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.
That’s exactly why I color.”
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.
We bring happiness to children who are facing the stress of hospitalization by giving them the freedom that comes with creative play.
Founder and President
Bryan is the creator of WareWorks, a consulting firm specializing in packaging and product design as well as manufacturing processes. After years of helping major companies such as Google, Franzia, Uncle Ben’s, and Scott’s Miracle-Gro streamline their manufacturing and products for ultimate efficiency, Bryan has dedicated himself to combining his manufacturing skills and his love for the arts to help children in need.
Dwight is the Controller of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and an active Certified Public Accountant. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Management Accountant. Non-profit work is an ingrained family value for Dwight and he brings his passion of problem solving and creating opportunities.
Marissa is an elementary school teacher who has experienced, first-hand, budget cuts in the arts and the negative educational impact such decisions have on students. Inspired by the imagination she’s seen from young students, Marissa is confident that the arts can help any child create, without limits – and The Crayon Initiative can help.
Kellye is the Director of the Chase Child Life Program at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, where she has the unique opportunity to witness the magic and healing that play brings to hospitalized kids and their families every day. Kellye has seen first-hand how a box of crayons transcends fear and illness and helps a kid be a kid in the most vulnerable time of his or her life.
Kari Mirabal is an International keynote and TEDx speaker, author, and founder of a consulting firm that shares innovative networking strategies to help professionals leverage the power of authentic connection. Mirabal joins The Crayon Initiative to "be a contribution" in the nonprofit world while also challenging our team to consider new possibilities.
Darren works as an executive for Amazon Web Services (AWS). Prior to AWS, Darren worked at GE where he served as the SVP and CTO for their Global Digital Business. Darren moved to GE from Apple, where he was a founding member of the startup Siri, Inc. Darren is passionate about bringing awareness to human rights and other social causes.
Linda is Chief Operating Officer for Bay Medical Management Radiology group in the Bay Area. Prior to this, she was Executive Operations Director for John Muir Health where she first learned of The Crayon Initiative's amazing work with pediatric patients. She strongly believes in this effort and the idea that children and adults can express themselves through art in a multitude of rewarding ways.
Dan is the VP of Personal Capital Cash and Voice of the Customer for Personal Capital, a Silicon Valley based fintech company. Dan is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional and has held a variety of leadership roles during his 25 years in financial services. Outside the office, Dan is a dedicated husband, father, and friend with a lifelong passion for automotive restoration and performance.