Courage. Inspire. Fearless. Chosen.

I am the managing editor for a local magazine and I chose to share my story in my editor’s note in our June 2012 issue of Point of Vue magazine.


There’s a company in California that engraves old keys with words. The words engraved on the keys are words that company owner Caitlin Crosby felt were meaningful for her friends and family. One day in Hollywood, Caitlin came across a homeless couple, Cera and Rob, looking for work to provide for their family. She talked with them and made them her business partners. They started engraving words like “Love,” “Faith” and “Hope” with a message to live these ideals and, in time, pay it forward by giving your key to someone else who needs the message. Thus, the Giving Keys were born.

Such a simple concept—wear your word until you come across someone who needs it more than you do, then pass it on.

The first key I chose had the word “Strength” on it. The meaning behind the word on the key, for me, was simple. Every now and then, we need to be reminded of how strong we are. Sometimes we need to dig deep to find our strength. I had this key for a very short period of time before I realized I knew someone who, at that very moment, needed that message more than I did. So I put the key in an envelope and passed it on.

The second key I chose to wear around my neck was engraved with the word “Believe.”

From the beginning, there was something about this key that made it completely different than the first one. This key is old, tarnished, rusted and oddly shaped. I’m not sure what a key like this would even unlock—I imagine an old truck or beloved lockbox that contained precious keepsakes. The letters on this key are more subtle, even hard to read.

Believe. To me, this key stands for something that you must find within yourself to accept as true and genuine. To form your opinions and hold them high. To have faith. It’s more than the simplicity to believe in yourself, but to believe in what is true and honest in others as well.

The charm of the key is that is means something different to each person who sees it. While I may not find the need to pass this key on as quickly, I hope others that see my key will take something from the message it bears.
In my endless search for things to help me procrastinate, I have thought of other words that mean something to me that I would proudly wear if my current key finds its way to a new owner.

Courage. Inspire. Fearless. Chosen.

If you could choose a word to represent the ideals that you wish to share with others, what would it be?

– Mary Downer is the Managing Editor of PoV. She believes that two people can look at the same exact thing and each see something different.

PS- Since this story ran in June 2012, I have purchased a second key engraved with the words “Let Go”

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