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This woman has a must-hear message about having empathy for others.

You may not have gone through what she has, but you almost certainly can relate.

Trigger warning: descriptions of suicidal thoughts and actions.

Nicolle is a teaching artist living in New York. She's also a suicide survivor.

And in a world that attaches so much stigma to people, Nicolle has been vocal in trying to bring awareness to what it's like to battle depression and how stereotypes don't always add up.


She talks about what people think suicidal people are like compared to what many survivors actually feel. In doing so, she helps others identify these disconnects so as to better offer support to those in need.

For her, suicidal thoughts and actions began when she was still in grade school.

"The first [attempt] that really, really, really comes to mind is when I first started cutting, man, at 11 — 10, 11 years old — and not having the courage to go fully ... to really, really, really need severe stitches or anything like that, but really wanting to die," she explained in an interview with Live Through This, adding that when she was 13 she wrote a fresh suicide note every day.

Those feelings were made worse by her classmates' bullying, culminating in suicide attempts and alcohol abuse as she got older.

It was in rehab, however, that Nicolle learned one of the most important lessons any of us can absorb: understanding empathy.

During rehab, she was reluctant to tell her story. What others were saying felt to her to be so much darker than what she experienced, so she kept quiet. One day, another woman offered some advice, telling Nicolle that even if the two hadn't experienced the same things in life, it's the human connection between them that allows the two to connect, to understand, to empathize.

That fresh understanding of empathy would come to help her for the rest of her life.

She's no longer suicidal, so why does she keep revisiting memories of the bad times? To keep moving forward.

It's through keeping a slight focus on her past — the good and the bad — that allows her to be the person she is today. Life is growth, and if we ignore how we got here, we're not truly living, she says.

It was music that helped her get through some of the toughest times, and now she's using it to help others.

After moving to New York in 2006, Nicolle volunteered at arts-based programs geared toward at-risk youth. In 2013, she teamed up with Polaris Project, a group that helps survivors of human trafficking. Using her strength as a singer to help others, Nicolle is making the world a better place.

Glad you're still with us, Nicolle.

Watch Nicolle's story below:

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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