Nonprofit brings color to sick children's lives with recycled crayons

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The Crayon Initiative's mission is to recycle crayons to preserve the environment and enrich the lives of hospitalized children. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Crayon Initiative's mission is to recycle crayons to preserve the environment and enrich the lives of hospitalized children. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Volunteers help organize crayons before they get melted. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Volunteers help organize crayons before they get melted. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The Crayon Initiative recycles unwanted crayons. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The Crayon Initiative recycles unwanted crayons. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Bryan Ware is the founder of The Crayon Initiative. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Bryan Ware is the founder of The Crayon Initiative. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Employees from CSAA Insurance Group came together in Glendale to help The Crayon Initiative sort donated crayons on March 6 and 7 at the CSAA’s office building.

The Crayon Initiative is a California-based nonprofit that recycles crayons that it then donates to children’s hospitals in multiple states.

"They [children] smile, which is why we do this. I mean, it gives them a break from the hospital life, makes them feel normal," said The Crayon Initiative founder, Bryan Ware. "As adults, we can revert back to our childhood with the smell of crayons and using the crayons. For these kids, it brings them back to this same normalcy."

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The Crayon Initiative’s mission is to enrich the lives of hospitalized children through art and imagination. According to the nonprofit, many children who are living with chronic diseases find solace in coloring because it helps them cope with their illnesses and feelings of anxiety.

Shaundi Carmack, a volunteer, said her daughter had back surgery at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and during the recovery, she would color with crayons donated by The Crayon Initiative.

"I think it’s a really wonderful idea, it’s amazing that he’s doing all this stuff to help the kids," said Carmack. "It helps them to just step out of what they’re going through at that point in time. My daughter is a sketcher so she did a lot of that but there was another little girl who was there when we were in there and she was drawing different landscape scenes. She drew meadows, then she drew a lake, and it was so that she could be there instead of in the hospital."

The Crayon Initiative was established in 2014, it collects discarded crayons from restaurants and other sources remolds them and then provides those new packs to pediatric wards in hospitals.

In four years, the nonprofit has collected roughly 160,000 pounds of crayons and has donated 75,000 new packs between 90 hospitals in 25 states.

Volunteer Juleen Rohrbacker said that working with The Crayon Initiative truly expresses what their company’s core value is.

"This one really speaks to who we are. One of our core values is caring and what better way to really show the community and show others that we care than to help with an organization that helps give back to children who are having a difficult time and unable to really enjoy life the way they want to," said Rohrbacker. "We really love being able to do something that is going to have an immediate impact and really being there when someone needs us."

The public can learn about The Crayon Initiative and how to donate on the nonprofit’s website

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