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7-year-old's sweet LEGO gesture for his military dad turns into beautiful viral moment
via Travis Akers / Twitter

A tweet thread by Travis Akers, a Navy Lieutenant with 17 years of service, is going viral because it shows just how sweet children can be and also points to an overlooked issue facing military families.

In the early morning of April 12, Akers tweeted a photo of himself and his seven-year-old son Tanner who he affectionately calls "Munchie." Akers was moved because his son set his alarm clock so he could get up early enough to hand him a pocket full of Legos before work.

Tanner wanted to be sure his father had something to play with at the Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida. "This was my daily morning trip to base, departing my house at six am for work," Akers told Upworthy.



Akers followed up the tweet with a photo of his son from seven years ago showing just how quickly they grow. "This picture just popped up in my Facebook memories - It's him seven years ago today," he wrote. "Don't blink."

via Travis Akers / Twitter

Akers made a ship out of the Legos his son gave him and it looks a lot like the vessel behind him, right? Akers told Upworthy that he named his new Lego ship the USS Munchie, after his son. he plans on keeping it on his desk at work.

via Travis Aklers / Twitter

The Lieutenant sent a photo to his wife for Tanner to see. Akers' wife said the photo of the Lego ship put a "very big smile" on the child's face and he was "surprised" he actually kept it on his desk.

The sweet gesture by brought a lot of joy to people on Twitter.

However, Tanner's gesture was about more than just keeping his dad happy at work. Akers is preparing to depart for a one-year deployment in a month. "The reality is beginning to set in with him, so he has been wanting to spend a lot of extra time with me and has become very emotional and sentimental over the previous few weeks," Akers said.

A study by Clinical Neuroscience on the impact that military deployment has on children says they often have problems with "sleeping, higher stress levels, and anxiety, declining grades, an increase in maladaptive child behaviors."

Even though time away from the family is hard, Akers has some advice for families to make it easier for them to be apart.

"Technology has done so much for families who are separated during deployments and missions, especially with Facetime and Skype. I recommend parents try to call or Facetime with their children once a day if able," he said.

"Also, do things that are special for your kids, such as recording videos of you reading their favorite books or singing their favorite songs. Write them actual letters, not just emails. The power of a real letter in the mail is astronomical," Akers continued.

The Lieutenant hopes that his new Lego ship will help his son feel better about him being away.

"Something I will be doing on my upcoming deployment is taking the USS Munchie with me and sending him photos of it in various locations from where I will be deployed. Parents can do something similar with a stuffed animal or special toy," Akers said.

Tanner's beautiful gesture comes at a time when the Department of Defense is highlighting the sacrifices made by the children of those who serve our country. April is the Month of the Military Child.

"While people are quick to thank members of the military for their service, we often forget the sacrifices that families make, especially our children," Akers said. "Remember them this month and what they are giving up so that their mom or dad can carry out the duties of protecting our country."

DoDEA Month of the Military Child - April 2021www.youtube.com

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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This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

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