The Giving Keys – Great look, Great story.

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When I stumbled across The Giving Keys the other day, I found myself glued to their site for what felt like hours. I almost burnt my toast. It tells an amazing story of a girl with some serious gumption, endeavoring to do some good in her neighbourhood. Of course, I more than approve, it’s an inspiring wee number, but I might even go so far as to say that I felt pretty challenged. It’s all about sharing the love, you see. Something the majority of us could probably all do a little more of, and I’m now feeling a wee bit excited about. Tell me more, I hear you cry. Oh, go on then. Are you sitting comfortably …

Where the story started

It all kicked off when Caitlin Crosby, an American singer song-writer (you might have heard of her, I am clearly not cool enough to have) turned an old hotel room key into a necklace and had the word LOVE engraved on it. Everyone raved about it so she decided to make a whole bunch of them engraved with different words – HOPE, STRENGTH, COURAGE, FIGHT, BELIEVE, FEARLESS, PEACE, DREAM, FAITH, etc.
- and sell them on her next tour (she’s an entrepreneurial wee cookie). From the stage, she would talk to her audience about embracing their imperfections; that we are all like these keys – unique, flawed, scarred, and at risk of being discarded – asking them to find and wear a key that would remind them that they are one-of-a-kind. It’s a great sentiment. They sold out every night.

Caitlin encouraged them to give their key to someone they felt needed that message. Kind. In doing this, each key became it’s own story and so she started the site, www.theGivingkeys.com, as a place where these stories could be shared.

This wasn’t enough though, she felt something was missing and inspired by the story of Uganda’s Invisible Children, she felt stirred to play her part in some way in making the world a better place. That night she came across a young homeless couple, Cera and Rob, sitting under an umbrella in the rain. She befriended them over dinner and they immediately hit it off. It turns out Cera liked to make her own jewelry too. She decided there and then that they were the ‘missing link’ for her lovely necklace business. She bought them an engraving kit. Over time, after learning the ropes and honing their skills, she gradually handed more and more of the business over to them, with them engraving keys and shipping orders. Before long, they had saved enough money for somewhere to stay and got themselves back into college. Now with their lives on track, they work everyday jobs at the same time as running The Giving Keys (which are now incidentally stocked in over 40 shops across America and are shipped all over the world through online sales). Not a bad result.

        

How the story lives on

Since then, Caitlin’s been able to take on more staff, all trying to transition out of homelessness, just to keep up with the orders, the goal being to get as many people employed and off the street as possible. And knowing that each unique key is being passed on and around the world to people who need a little inspiration, is what keeps driving her on. She likes to call it ‘paying it forward’. On the site, there are reams and reams of stories of people who have been blessed and encouraged by receiving one. Touching.

Your part of the story

Though the giving keys are not yet stocked in the UK, they can be ordered online at www.thegivingkeys.com and shipped anywhere in the world. So go for it, grab yourself a great accessory, help a great cause and make someone’s day when you pass it on. Then share your story on the site and spread a bit of cheer.

It’s a good one, isn’t it?