Hi internet friends! If you missed my first post about The Giving Keys you can check it out here. Today I'm back with an exclusive interview about what the organization is all about! The founder, Caitlin Crosby, is absolutely gorgeous. And apparently she's gorgeous inside and out. I loved getting to know the details of why she is passionate about what she does and how it helps others so much. I purchased my own giving key necklace a while back, Bronson (read Chad) bought me a bracelet for Mother's Day, and I surprised my mom, mother in law and sister with their own keys and words. I love making my gifts count #purchasewithpurpose.
Image of Caitlin by Jasmine Star
So without further ado:
LM - What is Caitlin's background? TGK- Caitlin is an LA native, born and raised in Hollywood, CA. With her father as a manager to many iconic actors and entertainers and her mother a former model and actress, Caitlin naturally went into the entertainment industry herself as an actress and singer/songwriter. But it wasn’t long before Caitlin felt like she wanted to rebel against all the vanity that she saw in the entertainment industry, so she decided to travel across the country and capture pictures of people holding signs that, for example, read:
“My cellulite is hot.” “My acne is sexy.” “My scars saved my life.” “My chemo fried hair is beautiful.” Etc.
She did this for many years, along the way starting an organization alongside actress Brie Larson called Love Your Flawz. This organization was meant to help people with body image issues and encouraged them to embrace what were flaws in the eyes of others. Then, one day while at New York she decided to put her hotel key around her neck and wear it as a necklace. When she was back in Los Angeles, she was passing by a locksmith and decided to go in and ask if she could have the word LOVE engraved on it (in representation for Love Your Flawz). This was when she saw a lot of other cool keys and asked the locksmith, “While you’re at it, why not engrave all of them with different words like COURAGE, STRENGTH, HOPE, etc.” She began carrying these keys with her on her music tours and encouraged people to stop by her merchandise table at the end of the show to pick out a key with a word that they needed to embrace. As her keys began to sell out more than her own CD’s, she realized there was something there. Not wanting The Giving Keys to be for her personal gain, one day as she was walking down Hollywood Blvd, she saw a homeless couple – Rob & Cera – sitting in the rain, under an umbrella, and holding a sign that read “Ugly, Broke & Hungry”. Right there and then, she cancelled all her plans for the night and invited them to dinner. They spent the next few hours swapping stories and getting to know each other, eventually discovering that Cera made jewelry. In that moment, she knew that they were supposed to be her partners. And the very next day they were. It wasn’t long before Rob & Cera were able to afford a hotel room, and then an apartment. Today, The Giving Keys has employed more than 15 transitioning homeless.
LM - What is the meaning behind The Giving Keys, and specifically the word Giving? TGK - The meaning behind The Giving Keys is simple: Creating and spreading HOPE. Not only do we aim at creating hope for people in need of a new start and a job, but also in the symbolic meaning that every key represents -- renewed purpose and HOPE. Every key carries with it a message, a message that is meant to one day be GIVEN away to someone else so that they, too, can find hope within themselves to endure whatever life circumstance they might be going through. By GIVING, the sole purpose of The Giving Keys is to continuously create and spread hope; hope that is not just for ourselves, but for others.
LM - Who makes the beautiful products? TGK - Each Giving Key is engraved by one of our amazing Chrysalis employees – currently Darnell and Mannix. With great workmanship and pride, they engrave each key with honor in knowing that it has the potential to change someone’s life.
LM - What keeps you all motivated each day to continue to do what you do? TKG - Multiple factors keep us motivated to continue doing what we do. One is seeing the positive change and transformation in the lives of our Chrysalis employees. Like seeing them go from not having a place to sleep in, to having a home to call their own. Another is reading all the touching stories that come through to us on our website. The power that the messages on each key hold to give people strength and courage to continue fighting through their battles, alone, makes what we do worth it. Last would definitely be the incredible culture we cultivate. A culture that is warm and welcoming. A culture that aims at creating a place where people feel safe, supported, and loved. A culture that feels like family. We seriously know how to have a good time.
Thank you The Giving Keys for sharing a little of your back story with us!
Cheers to pursuing dreams!