Ever wonder what happens to those crayons the kids use to color on the menu at your favorite restaurant? Bryan Ware wondered the same thing after coloring with his sons. The family had fun and passed the time, but when the meal arrived, the crayons were whisked away. Later, Bryan found out that those crayons at dinner are thrown away, resulting in up to 75,000 pounds of waste annually.
He knew there had to be a better use for these discarded crayons, and that gave him the idea to start The Crayon Initiative. Along with volunteers, Bryan collects unwanted crayons from restaurants and schools near his home in San Francisco. These crayons are sorted, then melted, and finally, are strained into molds Bryan developed himself. The molds make crayons that are larger than the originals, for good reason – these newly recycled crayons are headed for hospitals to be used by young and special needs children.
Bryan and his volunteers are proud of the result. Children are known for their imaginations and creativity, which are hallmarks of growing up and learning. Using their imaginations is also a great way to get these kids to shift their focus away from their suffering. As you’ll see, the children in the hospitals who receive The Crayon Initiative’s gift need that shift in focus. Some are recovering from surgery, while others are battling cancer, the coloring brings welcome relief from those struggles. Bryan is happy to know that whatever hopes and dreams these kids put down on that paper, he and his team got to be a small part of it.
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