Our Work

Drawing Smiles with Kids

Kids in hospitals are like children everywhere—they just want to be happy and play. We're here to help that happen, by giving them tools to make art. Studies show that art therapy can reduce heart rates, improve cognition, release endorphins and alleviate stress. And most of our young patients take our crayons home with them as the happiest part of their stay. Join us, and let's draw together.

“When you’re coloring, what kind of things are you thinking about?”

That’s exactly why I color.”

– from NBC Nightly News interview of pediatric patient

Our Story

The Crayon Initiative was born one night when Bryan Ware and his family went out for dinner. While his boys sat coloring on the menu, Bryan couldn't help but wonder where restaurant crayons end up, when all the people go home.

Turns out, it’s the landfill—making a big waxy mess that never biodegrades. Why, Bryan thought, couldn’t they be re-purposed to create more joy in the world? He took the crayons home and got busy—figuring out the art of collecting and sorting old crayons, melting them down, and remanufacturing them in a bright, clean, paper-free form.

Consulting an occupational therapist, he even gave his new crayons a unique design—large and three-sided, not round—so they’re easy for kids to grip and can’t roll off hospital trays.

Finally, he crafted a network for sending free crayons to kids in hospitals all over the country.

Our Mission

We bring happiness to children who are facing the stress of hospitalization by giving them the freedom that comes with creative play.

Our Team