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Mom Crystal Kells says her son Cian asked to try on one of her dresses when he was only 4 years old.

All photos by Kells' Natural Photography, used with permission

Cian loved it so much, he soon started begging her for a dress of his own.


From there, it simply turned into something her now 5-year-old son liked to do: Wear dresses.

"I was a little worried about him getting teased," Kells said in a message, "but quickly realized that Cian was going to base how he should react from me. So, I made sure I was confident and indifferent about it."

When Kells, a photographer, started snapping photos of Cian in his favorite dresses, the internet fell in love.

And why wouldn't they? The pictures are breathtaking.

At first, she only shared the photos on her Facebook and Instagram pages, where the response was small but supportive.

This past week, though, she wrote a powerful column explaining her decision to let Cian wear what he wants and to show her beautiful son off to the world.

"This is my son Cian and he loves to wear dresses," she wrote. "We’ve never taught it to him 'This is for girls and this is for boys' and we never will."

As far as she knows, Cian isn't gay, queer, or transgender. He just sees beyond what society says is "OK" for boys to do and wear.

She also wrote that she and Cian's father will support Cian however his gender manifests itself down the road:

"The most important thing to us is the health and happiness of our son."

"I want my son to grow up knowing he has a voice," she wrote. "Grow up knowing he can do and be anything he wants to be in this world."

The boost in exposure brought with it some extra criticism, Kells says. But for every critic, she gets an email from a parent who's going through something similar with their own child.

The support has been pouring into her inbox since the photos went viral, with a heartwarmingly large amount of people seeing something more than just a boy in a dress:

They see a happy kid.

For now, that's enough. She can't predict how Cian will choose to express himself weeks from now, let alone years. She has no idea if he'll continue to wear dresses as he gets older.

She hopes they'll be able to raise him not to regret the choices that brought him genuine joy.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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