Number of Participants: 100
Hours Donated: 10
Value of Time Served: $8,450
Event Type: Children & Youth
Date: January 24, 2024
Thousands of broken and worn down crayons are filling boxes at Martin Avenue Elementary School in the North Bellmore School District, as the sixth grade is spearheading a community service project to benefit The Crayon Initiative.
The nonprofit organization gives children in hospitals the tools to make art. It recycles old crayons by melting them down and making new three-sided crayons that can’t roll off a hospital tray or table. It also keeps the old crayons out of landfills.
Every winter, Martin Avenue’s sixth grade classes come together to complete a service project. Teachers Rachel Graber and Stephanie Speciale leave it up to the students to research and select a charity. This year’s group wanted to help other children, and selected The Crayon Initiative. They began collecting old crayons after returning from the holiday break, and the drive runs until Feb. 14.
The sixth graders designed posters, which they hung throughout the school encouraging their peers to donate. They also presented to other classes, to share The Crayon Initiative’s mission. Additionally, the young philanthropists provided each class with a plastic bag to hold the old crayons, which they collect once a week and empty into large cardboard boxes.
“We’ve been doing pretty good,” sixth grade Michael Shevlin said, noting that they already have several boxes filled up.
Kayla Waszczuk said that she and her classmates watched a video about The Crayon Initiative and really are taking its message to heart.
“It is scientifically proven that when kids draw, they get smarter and more creative,” she said. “It feels pretty good that we’re doing this because we’re helping children in hospitals.”
The Crayon Initiative partners with more than 240 hospitals across the country, including Cohen Children’s Medical Center, NYU Winthrop Hospital Children’s Medical Center and Stony Brook Children’s Hospital on Long Island.
1: Martin Avenue Elementary School sixth graders, from left, Seraphine McGill, Michael Shevlin, Jose Rosa and Kayla Waszczuk showed one of multiple boxes that are already filled with donations for The Crayon Initiative.
2: Sixth graders, from left, Carissa Siu, Cassie Chen, Callen Paolillo and Karl Hutcherson are helping sprinkle kindness by collecting crayons for children in hospitals.
Photos courtesy of the North Bellmore School District