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The Word is the Key

During mental health awareness month this May, brighten up someone’s day with a Giving Key from Miyamo.

During mental health awareness month this May, brighten up someone’s day, or your own, with a simple word. The Giving Keys at Miyamo boutique store in the Parkview Village shopping center are more than just precious reminders. They are made by men and women transitioning out of homelessness in Los Angeles. With a purchase of a “giving key,” you give an employment opportunity for homeless people, but the buck doesn’t stop there.

“What you’re supposed to do is find a word that means something to you, or the person you’re giving it to, and eventually, they are supposed to pass it on to someone who they think needs it more. It’s like a pay-it-forward gesture,” said Miyamo manager Kyle Montooth.

These keys are one of many items sold at Miyamo that have a purpose behind the purchase — candles that feed a child for a day, baby toys and clothes that donate a meal to a child, items that go towards helping veterans and women’s charities, and items that help inner-city college students supplement their tuition are also available.

The giving keys help create social awareness, and Montooth’s own experience with The Giving Keys illustrates this exact point. When hiking the 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail from the Mexican border to the Canadian border, Montooth journeyed with the key engraved “PCT” for Pacific Crest Trail.

“I befriended someone while on the trail who hurt their hand really bad, and they were thinking of going home,” Montooth said. “She was going to go back home to Norway and she was super bummed, so I gave her the key and I told her to stick with it. She needed the key more than I did at that point. She ended up finishing the trail and sending me an email later thanking me and telling me how much it encouraged her.”

Montooth’s mom, the owner of Miyamo, put aside a key that was labeled with the word “breathe” for a customer whose child has autism, as a gentle reminder to the woman when she feels stressed out.

“My mom says this is for you, just breathe, everything is going to be cool,” Montooth said to the customer as he gave her the key. “She cried,” Montooth said. “It’s cool how these keys can actually touch people. In the right situation, the right word can mean a lot to somebody.”

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