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Crayon Initiative Helps Sick Children – and the Planet!

Crayon Initiative Helps Sick Children – and the Planet!

There’s a nonprofit organisation in California that is not only trying to help the planet, but also sick children. The Crayon Initiative collects old crayons and gives them a new lease of life before donating them to children in hospital.

The organisation was founded by Bryan Ware, a father of two who has always had a passion for art. He came up with the idea a couple of years ago, after a family meal in a restaurant.

In some family-friendly eating establishments, children are supplied with a special menu with activities and a fresh pack of crayons, to keep them occupied during the meal. Sometimes the children take the crayons home, but what happens to those just left on the table once the meal is over and the children have left?

This is what Bryan was wondering as he watched his own sons colouring that meal time. He decided to ask their server, who explained that the crayons were just thrown away and end up in a landfill – even the ones that had barely been used. What a waste!

This got Bryan to thinking of ways the crayons could be repurposed and so the Crayon Initiative was launched.

After sorting, the old crayons are melted in Bryan's kitchen

Now the nonprofit receives used crayons from all over the state, from restaurants and schools, and even independent donors. The first boxes went sent out to hospitals earlier this year, and since then, the Crayon Initiative has donated around 2,000 boxes of crayons.

So, what’s the process? Well, first off, the old crayons are sorted into tubs by colour. These are then taken to Bryan’s kitchen where they are melted down and the remoulded.

The new crayons are then packaged up and delivered to the hospitals – often by Bryan himself!

The crayons don’t look like your traditional crayon, and intentionally have a unique design that is easy for the children to hold and won’t just roll off of beds or trays.

The crayons are moulded into a special design so they are easy to hold and won't roll away

“We working with an occupational therapist to design the crayons,” Bryan explained. “We don’t wrap them in paper – which can hold bacteria – and we have had them tested to make sure bacteria from incoming crayons were killed during our processing.”

He said that when the children receive their new crayons, they light up and it helps to give them a temporary escape from their current situation.

Colouring crayons have the potential to help children better express themselves through art therapy, which is becoming a popular treatment for children, especially those with psychological issues.

It’s also important for the children to stay as close to “normal” as possible. This will help them carry on their childhood development while also giving them a fun outlet, providing them with some comfort while they overcome their challenges.

So far, the Crayon Initiative has only made deliveries in California, but its first out-of-state delivery to New York is planned for later this year.

“From my perspective, the biggest goal is to give [the children] an escape,” said Bryan, adding that he couldn’t possibly fathom what these children are going through. “If these crayons given them an escape from that hospital room for 10 minutes, we did our job.”

Colouring can be great therapy for children in hospital, as well as give them a temporary break from their situationTo find out how you can donate your old crayons, or simply learn more about the Crayon Initiative, check out their website.

Helping sick children in hospital and stopping crayons leave a waxy stain in landfills? Colour us impressed!

Image Source: The Crayon Initiative Facebook page

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