Skaneateles: Sixth-grader adds color to the world with Krayons 4 Kids

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.

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