Imagination is more important than knowledge. ~Albert Einstein
One of my favorite things that my daughter has brought home from school is a journal. It was actually a series of drawings that showed her memories throughout the year. A child’s drawing can put a smile on your face and warm your heart. Today’s organization is spreading smiles through art.
In 1986, Jerry Harris was visiting a friend when he noticed how cheerful their refrigerator door looked with all the colorful artwork from their children. Jerry’s children were not yet old enough to draw, but he realized how a cheerful drawing can make people smile and brighten their day. A schoolteacher friend agreed to have her class draw the first batch of pictures to distribute to seniors, adults who live alone, shut-ins and anyone else who wanted them and Color A Smile was born.
The mission of Color A Smile is to provide opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to experience the rewards of volunteering. Their main program is collecting crayon drawings from school children to distribute to senior citizens and active military personal overseas. They are based in Morristown New Jersey, but they receive drawings from every one of the United States and even a few other countries.
Jerry Harris told me in an e-mail that they receive thank you letters every day from people who receive drawings from the program. “People say how the drawings make them smile and remind them that someone is thinking about them and took the time to send them a cheerful greeting.” They have boxes of cards and letters full of thanks and encouraging the organization to keep sending more drawings. In addition, many parents, teachers, and scout leaders thank them for a program that allows young children to participate and learn the joy of volunteering. Kids who participate in the program learn that they can help someone else by using the skills and resources available to them in their own home and school.
Since starting in 1986, Color A Smile has sent over one million drawings. They are proud to have sent drawings to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as thousands of seniors in the United States. Color A Smile provides a unique opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to make a difference. Jerry Harris states, “Everyone can help us to spread smiles as long as they like to create cheerful colorful drawings.”
How can you help?
- Anyone can color a cheerful drawing for Color A Smile to distribute. Simply go to colorasmile.org to download pages to color. Then simply mail your completed drawings to the address listed here.
- You can also nominate someone to receive drawings or request to receive a group of drawings each month for a nursing home on their website.
- You can also spread cheer by sharing the monthly masterpieces that Color A Smile posts on their website.
- You can also send a monetary donation to Color A Smile at PO Box 1516, Morristown NJ 07962-1516.