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simpsons mr. bergstrom, simpsons substitute scene

Still one of the most emotional Simpsons scenes.

"The Simpsons" has been around for nearly 40 years, and amid the juvenile humor (cue the “eat my shorts” line), this show expertly weaves in some truly valuable life lessons.

No better example than this clip from Season 2, Episode 19: Lisa’s Substitute.

You Are Lisa Simpson (The Simpsons)www.youtube.com

For those who aren’t familiar with the show or its characters … First off, how is that possible? Second, Lisa Simpson is a young girl often ostracized for her intelligence and passion, both at school and at home. That is, until she meets substitute teacher Mr. Bergstrom.

Mr. Bergstrom offers innovative and fun learning methods, which challenge and inspire Lisa. And for the first time ever, this precocious child is appreciated for who she is, feeling a little less alone in her environment. It’s sort of easy to see how Lisa develops a bit of a crush.


This episode came out three decades ago, and yet still perfectly encapsulates the immense value that substitute teachers bring. Even though they grace the classroom for a brief time, they can make a huge difference in a student’s life. Whether they’re assigned to a school for a day or for a month, substitute teachers ensure quality education, having enough enthusiasm to ignite a love of learning in students they only just met. Or, in Lisa’s case, acknowledge and nurture gifts that are already there.

why substitutes are important

Season 2 Janey Powell GIF by The Simpsons.

Giphy

Like Mr. Bergstrom, who dons a cowboy costume to help with a history lesson, substitute teachers have to be creative in their lesson plans. Not to mention multitalented to handle a variety of subjects. As Mr. Bergstrom tells Lisa: “It’s the life of a substitute teacher. Today he might be wearing gym shorts. Tomorrow he’s speaking French. Or pretending to know how to run a band saw.”

And yet, all good things must come to an end. No matter the impact, all substitutes must eventually leave. As does Mr. Bergstrom, who is off to help kids in the projects of Capital City … those who “need it more.”

Devastated to lose her newfound mentor, Lisa chases Mr. Bergstrom to his departing train.

“Were you just gonna leave? Just like that? You’re the best teacher I’ll ever have,” she says through tears. You can hear the pain in her voice. She’s back to being all alone.

That’s when Mr. Bergstrom hands Lisa a piece of paper before bidding her farewell, telling her “whenever you feel like there’s nobody you can rely on, this is all you need to know.” And it’s the best parting gift he could have given.

value of substitute teachers

Season 2 Mr Bergstrom GIF by The Simpsons.

Giphy

The note has a simple, yet profound message.

“You are Lisa Simpson.”

Anyone who’s ever felt misunderstood or undervalued might spend their whole life trying to learn this—they are enough. The fact that it was taught by practically a stranger makes it all the more powerful.

There are so many Mr. Bergstroms out there, who support students and help them grow into their full potential, in ways both big and small. With a note, with a kind word, a meaningful teaching style or with simply being there. Though it’s heartbreaking to say goodbye, the connections substitute teachers create leave the world a better place. They are a gift.

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.

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