"The Giving Keys exists to employ those transitioning out of homelessness to make jewelry out of repurposed keys that get sold and shared around the world. Each key is unique and carries a message like HOPE, STRENGTH, DREAM or COURAGE. When the wearer of the key encounters someone else who needs the message on the key, they give it away and then send us the story of their key being paid forward."
Keys...though similar in appearance, each one created unique, each key given the unique ability to unlock an individual door of its own. You know the feeling...of inserting the wrong key into the front door of your house when it's just too dark to see which of the 25 keys on your key ring will fit into that tiny little hole. You may not be able to see which key will unlock that door, but you know that key is your possession. Every key designed to fit one mold, to unlock one door, to give the key holder the ability to open that door, walk through and enter in to what lies ahead. A simple key is the determinate which allows you to start your car or walk into the haven of your home after a long day. When you are given the keys to your new home, you are met with a feeling of pride, accomplishment and ownership. That home is yours, you can come and go as you please, you hold the key in your possession. This key signifies hope, an opportunity to enter in, to transition in to what lies behind the front door, into what lies ahead.
The Giving Keys is making a way for individuals experiencing homelessness through the simple act of creating hope through a key...not a key which necessarily unlocks a specific physical door, but a key which unlocks the door to hope and freedom. This key, which would have otherwise been discarded, thrown out, and deemed to be worthless, is unlocking stories of healing, redemption and transformation. By engraving these old keys with inspirational words, The Giving Keys is making something new out of the old. By giving purpose to an old key, founder Caitlin Crosby realized that, 'we are all like these keys-unique, flawed, scarred, and at risk of being discarded.' Her hope is that these keys will find new purpose, with each new holder or wearer of these key necklaces. The message engraved on the key is yours for a time, but once this message has served its purpose with you, you must pay it forward, you must with this key, inspire another. We have been given hope to extend hope to another.
As the business has developed, The Giving Keys has since partnered with the United Way and PATH, a transitional home in Los Angeles. Their partnerships with local transitional facilities have helped them build their team which has employed 13 individuals experiencing homelessness. Through employment with The Giving Keys, these individuals have been given the opportunity to attain sustainable housing. They also partner with Chrysalis which assists in referring employees. Chrysalis is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals by providing the resources and support needed to find and retain employment.
The model of The Giving Keys is truly empowering individuals to make positive change in their lives. Through the small act of a stamp and a key those who may have otherwise lost hope are being given hope through the opportunity to create beauty from nothing. As the recipient of a Giving Key myself not too long ago, I held the message of 'love' close for a time, but have since then given that message away. The message was not for me to keep, it was for me to hear, believe and give away. Just like our possessions, it is what we hold with open hands which we truly possess. It is that message which we feel little ownership of, which we have been given as a gift, which we are able to so freely give away to someone else in need.
Each key sold is hand stamped by someone who has been there, who has experienced darkness and thought they would never see the other side. This is a picture of the full circle. Through your purchase of a Giving Key, you are not only making a way for those individuals to accomplish their dreams, but you are entering into their journey, making a way. By wearing the key, you are a part of a story, which was never meant to be about you, a story which you were meant to contribute to. The hope is that you might keep your eyes peeled to where you may enter in to the story of another. Because you know the feeling, when it's just too dark to recognize which key will unlock the front door, it can be easy to want to give up. The comfort in knowing that you hold in your possession that key which has the ability to unlock the door gives you the strength you need to never give up. There is hope in knowing that you are capable and have the ability to unlock the door and walk through with confidence that you can accomplish your dreams.
Order a Giving Key today, or find a local retailer! Enter in, be a part of empowering someone to unlock their door to freedom, hope and a brighter tomorrow. Don't get too attached to your purchase, you never know when someone else might need the message you are carrying more than you.