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Marty Burbank was going to buy a sailboat.

He and his wife, Seon Chun-Burbank, have done well. The couple were the first in their families to go to college. Now, Marty is a Navy veteran and works as an elder care attorney. Seon is a college professor. The couple love the water and even tied the knot on a yacht.

Why not enjoy the spoils of their hard work and set their sights on the high seas?


Marty Burbank and Seon Chun-Burbank on their wedding day. Image via NBC News/YouTube.

But instead of buying a boat, the Burbanks decided to invest in their community.

Through church, the couple met Tessa Ashton, a kindergarten teacher at Rio Vista Elementary who was working with a classroom of English-language learners. For the past four years, Marty has volunteered and donated supplies and money to the Anaheim, California, elementary school and its teachers.

Image via NBC News/YouTube.

After hearing a sermon about charity, they crunched the numbers, and the choice was clear.

"For the cost of buying a boat and the maintenance and the storage over the next 12 years, I can put these kids through school, and that seemed like a better investment,"Burbank told local news channel FOX 11.

And that's exactly what they did.

The couple pledged to pay for two years of community college and two years at a California state university, or the equivalent amount, for all 26 of Ashton's kindergarten students.

To receive the funds, each child has to complete a drawing or essay each year about what going to college means for their future and their family.

Image via NBC News/YouTube.

The price tag for the project is around $1 million.

For the Burbanks, it means delaying retirement and sticking to dry land a little longer.

"They say give until it hurts a little, and this hurts. But we feel it's the best investment we could make," he told CNN.

The Burbanks also gave each student an Indiana University shirt. It's Ashton's alma mater, and the school that the students discuss on "College Fridays." Image via NBC News/YouTube.

For the parents and families of the students, this announcement opens a world of possibilities.

But it shouldn't have taken an extreme act of kindness to make it happen.

Despite an increase in federal student aid and school scholarships, the proportion of recent high school graduates from low-income families who enroll in post-secondary programs has dropped significantly over the last eight years.

In 2013, 45.5% of low-income students enrolled in college, as opposed to 78.5% of students from high-income families.

Image via NBC News/YouTube.

While tuition plays a role, the net price (the grand total students actually pay, think fees, supplies, tuition) at two-year schools has actually decreased over the years, and has increased modestly at four-year institutions. But the perceived cost of college may be enough to keep some students from even pursuing the option.

So while this offer is life-changing and incredibly generous, it's not a silver bullet.

Marty never intended for the story to make national, or even local news, but now that it has, he's hoping to inspire others.

While most people can't afford to send a class of students to college (cough, cough, Michael Scott), those with and without means can donate supplies, resources, and their time to support kids in need. Whether you're donating a million bucks or 30 minutes of your time, every little bit helps.

Here's to the class of 2028, now the university-graduating class of 2032!

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GIF via NBC News/YouTube.

See the kids in action and hear the Burbanks' story in this video from NBC News.

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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