One of the most extraordinary, interesting, and memorable "accessorations" I have seen lately is CASTAWAYS, a collection of kits designed to help kids create art. Each kit is a collection of various recycled cardboard pieces, taken from safe and clean manufacturing castoffs, packaged together for children to create individual "artworks" and to learn about ecology!!!!
The kits are charming and I love the shapes & colors of the elements, but what is really, really most impressive is why they were created .............They are a fund raising tool for Trash For Teaching, a Los Angeles based not-for-profit organization started in 2004 by Steve & Kathy Stanton. Parents of a young son, the Stanton's saw the wonderful, creative objects he had made at school from disguarded materials. They began to think about all of the salvageable materials available from their own box manufacturing business and how the "stuff" could be used creatively by kids ....... and they came up with this brilliant idea to give back to the community!!! They started a foundation which "collects clean and safe cast-off materials from trash manufacturing processes (that would otherwise become trash) and repurposes them as educational resources." By repurposing waste, they created an environmentally based program that treats children to an incredible arts education, including materials, workshops and teacher visits. The project features Treasure Trucks, former U.S. Postal trucks that have been redesigned as a moving arts workshops ..... they even run on vegetable oil collected from local restaurants!!! Traveling between schools, filled with discarded "stuff" these trucks, or art classrooms, are a never ending source of delight to children!!!
"Trash for Teaching is a not-for-profit dedicated to environmental awareness and education through creative reuse. By making materials readily available to schools and teachers, we bridge the gap between the excess of waste created in manufacturing processes and the lack of materials in public education. Use of our materials also encourages critical thinking and stimulates the imagination by challenging children and teachers to find creative applications for non-traditional objects."