Well over 100 million crayons are thrown out every year by more than 15,000 family style restaurant chains across the United States.
Millions of young children do not have access to artistic opportunities, both within the US and internationally. In addition, thousands of youth in the United States and beyond want to make a difference in their community, but do not know how.
Through our dedicated all-youth team, the Color My World Project (CMW) collects discarded crayons from restaurants across the country and donates them to schools, childcare centers, shelters, and orphanages in need. Often, when our team-members donate a batch of crayons, they spend time coloring with the kids and teaching them about the importance of recycling and reducing waste. One crayon at a time, CMW links children, teenagers, restaurants, patrons, and organizations in need in a community-wide effort to reduce waste and inspire creativity.
President Obama made the point in his 2012 State of the Union address that teachers often have to pay out-of-pocket for school supplies. We do not think that is right. By donating crayons, CMW is giving children additional artistic opportunities and lessening the burden on teachers while simultaneously reducing thousands of pounds of landfill waste.
Through this process CMW team members find a passion for service and learn how to run a social venture while also becoming role models and inspiring other youth to engage themselves in the community. Franchising social change, CMW creatively utilizes technology with a "tool kit" available on the CMW website so that new volunteers can train online and independently manage their outreach. CMW's goal is to create a new generation of changemakers with skills in negotiation, direct marketing, and collaboration within the realm of social entrepreneurship and beyond.
To expand our outreach, CMW has created a coloring book (thanks to a few team members and an artist) that we are donating to shelters and schools across the country. The coloring book will provide kids with the opportunity to learn about recycling while having fun and expressing themselves. Crayons can help stimulate children's imaginations and nurture their dreams.
With Color My World, we will color outside the lines and together draw a picture for a better future!
When CMW representatives came to the Center to present...the children noticed the name of the restaurant on the crayons, which sparked their interest in the crayons. The relationship between the crayons and the popular restaurant stimulated a conversation with the children about recycling. This provided a good discussion topic for the children and served as a good socialization tool for the classroom. Later on in the week, the class talked more about recycling, using plastic bags as an example of something that could be recycled for other purposes."
When Gawan visited the Evergreen School...he spoke to our students and explained the importance of preserving our natural resources and ways we can all do our part. Gawan showed our students that even teenagers can make a big difference. And he even left us...900 crayons and a set of coloring books!"