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Skaneateles: Sixth-grader adds color to the world
with Krayons 4 Kids
Miranda L. Pennock 03/01/10 - Skaneateles Press
While other kids were sleeping in late or off gallivanting with their families on traditional vacations last week during winter break, Skaneateles sixth-grader Chloe Strang packed her bags and set off on a family adventure that would aid children in foreign lands.The idea started last February before her family embarked on a journey to Peru. Knowing she would visit school childre in a small village, Chloe bought crayons and notebooks, bundled them all together and prepared herself for sharing fun with others.While she was armed with 20 packs of crayons and 20 notepads, but there weren’t enough packages to go around, said Shelly Kennedy, Chloe’s mom and local artist.“I really liked when I did that,” the 11-year-old said optimistically about her first attempt. “I wanted to start an effort.”The effort has turned into Krayons for Kids, which was meant to aid children in Nicaragua by giving them the simple joy of coloring, writing and drawing. With the help of Applebee’s restaurant in Auburn, she was able to collect more than 1,500 crayons that would have otherwise been discarded after one use. Chloe took the initiative to call Applebee’s and talk to the manager where they came to a resolution — Chloe would put her logo and story on buckets and the employees would fill them.The project goes even further beyond crayons and notepads, which were donated by Eastwood Litho based in Syracuse. Skaneateles’ little redheaded volunteer wanted the teachers to be included as well. Teacher packs included things like pencils, stickers and adhesive bandages.For the students, she added candy to the mix of goodies to include.“This year we’re hoping to have enough for everyone to get candy, crayons and notebooks,” she said.To help make the project come to life, Chloe started a blog — krayons4kids.blogspot.com — which tells her story, how the project came to life, shows photos of her getting ready for her Nicaraguan adventure and has a place where visitors can donate to the cause.Her online journal was created with minimal help from her parents and Chloe manages the site on her own. The logo that graces the top of the Web site was designed by Chloe, (and naturally it was colored on paper in crayon) then scanned and uploaded to the site by her dad. Shelly helped get the blog set up initially because she’s an experience blogger and reader of online journals. Together, they were able to get a PayPal button uploaded so Chloe would be able to receive donations via the Internet.Before leaving, Chloe had already received about $200 in donations.“We used some of it for getting pencils and stickers for the teachers,” she said.Some of that money is also going toward her continuing effort in Lima, Peru, where she and her family have kept in touch with the teachers and students they visited last February. Chloe said she would be sending off about 100 packs of crayons for the children there.There’s a lesson to be learned in all of this — never underestimate the heart of a child.“I just want them to know that even kids or teenagers can help,” Chloe said.Even Clark, Chloe’s 10-year-old brother has taken it upon himself to give a hand to help the children of Peru and Nicaragua out.Knowing there are children less fortunate than her out in the world has opened Chloe’s eyes — they don’t have as much as we do, some don’t know how to write, but this project will give them the chance to create with color.“You get really emotional because you see they don’t really have these things,” Chloe said as she talked about helping other children. “We do take it for granted and they don’t have anything like that.” To read Chloe’s story, see pictures from her trips or to donate, log onto krayons4kids.blogspot.com.