After months of collecting markers and crayons, two Newport-Mesa Unified students donated $2,500 worth of school supplies to Wilson Elementary School this week.
Julianne Bartz and Melanie Wolter, who will both start ninth grade at Corona del Mar High School in the fall, came up with the idea for The Crayon Connection several months ago. They realized that many excess supplies sent home with elementary students at the end of the year are either thrown away or banished to the junk drawer, not to be used again for months, if ever.
As Wilson in Costa Mesa is one of the district's Title 1 schools, meaning the average family income at the school is lower than at other elementary schools, the girls felt their efforts would help provide supplies for students who may not have the same advantages.
"I really like the idea of recycling the supplies and donating them to students who would actually use them," Bartz said in a prepared statement. "Lots of these supplies would have ended up in a landfill, so this is a good way to help the environment too."
Bartz and Wolter launched their project at Andersen Elementary School, where they both started their academic careers in Newport-Mesa Unified years ago.
They hung posters, supplied each classroom with a donation box and even took to social media to request donations.
They collected more than 2,500 crayons, 1,000 markers, 1,300 colored pencils, 115 pairs of scissors, and 100 folders, binders and notebooks from the Andersen community.
The duo plans to expand the program to other elementary schools next year, the release stated.