is not good branding. What is good branding is showing rather than telling, making healthy choices look fun and something you would actually wanna try. That is what @lacoctelhera does: just look at those colorful shots of food and the smile that this Spanish jefa has on her face, like all the time. Also, fluffy animals are engaging whatever your business is!

10. Thou shall sometimes do ONE thing, and do it REALLY WELL

Credit: Instagram. @succulent_heaven

Karen is a succulent lover and grower who curates a super appealing feed featuring the favorite houseplants of the millennial generation, full with tips, info on different species and photographs that frankly make us feel relaxed. Moraleja: sometimes diversifying your brand is not the best move. Do one thing and do it lo mejor que puedas. After scrolling through this feed we bet you will buy a pot, a small succulent…. and then you will have a new collection.

11. Thou shall give your fans/customers the place they deserve

Credit: Instagram. @lupitanyongo

Lupita Nyong’o is one of the biggest actresses in Hollywood. She has won an Oscar, acted in Jordan Peele’s “Us”, and been part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Will all of this going on, she makes the effort to share fanart made for her by followers. Can you imagine the smile on the fans face when seeing the art Lupita shared? Y’all know she was born in Mexico, right? And that she holds a Mexican passport? Social media has made celebrities more approachable, but only a few are like Lupita: whatever she posts feels authentic, unredacted and from the heart. Lupita, hermana, eres mexicana! 

12. Thou shall create a unique and irreplaceable style

Credit: Instagram. @margaretzhang

Margaret Zhang is a Chinese-Australian fashion powerhouse who has made a name for herself in the upper echelons of the industry. She is an art director for top brands and has moved permanently to New York. Her style is a combination of French chic and the visual aesthetics of Asian filmmakers such as Wong Kar-Wai (by the way, Quentin Tarantino’s hero). The takeaway: be like her, strive to find a unique style that can be translated into different media. Anything can be relevant, even a plate of food, if presented in a way that adds to a coherent visual and emotional narrative.

13. Thou shall deliver on your promise

Credit: Instagram. @nomvelo.c

Nomvelo Chalumbria is a South African young woman who defines herself as a globe trotter. And she delivers: her Insta is full of pictures from around the world, but also of the amazing original owners of what is now South Africa. She seems to always have her feet on a plane and one foot at home but firmly grounded in her cultural roots. Do yourself a favor and follow her for her bubbly personality.

The Trump Administration Has Managed To Find $150k To Spend On Painting Part Of The Border Wall To Make It Prettier

Things That Matter

The Trump Administration Has Managed To Find $150k To Spend On Painting Part Of The Border Wall To Make It Prettier

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston / Flickr

President Donald Trump’s border wall is slowly, but evidently under construction. Despite not having full funding for his entire project, there are some developments underway — even if those endeavors are by private citizens.

True to form, Trump doesn’t just want any old wall. The grandiose president with real estate all over the world has a certain aesthetic he’d like to keep up, even if the intent is to keep those Latinos out.

The Trump administration is planning to spend your tax money to paint the border wall, so it’s prettier.

Credit: @RAICESTEXAS / Twitter

Sen. Dick Durbin tweeted, “DHS informed Congress today that troops are going to spend the next month painting the border wall & “the primary purpose is to improve the aesthetic appearance.” A disgraceful misuse of taxpayer $$. Our military has more important work to do than making Trump’s wall beautiful.”

As we already know, Mexico is not paying for the wall, and now there’s extra money going toward making it look nice?

Credit: @gabrielmalor / Twitter

According to CBS News, they got the confirmation by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that the “Department of Defense was asked to conduct the ‘application’ of the paint, with CBP financing the paint and ‘associated materials.’ The estimated cost of the paint and equipment is approximately $150,000, the official added.”

The Pentagon said that “100 Active Duty Engineer personnel” will be in charge of painting the wall with “anti-climbing” coat.

Credit: @B52Malmet / Twitter

CNN is reporting that the paint will have an “anti-climbing” coat, but what in the hell does that mean? Will the wall be slippery, or perhaps if people try to climb it, they will stick to the wall, so it’s easier for agents to catch them? Who knows! The new paint will be applied on the wall of the Calexico West port of entry.

READ: Congress Won’t Let Trump Build His Border Wall So A Group Of Citizens Spent $22 Million To Build An Illegal Wall In New Mexico

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