CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - With Christmas season coming up, a nationwide program is giving parents a way to put old crayons to use - by recycling them.

It's called the Crayon Initiative.

Crayons are collected, melted down, and turned into new crayons for the University of Virginia Medical Center.

Avery Paladino, a student at Covenant School, brought the project to the area after losing her brother to brain cancer.

She says art is a great way to keep your mind busy during trips to the hospital.

“I've seen kids a lot happier because they have something to do when they're either in the waiting room, or just nervous about what's going to happen next,” says Paladino.

So far, Paladino has collected over 160 pounds of crayons.

If you know of a school that’s interested in setting up a collection site for the crayon recycling program, email Ryan Lightner.