Kindness is not an attribute we associate with a business, but it is the foundation of the business Laurinda has founded. Kind Karma is a social venture that believes in paying forward. It believes in the principle of doing good and that good will come back in the form of karma and will continue to create waves of positive impact throughout the community.
Today, in our fourth edition of Good People Doing Good Things, we speak with Laurinda Lee Retter, founder of Kind Karma Co. Not only is Laurina a great personal friend, but she is also a mentor for us at Daria Day.
MEET LAURINDA LEE, FOUNDER OF KIND KARMA
2016 was a hard year for Laurinda, and it was a sentiment that seemed to echo across society throughout those 365 days. Determined to make the following year much better, she decided to do her part in spreading kindness and positivity to those that needed it the most.
For Laurinda, that determination came in the form of working with the vulnerable youth in Toronto. The Kind Karma Company was born to create opportunities for them. Leaning on her own experience with mental health, Laurinda devised a therapy-based employment model that has seen youth succeed in maintaining employment.
WHAT IS THE KIND KARMA COMPANY?
Kind Karma employs at-risk and homeless youth in Toronto to handcraft fine jewelry. In addition to fair hourly wages, proceeds from sales are returned to youth employees to support their individual goals. Its mission, as Laurinda explains is,
"...to break the cycle of poverty by enabling our future generation of leaders to reach their full potential so they can continue to pay kindness forward."
While there were many individuals in the community that needed a helping hand, Laurinda was drawn to the plight of vulnerable youth because of their unique situation and how it resonated with her own experiences (with mental health).
The youth that Kind Karma works with are often misconceived as “bad kids,” but the truth is, most of them end up either on the streets or in foster care because of situations they did not create.
Laurinda explains that the domestic situation is often so bad or unhealthy that the only alternative is to leave home. Survival is key. Everything else is secondary. To make matters worse, many of them face mental health challenges as a result of trauma or a lack of education "because, in the battle of school versus survival, survival will always win."
Lack of education means a lack of employment opportunities. This is where Kind Karma comes in with its specialized art therapy based employment model.
Since starting Kind Karma, Laurinda has witnessed a positive change in the youth she works with. She says they seem more self-confident and have an increased sense of self-esteem. They have told Laurinda,
“never held a job for this long”, “found my wings and am learning to fly”
These statements are a testament to the work Laurinda does.
"But it doesn’t stop there because who knows what these single individuals will do within their communities as time goes on? Who knows what impact this one person will have on those around them?"
And this is precisely the kind of ripple effect that Laurinda wishes to create with Kind Karma.
STYLES WE ARE LOVING AT KIND KARMA
The perfect gift to give to that special friend or your sister. We love how two circle pendants come together to represent two souls coming together - different yet united.
These simple Morse Code bracelets spell out different words like Love, Strenght, Faith. What message do you want to carry or send to someone?
A SPECIAL TREAT FOR YOU 🎁
Use code GOOD15 to explore this and other beautiful jewelry at Kind Karma
This blog is part of a series at Daria Day featuring stories of people doing amazing things to make the world a little better. If you know someone we could feature, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for more good people doing good things.