Has Wings
She Has WINGS!
Clara Pilley

Ten-year-old Clara Pilley of Mount Pleasant is on a mission. With the help of her friends and the community, she hopes to have the key to help end homelessness in the Lowcountry. Her idea has soared into a heart-felt movement called Keys for Hope that has not only caught our attention, but is gaining national recognition.

With her mother having been on the board of Crisis Ministries for 7 years, philanthropy has come naturally to Clara, as has her passion for helping the homeless. Like the line of our WINGS Creed, Clara has really stepped into others' shoes to see what they are going through, and she decided to help.

Too young to meet Crisis Ministries' volunteer age minimum of 14, the goal became to find a way to raise the $1 million needed to complete a new shelter. "We needed an idea because we thought, 'We can't just ask people for money,' " Clara said. "We needed to sell something and give them something in return." One day in a craft store, the idea came: decorated keys, which "symbolize shelter and hope."

The group -- which also includes Ellie Shuck (10), Emma-Grace Spach (10), Natalie Shuck (8), and Olivia Estoppey (8) -- started meeting a couple of times a week to turn on music, eat snacks and create, create, create. Their mothers paint the donated keys, which are mis-cut or otherwise unusable, and the girls embellish them with beads, charms, buttons or other little tchotchkes to make necklaces, pins, key chains, zipper pulls and more. The finished project is priced at $5 and attached to a card that reads, "This very special key symbolizes 'shelter' and was hand- designed by kids who care about Charleston's homeless."

Those five dollar donations have added up. Since August of last year, they have raised 20 thousand dollars! Clara embodies so many qualities that we at WINGS teach to our elementary kids. She's kind, caring and sympathetic, and she's taking big steps to make a difference. We're so pleased to give her WINGS and we hope they help her in continuing to soar!

A leader is the wave pushed ahead by the ship.
  — Leo Tolstoy

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