This week’s MomCo Mom On A Mission is mom who has created a business that is so unique with such a worthy cause behind it. We are so privileged to share Shelia’s story of how she built Crayon Collection with all of you, and most importantly hope you join her in helping change the world, one crayon at a time.
Today we share Shelia’s story with you.
In her own words.
As an immigrant to the United States, life in America has a very different quality for me than for my relatives who had to stay and grow up in Tehran, Iran. I was raised with the understanding that this American life was a privilege and everything we have in the States is a gift. I was made aware that there is a level of ample plenitude everywhere and opportunity for all of us to take. We have the chance to be whatever and whoever we want and I lived each and every day knowing that this would not have been the case had my parents stayed in Iran, especially as a female. The truth is there is a lot of Iranian culture that I draw upon each day, things that I feel have made me the person I am today. Things that I am very proud of. One of these things, is the appreciation of all the “perks” life in America offers us. I believe that is what brought me to start the Crayon Collection.
Our mission at Crayon Collection is to collect and re-distribute as many crayons as possible in an environmental and philanthropic effort. We seek to provide each child with the understanding that even the simplest of art supplies, like the crayon, should not be thrown away because there are always children who may not have access to these little gems. We want to instill in children who are in better-served communities that restaurants give us these gifts of fresh crayons each time we dine but, that it isn’t everyone’s reality. We want kids across America and beyond to consider the environment and those underprivileged kids who have ideas in their mind but cannot express their creativity due to a lack of supplies. We work with restaurant chains around the country and pair them with Title 1 schools or Head Start Centers within a 5 mile radius. We also recommend that schools in better-served communities start a Crayon Collection at their schools where students can bring in all their un-wanted crayons and then find a nearby school in need of supplies. It’s a community effort bringing art supplies to help teachers spend less of their personal income to fill their classroom with supplies, all while helping our planet stay green.
Our inspiration stems from the notion that 69 BILLION crayons are produced per year and 150 MILLION of those crayons are just thrown away by restaurant chains in America. We know that there are children around the world yearning for crayons to draw with and landfills that cannot withstand anymore unnecessary waste. We need to make a change. Environmental organizations spend precious resources on changing our habits, such as not using plastic bags, recycling and re-using. At Crayon Collection, we feel that we should start teaching at a young age because kids really do understand this eco-lesson and philanthropic experience because the crayon is such a relatable object. They are so happy to help and want to be a part of this change. In fact, thanks to the kids around the globe we have collected millions of crayons and placed them in the hands of impoverished children rather than in a landfill spending 10 years trying to decompose amidst garbage. Crayons are not garbage.
Many of us are very lucky to have resources to buy our children art supplies, send them to art classes, and to provide them with the opportunities we feel necessary for them to grow into well rounded individuals, something I know we all strive for as parents. When we open kids minds up to the Crayon Collection and what it is all about, we find that a spark is ignited. Kids tell us that they cannot understand why crayons would be thrown away and they also cannot imagine a child not having any at all. With this information, they become change makers and take the idea to their school and become empowered to make a difference on a very very relatable concept. It teaches children the act of giving back and the notion of environmental stewardship. Children can go to their local cafe and suggest that the crayons don’t be thrown away, or they can simply pick up the crayons they’ve received while dining out and add it to a pile at home or at school to be donated with other un-needed crayons. This lesson only adds to the well-rounded growth we are striving for as parents.
If you are interesting in learning more about Crayon Collection, follow them on social media and join in their cause! Also watch their PSA as well, and share with your friends!