A Colorful Approach

Posted on Aug 10, 2018

Jen Craven, R.N., with crayons

Sometimes they cry. Others are too young to be scared. Then there are those who just need a magenta-style distraction.

Jen Craven, R.N., knows that no child wants to be in the Emergency Center at Johns Hopkins All Children’s, even when they are just along for the ride. Her go-to distractions, depending on age and mood-of-the-moment: bubbles and a delightful, colorful box of crayons.

But the Emergency Center can go through crayons like Disney goes through mouse ears.

On this particular afternoon, there have been highs and lows in the mood department. A few crying children and plenty dancing along the distraction spectrum while waiting for siblings to receive care. The crayon supply is exhausted, and Craven’s wheels are turning.

She knows how important it is to keep the children preoccupied. Especially those receiving treatment. She is often seeing them in their worst moments. Her goal is to make it better. Even when she can’t. Today, she has an idea.

“What this situation needs is a crayon drive,” she thinks, all at once wondering what a crayon drive looks like. She puts her head together with a few coworkers—also eager for happy child distractions—and they create themselves a crayon drive.

Posters are made, emails sent. Facebook pages are updated and before you know it, 74,000 crayons pour in from the good people who love Johns Hopkins All Children’s, and who appreciate hard-working and exhausted nurses who could use a little quiet in their EC.

Now the Emergency Center is flush with color from Burnt Sienna to Wild Watermelon, keeping kids happier than Cotton Candy pink throughout each visit.


From Kidney Failure to Academic Success

Britney's kidney may be failing her, but she was determined to succeed in academics.

Read More

Heart Surgery and Hallway Soccer

A heartwarming “first practice” for 15-year-old Wilfre.

Read More

View all MOMENTS