I received one of the nicest gifts I have ever gotten last week. I was in LA for a workshop with my dream mentor (my term for her). While I was there, I was invited to spend the afternoon visiting and touring The Giving Keys. They have set-up an incredibly inspiring studio in the Arts District and it was such an honour to get to see the space where brilliance is created.
I have been selling The Giving Keys since I opened Giving Gifts as an online store 7 years ago. I was one of their first retailers in Canada! They are one of the reasons I believe so strongly that we can "buy the change we want to see in the world." The Giving Keys are old keys that are engraved by people transitioning out of homelessness - they work with local agencies in LA and employ up to 70 people at a time. The Giving Keys is located 2 blocks from Skid Row so they have given a real opportunity to so many people in their immediate area. The keys are engraved with worlds like: FEARLESS and STRENGTH and LOVE and HOPE and BRAVE and BELIEVE and INSPIRE and my personal favourite DREAM. The beauty of the keys is that they are meant to be passed on when someone needs the word on the key more than you do. As they say, embrace your word and then inspire others. The stories on The Giving Keys website are amazing. There are stories of people taking their keys off and giving them to the person sitting next to them on a flight because they were so moved by their life story. There are stories of people giving the keys to cancer survivors and those that are grieving due to the loss of a partner. There are stories of people giving them to kids going off to university, to parents going through divorce and to complete strangers. The stories speak to the heartbreak and the inspiration to be found in being alive.
I have always been in awe of the incredible businesses I get to work with, but spending an afternoon in such an inspiring space and meeting the people that are creating this beauty was a life changing experience. It was also a chance to reconfirm that we really can make a difference in the world through our purchases!
I got a very tangible gift from my afternoon spent at The Giving Keys. Darnell, one of the engravers, asked me a series of questions about myself, including my favourite colour and what I do for a living and my favourite music and then he engraved a personalized key made just for me. My key makes me smile every time I wear it. It says GLORY DAYZ - as Darnell said "these are your glory days and there is a nod to Bruce Springsteen there." These are the glory days! They lie ahead of me as I keep working towards my dreams and goals. I am deeply in love with my key and will hold it close. Of course, when the time comes to pass it along to someone else who needs to smile and believe, I'll happily do so knowing that my special key will be just as inspiring to someone else as it is to me.
Are you looking for a special gift? A gift that will hold so much meaning and have the power to bring hope and courage? Are you looking for a gift for yourself that has incredible significance? Are you looking to make a difference in our world? It's simple - an old key, a special message and a lot of people who put their hearts and souls into making our world a better place one key at a time.
Thanks for Giving Gifts! Lisa