You'll never look at leftover restaurant crayons the same.
Have you ever wondered what happens to the restaurant crayons your kids—or you—leave behind at the table, usually broken and worn down? Well, Bryan Ware, who is a father himself, wondered the exact same thing 5 years ago and turned it into an idea that has evolved into an awesome program for children’s hospitals.
As Ware sat down to dinner with his two young sons in 2011, the small family used the complimentary crayons that the restaurant provided to keep themselves occupied until the food arrived. Though he had done this many times before, it was on this particular occasion that Ware’s thoughts focused on the crayons before them.
“I started wondering what happened to restaurant crayons after children used them and our waitress told us they were thrown away. It occurred to me there had to be better use for them than sending them to landfills,” he said.
This is how The Crayon Initiative was born. Ware, an entrepreneur with a knack for visual arts, searched for a higher purpose and landed on children’s hospitals. He approached a friend who worked at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco, who loved the idea of donated crayons and said they would have a “tremendous positive impact.”
The father-of-two knew that this new venture would require more work than it seemed, however, as he didn’t just want to be a crayon deliverer who arrived with thin, broken drawing utensils for sick children.
Not only did the crayons need to be fully-formed, but they would also need to be tailored to work with children who were bed-ridden and possibly had weak immune systems.
Ware went above and beyond to make sure that these repurposed crayons could work safely for the children, and even brought in professionals to help consult.
“We worked with an occupational therapist to design the crayons so they are easy for children to hold and so they won’t roll off of beds or trays,” Ware said. “We do not wrap them in paper which can hold bacteria and we’ve had them tested to make sure bacteria from incoming crayons was killed during our processing.”
After a lot of careful and gradual planning, the program launched in late 2014 and it’s working wonderfully for the children. The Initiative works with hospitals, schools, art programs, and additional organizations invested in children by donating the repurposed crayons.
As a student, Ware didn’t enjoy the academic aspects of school as much as he did the art. With this Initiative, he has found “a creative way to recirculate the endless supply of free materials and bring the Arts to children everywhere.”
The Crayon Initiative has one goal: to recycle unwanted crayons into unlimited possibilities for children.
What are your thoughts on this program? Please share, like, and comment on this article!
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