In 2011, Bryan Ware was celebrating his birthday at a restaurant in California. The waiter brought a handful of crayons for his two young sons. Suddenly, a curious question flashed through Bryan’s mind. Where will these crayons go after they’re done with them? Never in his wildest dreams did he expect the answer to change his life — and the lives of brave kids fighting for their lives.
Bryan started The Crayon Initiative, which collects old crayons that would otherwise be thrown away by schools and restaurants — then turns them into new, larger, and more usable crayons for children’s hospitals and kids with special needs. Bryan, with the help of his team of dedicated volunteers, came up with a special process that involves melting old crayons down, molding them into larger shapes, and creating nearly 100 new crayons each and every time. The Initiative delivers the finished crayons to children’s hospitals across California, where they can be enjoyed by kids who find comfort and fun through coloring when they need it most.
Once the internet picked up on Bryan’s creative, crafty, and kindhearted idea, The Crayon Initiative went viral. These days, Bryan is busier than ever and he couldn’t be more excited. “I had no idea how social media would so deeply, positively impact our mission,” he says. “It is so far beyond what I could have imagined or planned for, I am sincerely blown away.”
Explore process behind The Crayon Initiative below… it’s truly incredible!
In 2011, Bryan was out to dinner with his two kids who were busy coloring on the paper tablecloth. Bryan thought, "Where do all the "undesirable" crayons go when they're worn and dull?" The answer: The trash.
So began The Crayon Initiative. Bryan and a small team of volunteers began recycling old crayons in order to help and spread joy to hospitalized children. The first step is to sort the crayons by color.
Bryan then melts down these used crayons that would otherwise be discarded by schools and restaurants.
Nope, these are not your average Thanksgiving leftovers. The crayons must be melted down completely before going into the molds.
The liquid waxy substance is then poured into special custom molds, which makes the crayons larger and easier to use for young hospital patients and kids with special needs.
Bryan is able to make 96 new crayons per batch.
Once the crayons are solidified, sorted, and packaged, they're off to be delivered to hospitals throughout California.
Since 2013, The Crayon Initiative has donated 2,000 boxes of crayons to California hospitals. Because the Initiative has become such a viral sensation, Bryan's mission is expanding. This year, he'll deliver to a New York hospital for the very first time!
Bryan says, “If these crayons give them an escape from that hospital room for ten minutes, we did our job."
Bryan, his family, and his team look forward to making a difference together.
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