I’m Bellen — the world’s 1ST CRAYON ACTIVIST™ is a young entrepreneur dedicated to affirming empathy and teaching schools to thrive with multicultural crayons. She is the creator of More Than Peach crayons, and the goal is to get multicultural crayons in the hands of every student so that no kid feels “disincluded!” This happened after my “many beautiful colors” response changed the skin-color crayon language in my own classroom and school. (I’ve always been the single African-American girl in my class and grade and I’ve also always LOVED school.) I spoke with my mom about what to do when friends asked for THE “skin-color” crayon and she made a suggestion... but I came up with my own colorful solution! And it helped everyone around me, and me, too — grow! I’m also now 10, a 5th grader, and a member of American Mensa — so in addition to my afro — learning is one of my special things!
And in Spring 2019, my More Than Peach™ Project was born. I started donating to students using money I’d saved with the goal of donating to 80,000 students in my community — leaving out no one — because it was very important to me that all kids, teachers, and families were part of the conversation. Bellen’s More Than Peach Project™ has since become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and has also inspired the “big brand” and other large corporations to make big changes! My messages and exclusive products are created to empower students; build awareness; support opportunities in gifted education; and dismantle "perception gaps"— providing an enriching experience to students and adults and creating a platform for all to be heard!
So after lots of hard work and your support, I’m SO EXCITED to offer More Than Peach™ exclusive Palette Packets, More Than Peach™ multicultural crayons, and my sketchpads to share with kids everywhere — to further the empathy and curiosity of all kids. I created More Than Peach multicultural crayons to best represent a genuine mission and spirit and to allow me to reach more students. “Be you. Brilliant.” #MoreThanPeach is about #MoreThanCrayons.
Please note that I am not a partner to the “big brand” and began my project by donating products to spread needed messages, build empathy, and teach empathy in schools. I was also confused that once a single crayon was named “flesh” and that more recently friends called only the peach crayon “skin color” and I wanted to change that.
"There's no coloring rule book...now back to my drawing." ❤️-Bellen
Meet Bellen in the Back-to-School Cover Story (Aug.2020) of Scholastic Magazine!
From The More than Peach Team
Bellen Woodard is the 10-year-old Founder of Bellen’s More Than Peach™ Project and the World’s 1st Crayon Activist™. Since spring of 2019, Bellen has been the creative genius behind the start and expansion of The More Than Peach Project — the vision and philanthropic effort she imagined to place multicultural crayons in the hands of all students, helping to teach empathy in schools.
Bellen’s project has since gone on to become a national movement and is also credited as being the influence behind increased accessibility of items by a leading art brand and influencing many others to reconsider and expand product inclusion. (Bellen is not a partner of the leading brand and we ask that you consider this when highlighting her work and products.) Bellen’s relentless work and empathetic spirit have allowed her to build a growing and successful nonprofit and the More Than Peach brand to include her own innovative line of exclusive More Than Peach multicultural and rainbow crayons and more!
And she is making history. Bellen’s More Than Peach crayons are now being permanently held by the Virginia Museum of History and Culture (VMHC)! The Virginia General Assembly, Virginia’s legislative body, also passed the “Bellen Bill” in recognition of Bellen’s visionary leadership by way of her More Than Peach Project as well as her shown academic excellence. Owning More Than Peach crayons is owning a piece of history!
But most of all, Bellen Woodard is a 10-year-old who works hard, plays harder, and strives to make the most of her spaces and to change the world...one crayon at a time.
“Bellen’s ability to honor and understand her value while recognizing others without exclusion is inspiring to watch. When the suggestion was made to her to offer the brown crayon instead of the peach, Bellen very thoughtfully declined--thinking critically and seeking a more inclusive solution. Her response managed to change the interactions in her classroom from that point forward. It reminds us adults of the wisdom, leadership, and unlimited potential of our youth and the importance of showing both courage & humility in our spaces."
- Loudoun Diversity Council
Special thanks to each of the following outstanding supporters for your 2020 Award or Recognition: