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elf on a shelf, elf on a shelf wheelchair

@stronglikestella on Instagram

Stella was born with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), causing her to need a wheelchair.

When she received her first Barbie, also in a wheelchair, her mother Samantha Lackey saw a spark in her self-esteem, according to Good Morning America.

So as Christmas time rolled in this year, Lackey decided to take a classic holiday tradition and give it a creative, more inclusive spin.

And thus, Bean, Stella’s Elf on the Shelf, became a wheelchair user as well.

With his purple chair and bright pink foot holders, Bean is practically Stella's twin. And having the best time.


Stella and Bean even share the same activities, like rock climbing

Stella regularly climbs the rock wall while at occupational therapy. And with a few craft supplies, Bean climbs too!

Or using a G-tube

Lackey shared on Instagram that Stella has since moved on from her gastronomy tube, but still had some leftover syringes.

Being an elf, Bean, of course, is supplemented with hot cocoa.

And winter time pool parties

So. Many. Floaties.

Just all around embracing the finer things in life

The caption “sELF care Sunday” is just too clever not to share.

Bean also helps Samantha speak up for the disabled community...

Lackey often posts her clever Bean pics alongside informational—and inspiring—captions, like this one:

“Did you know the disabled community makes up 25% of the worlds population. Making it the largest minority group in the world AND one that you can join at any point in your life. We’ve learned how important representation is to raising a daughter with a disability. We’ve also seen how immensely UNDER represented disability really is in our lives. REAL disability, not Drake in a wheelchair (😬) We, as allies need to do better for the generations we’re raising. Normalize disability. Have conversations. Grow relationships. Fight for equal rights and pay. Amplify voices. Focus on mental health.”

...making big topics elf-sized

Lackey shared with GMA that starting a conversation about disability can be overwhelming, especially for parents who never grew up needing to have them. So starting small, with toys and books that better normalize disability, makes the subject easier to approach, both for kids and parents.

It might be a “silly little tradition,” but after seeing the immensely positive impact it has had for Stella, Lackey calls the decision a “no-brainer.”

"We make it a lot harder on ourselves," Lackey told GMA. "If we start with small conversations, whether it be Elf on the Shelf or inclusive toys or a character in a book that they see, or on their favorite TV show, that's just going to help a future generation be inclusive and be kind and be good humans.”

Christmas, 2022?

As for whether or not Lackey plans for Bean to return next Christmas, she’s already let folks on Instagram know that, yes, he will definitely be making a comeback. Perhaps next time, “with pyrotechnics—who knows?”

You can follow Stella, Bean, Samantha, and all their holiday shenanigans on Instagram by following @stronglikestella.

Kristen Bell announces This Saves Lives new partnership with Upworthy.

True

Every day, Upworthy shares stories that spotlight the very best of humanity. But if there’s one cause that unites us all, it’s solving child hunger.

In a recent poll of our followers, we found that child hunger is the issue they care about most. So today, we’re doing something about it. We’ve joined forces with humanitarian snack brand This Saves Lives to end child hunger.

This Saves Lives co-founder, actress Kristen Bell.

This Saves Lives was founded in 2013 with the goal of ending early childhood severe acute malnutrition. Its solution is simple, for every snack you purchase, they give life-saving food to a child in need. This Saves Lives has already donated over 30 million packets of lifesaving food in Haiti, Guatemala, Kenya and beyond. We hope our new partnership works to feed millions more.

“Will you join us? It’s easy and delicious.” — Kristen Bell.

Join us and explore delicious snacks that give back at thissaveslives.com/doinggoodtogether.

A 6-year-old and his dad shared a moment of emotional regulation after a toddler meltdown.

Anyone who has parented a spirited "threenager" knows how hard handling toddler tantrums can be. Parents often joke about our wee ones throwing down, because laughter is sometimes the only way to cope. But in reality, it can be extremely disturbing and distressing for the entire household when a family member carries on in a way that feels—or truly is—out of control.

Major tantrums can be especially hard for parents who didn't have good parenting examples themselves. It takes superhuman patience to be the parents we want to be some days, and none of us does it perfectly all the time. When a child is screaming and crying over something irrational and nothing seems to be working to get them to stop, exhausted parents can lose their cool and respond in ways they normally wouldn't.

That's one reason a TikTok video of a father and son captured in the aftermath of an epic toddler tantrum has caught people's attention. Many of us have been in the dad's shoes before, frazzled and shaken by the relentlessness and intensity of a 3-year-old's meltdown. And many of us have been in the son's shoes as well, witnessing a younger sibling's insanity and our parents' struggle to manage the situation.

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Sponsored

This is the most important van in NYC… and it’s full of socks.

How can socks make such a huge difference? You'd be surprised.

all photos provided by Coalition for The Homeless

Every night, the van delivers nourishment in all kinds of ways to those who need it most

True

Homelessness in New York City has reached its highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Over 50,000 people sleep each night in a shelter, while thousands of others rely on city streets, the subway system and other public locations as spaces to rest.

That’s why this meal (and sock) delivery van is an effective resource for providing aid to those experiencing homelessness in New York City.

Every night of the year, from 7pm to 9:30, the Coalition for the Homeless drives a small fleet of vans to over 25 stops throughout upper and lower Manhattan and in the Bronx. At each stop, adults and families in need can receive a warm meal, a welcoming smile from volunteers, and a fresh, comfy new pair of Bombas socks. Socks may be even more important than you think.

Bombas was founded in 2013 after the discovery that socks were the #1 most requested clothing item at homeless shelters.

Access to fresh, clean socks is often limited for individuals experiencing homelessness—whether someone is living on the street and walking for much of the day, or is unstably housed without reliable access to laundry or storage. And for individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness —expenses might need to be prioritized for more critical needs like food, medication, school supplies, or gas. Used socks can’t be donated to shelters for hygienic reasons, making this important item even more difficult to supply to those who need it the most.

Bombas offers its consumers durable, long-lasting and comfortable socks, and for every pair of Bombas socks purchased, an additional pair of specially-designed socks is donated to organizations supporting those in need, like Coalition for the Homeless. What started out as a simple collaboration with a few organizations and nonprofits to help individuals without housing security has quickly become a bona fide giving movement. Bombas now has approximately 3,500 Giving Partners nationwide.

Though every individual’s experience is unique, there can frequently be an inherent lack of trust of institutions that want to help—making a solution even more challenging to achieve. “I’ve had people reach out when I’m handing them a pair of socks and their hands are shaking and they’re looking around, and they’re wondering ‘why is this person being nice to me?’” Robbi Montoya—director at Dorothy Day House, another Giving Partner—told Bombas.

Donations like socks are a small way to create connection. And they can quickly become something much bigger. Right now over 1,000 people receive clothing and warm food every night, rain or shine, from a Coalition for the Homeless van. That bit of consistent kindness during a time of struggle can help offer the feeling of true support. This type of encouragement is often crucial for organizations to help those take the next difficult steps towards stability.

This philosophy helped Bombas and its abundance of Giving Partners extend their reach beyond New York City. Over 75 million clothing items have been donated to those who need it the most across all 50 states. Over the years Bombas has accumulated all kinds of valuable statistics, information, and highlights from Giving Partners similar to the Coalition for the Homeless vans and Dorothy Day House, which can be found in the Bombas Impact Report.

In the Impact Report, you’ll also find out how to get involved—whether it’s purchasing a pair of Bombas socks to get another item donated, joining a volunteer group, or shifting the conversation around homelessness to prioritize compassion and humanity.

To find out more, visit BeeBetter.com.

Family

A letter to my mother-in-law who spoiled my sons

"It's pointless to dwell on regrets, but I often think about how I had it all wrong. I was so wrong in how I perceived your generosity."

Tina Platamura

This article originally appeared on 04.14.16


You always stole my thunder. You gave them everything they wanted. You never said no when they asked for anything.

Tina Platamura

A second helping of dessert. Candy before dinner. A few more minutes in the bath. Money for the ice cream truck.

I struggled to show you respect and appreciation while trying to make sure you didn't spoil my children. I thought you would turn them into “selfish brats" by giving them everything they wanted. I thought they might never learn to wait, to take turns, to share, because you granted their wishes as soon as they opened their mouths and pointed.

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Education

A dad's hilarious letter to school asks them to explain why they're living in 1968.

"I look forward to this being rectified and my daughter and other girls at the school being returned to this millennium."

This article originally appeared on 12.08.17.


Earlier this week, Stephen Callaghan's daughter Ruby came home from school. When he asked her how her day was, her answer made him raise an eyebrow.

Ruby, who's in the sixth grade at her school in Australia, told her dad that the boys would soon be taken on a field trip to Bunnings (a hardware chain in the area) to learn about construction.

The girls, on the other hand? While the boys were out learning, they would be sent to the library to have their hair and makeup done.

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