Organization sparks inclusion in classrooms through art supply donations

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CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Crayola’s “Colors of the World” multicultural crayons are headed to classrooms in Conway and around the world thanks to The Crayon Project.

The Crayon Project was created to encourage boys and girls to see themselves in their artwork and to make them comfortable in the classroom. It was an idea one Massachusetts couple said came in the height of social injustice.

“The issue kinda came to light because of the killing of George Floyd and other kind of acts that we saw and it was a way for us to kind of speak out and make a difference,” Kevin Bligh explained.

Kevin and his wife Beth Ann started collecting funds online in May. Social media helped spread the word to to teachers across the U.S., Puerto Rico, Japan, Germany and Guam.

Kim Melton, 1st grade teacher at Homewood Elementary in Conway, explained how her students couldn’t wait to get their hands on the multicultural crayons .

“When they saw them they were like ‘Ooo! These are different’ and they were like ‘I want that box’,” Melton said.

The Bligh family is thankful to be able to an impact big or small.

“It’s a small thing that we can do and it’s just amazing that’s it’s taken off and we know that people are really appreciating it,” Beth Ann Bligh explained.

Melton, who’s students are of many different colors, shared how representation is crucial to the building of self-esteem for all of her students.

“The Crayon Project brings a lot of inclusion because you have children from all different backgrounds and sometimes they are not represented in books and characters,” Melton explained.

“With these crayons they do see that representation,” she said. So far, The Crayon Project has shipped over 500 packages that include 12 boxes of multicultural crayons and markers to non-profit organizations and schools.

The project receives donation requests through their social media pages from parents and teachers around the world. Many are also donating at least $2 to help fill packages.

“We would love to continue to build upon this,” Kevin explained.

“The amount of requests that we’re getting in is outpacing the amount of crayons that we can continue to order and get in. But that’s great, I mean we want to continue to, you know, drive as much as this kind of positive change as possible,” he said.

Students at Homewood Elementary are already using the crayons sent to them and three other teachers are expecting their donations soon.

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