Okay. So I don’t totally love pin trading. I know, I know. I did try. But it’s just too much work. I’d much rather give my pins away.
Turns out, I’m not the only one.
Meet Mathew Poage, who runs GivePins.com. Based mostly in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, he and his band of pin-trading merry men give pins away in the Parks to, in Poage’s words, “promote whimsy, goodwill and friendship.”
In addition to outlining their mission, the site offers some simple ways you can get involved and even has a set of instructions to help you start sharing the magic. “I’m not looking for attention,” says Poage. “I’m just trying—in my own small way—to make the happiest place on earth just a little more magical and a little more whimsical. Also, it’s ten tons of fun!”
Of course, they do a lot more than just give away pins. “I fully realize that GivePins isn’t curing cancer or changing the world,” says Poage, but he explains that pin trading helps shy kids come out of their shells and teaches the importance of generosity.
“I believe with all my heart that we are putting positive things into this world and brightening people’s lives,” he continues. “We aim to help kids develop positive social skills and the confidence to use them. If we can use those moments to teach kids about the power of generosity, then we have accomplished a lofty goal.”
And, since pin giving-away isn’t cheap, Mathew’s spearheading an indiegogo campaign to keep GivePins going and continue to grow the organization. “Eventually, I’d like to be able to sponsor kids,” he says. “A lot of summer camps take day trips to Disneyland, and I’d like to give each kid a Starter Pin Set. Or give pins sets to underprivileged or special needs kids—and then take them to Disneyland. The possibilities for growth are endless.”
He’d also like to be able to hand out more rare and unusual pins in the Parks. “I think Pin Trading could be a fun treasure hunt for kids of all ages,” says Poage. “Recently, I had a ball planting spectacular or rare pins on Cast Member lanyards and pin books in the Parks then tweeting about it. If anyone is in the Park, they can then swoop in and look for them!”
While I’m all about creating special moments in the Parks, I’m especially fond of this project simply because it highlights our basic human goodness. The Give Pins twitter feed is the perfect pick-me-up on a bad day, full of tales of returning lost wallets, delighted kids and happy moments in the Parks.
Even if you don’t donate a dime and never give a pin away yourself, I’d encourage you take a look. If nothing else, Give Pins is a fabulous reminder that there are still really, truly good people in the world.
Do you give away pins? Let us know in the comments below.