Keypoint Intelligence Helps Color A Smile Color Lots of Smiles
How a non-profit uses the power of art for good
In 1986, Color A Smile began when Founder/Director Jerry Harris thought about how the drawings and artwork done by children on his friend’s fridge could be used to help spread the same feeling of joy to those in need. Starting with assisted living facilities, the organization quickly grew to include locations across the country as well as mailings to US military service members on overseas tours. Harris said that many subscribers have gladly shared the images in the barracks as a way to spread the positivity, and the program has continued to grow.
“The pandemic has increased our numbers dramatically,” said Jerry Harris. “More and more people want to participate, and our concentration has been to find more avenues to distribute [the pictures]. Meals on Wheels will be where we see more distribution in the future.” Harris noted that partnering with the group has allowed them to spread more of their subscriptions and believes will double the impact that Color A Smile and Meals on Wheels has on the community.
Over the last 30+ years, Color A Smile has sent close to 2 million drawings from schools, scouting troops, and volunteers of any age. These artists are given several choice of images and drawing prompts that range from coloring book-like pictures to near-blank pages with phrases like “keep smiling” or “summer is fun” printed at the top to allow for maximum creativity on the artist’s part. These images are printed, colored/drawn upon, and then sent to the organization’s PO box where they are collected and distributed to those in need of something cheerful to brighten their day.
Keypoint Intelligence has been proud to help Color A Smile spread their good vibes and message over the years. And the feeling is mutual.
“Keypoint Intelligence has been tremendous to us,” Harris said. “Back in the day, when we didn’t have enough drawings, [Keypoint Intelligence] used to make color copies of our drawings as part of your testing printers. We used to get cases of our drawings back.” (It’s worth noting that now that he has a greater number of volunteers, we still help Color A Smile by printing flyers and other more administrative documents during our printer tests.)
|Examples of Color A Smile Pages|
Those wishing to receive pictures can sign up for a yearly subscription with the option for 2 drawings per month or 10 drawings per month. While Color A Smile does have donation suggestions for its subscriptions, the website does note that they are suggested so that those in need can still receive something to smile about while others can offer more to keep the organization going.
When asked how people can get involved, Harris said, “We would like to see Color A Smile continue to grow.” He also brought up how many businesses involved in improving their corporate social responsibility (CSR) are looking to Color A Smile. “We are getting businesses that are using us as part of their employee welcome package. They take it home. They color it. And it becomes something that a company can use to show what it stands for…and it brings in a new family. [CSR] was not on the radar when we started.”