Lately I have been highlighting some of the projects we have done in my school’s local chapter of K-Kids. As a sponsor of this club, we look for ways to give back to our community. Believe it or not, it was much easier than I expected to find ways for kids to get involved. One project that we do each year that you can do in your own home or even school, groups, etc.. is Color A Smile.
Color A Smile is a nonprofit organization that collects cheerful drawings from volunteers of all ages. Every month we distribute thousands of these colorful drawings to Senior Citizens, Our Troops Overseas, and anyone in need of a smile.
Color A Smile was started by Jerry Harris before his children were old enough to color. He saw a neighbor’s refrigerator that was covered with their children’s artwork. He knew in a few years he would have plenty of pictures to put on his refrigerator but he thought of the many people that don’t have young children in their lives. He thought it would be a simple but worthwhile project to collect drawings from kids and send the drawings to anyone that could use a smile. “It seemed like such a simple idea and the response has been overwhelming,” he said.
Since its inception in the early 1980’s, Color A Smile has distributed over 1 Million drawings. There are now hundreds of thousands of children all across the country that have participated in the program. Schools, scouting troops and religious organizations are the biggest suppliers of drawings. The internet has made it very simple for teachers, parents or scout leaders to go online and get the information needed to spread more smiles. The web site address is http://www.colorasmile.org Anyone can download the pages from the website, make as many copies as they need, have the children color them, and then send the drawings to the Color A Smilehttp://colorasmile.org/welcome.html office.
Color A Smile distributes their cheerful drawings to senior citizens, our troops overseas, or anyone that would benefit from a bright, cheerful masterpiece for their refrigerator door or bulletin board.
Color A Smile mails drawings directly to individuals that live on their own. Every month, these people that live independently, receive a new drawing to put on their refrigerator door.
For people living in nursing homes, Color A Smile will send 10 drawings each month, to be shared by everyone in the facility. We mail the drawings to the Activities Director who will display them in common areas so they can be enjoyed by everyone.
All active military personal receive the mailing of 10 drawings to share with their buddies.
The program is definitely having a positive effect on the people that receive the drawings. Trish Ross, the Office Manager for a Meals on Wheels program in New Jersey says, “Our clients look forward to the days they get a colorful picture with their meal. It truly makes their day a bit brighter.”
Even though the program was started mainly to benefit the seniors that receive the drawings, the effect on the children that do the coloring has been tremendous. Parents, teachers and scout leaders all praise the program for allowing children of all ages and abilities, to realize they are capable of helping someone else.
Color A Smile believes:
Everyone has the ability to help someone else.
Cheerful drawings put smiles on people’s faces.
When children are involved with meaningful volunteer projects, they are very likely to continue to volunteer as adults.
Are you looking for an easy Pay It Forward idea?
This one is an easy one that is sure to bring smiles to the recipients!