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The Crayon Factory

You’re never too young to make a difference — students from one local elementary school are proof of that.

Last fall, hundreds of kids from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade at Horizon Elementary in Harrisburg transformed used crayons into small works of art to help those in need through a special project called Crayons for a Cause.

Inside a classroom dubbed “The Crayon Factory” students peeled, sorted and smashed used crayons which were then melted, poured into small molds and packaged for sale. Proceeds were given to the school’s Horizon Cares Fund which provides support for school families in need.

The project, led by junior kindergarten teacher Sarah Hansen, was supported by a grant from the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation’s Excellence in Education initiative, a program designed to help bring teachers’ innovative classroom ideas to life.

“We’d had some teachers and families from our school go through some significant medical events. Our whole school was thinking of ways we could help, and ways we could get the kids involved in helping because they were aware of these challenges,” Hansen said.

“We were so excited to get the grant and make this idea happen,” Hansen said. “These kinds of projects help kids see a different side of life, and that’s so important at this age.”

Hansen said the kids were excited to participate in a project that would help others.

“We always talk about the importance of service to others, but not all kids have a chance to practice it,” she said. “This helped them really understand the idea of service in a really meaningful way — and in a way that will stay with them.”

Patrick Gale, the Foundation’s vice president for community investment, agreed.

“What a creative way to help others while teaching kids the principles of kindness and philanthropy,” he said. “We loved Sarah’s idea and we were honored to support this project from our Excellence in Education initiative. Keep up the great work, Horizon Elementary!”

The project raised more than $1,200 for the Horizon Cares Fund.

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