September 19 2017

Octagon LA gives back in partnership with The Crayon Initiative and UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital

Octacares, #MyOctagon, Los Angeles

Every August, Octagon employees in Los Angeles band together with their sister agencies, FRUKT, Advantage, and Rogers & Cowan, to give back to our local communities as part of a global month of service. This year, the Los Angeles agencies partnered with The Crayon Initiative and the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital (UCLAMCH). 



Founded by Bryan Ware, The Crayon Initiative sprouted from an evening out to dinner with his wife and kids where he learned that the life of a restaurant crayon is a short one – ending in waxy waste. When Bryan couldn’t find an existing alternative to filling landfills with over 500,000 pounds of crayons every year, he decided to create one. With the assistance of thousands of volunteers, The Crayon Initiative sorts used crayons donated from restaurants, schools, and individuals across the country. Once sorted, the crayons are melted down to create brand new crayons which are donated to art programs at children’s hospitals throughout the US. These donated crayons help young patients alleviate anxiety during their hospitalization by providing a creative outlet for self-expression.

In a joint program that began with a crayon drive throughout the month of August, we collected over 9,000 new crayons to donate directly to UCLAMCH. On August 29, we hosted The Crayon Initiative for a day of crayon sorting. In all, our employees sorted through 520 pounds of crayons which will amount to about 2,600 new crayons after they are repurposed. 



We spent the next three days volunteering at UCLAMCH in their play room, teen lounge, and outpatient areas, bringing fun, games, and plenty of smiles to the kids and their families. These designated areas are serviced by the Chase Child Life Program in order to provide a safe activity area away from their hospital rooms. UCLAMCH works closely with The Crayon Initiative and is a direct recipient of their recycled crayons which are used in these areas. thirty-three volunteers participated over seven total on-site sessions with the kids, and all returned with amazing stories about their experiences. 

“We were able to connect with the simple coloring book and crayons that The Crayon Initiative was able to provide to centers like this,” said Daizy Neri, an employee with Advantage. “Just knowing that this experience could happen again with the batch of crayons that I helped sort, making it possible for another kid to create and experience what I did at their age, was a gift in itself.” Tim Lay from Octagon echoed a similar takeaway. “To be a part of making their day just a little brighter and a little more fun was truly an invaluable experience,” he said. “It’s so important for us to take a step back from the day-to-day of work, deliverables and activations and remember that there is a larger community around us. Just a little bit of our time can really make a difference.”