10-year-old crayon activist Bellen Woodard just became Time Magazine’s “Kid of the Year” honorees.
Woodard rose to prominence after creating her “More Than Peach” project, which used crayons as a way to tackle perceptions about skin colors among children. Woodard said it all started when she was in class, and one of her peers asked her for the “skin color” crayon in class, alluding to wanting the peach crayon.
Woodard quickly realized that there was no crayon color included that represented her actual skin color as the only Black girl in her grade. After speaking with her mother about why the incident bothered her Bellen returned to school. She started asking her classmates “which color they would like” to use for their “skin,” since it “could be any beautiful color.” Eventually, peach no longer became the assumed color, and Bellen, unbeknownst to her, had sparked a movement.
She began using her own money to create art bundles to donate to classrooms and schools, filled with specific multicultural crayons named “skin color,” along with the name of a natural resource. These specialized Woodard crayons also came with curriculum resources for students. Since she started in 2019, Woodard has already donated more than $40,000 worth of art bundles via the More Than Peach project. She gained recognition by Scholastic Magazine, the Virginia General Assembly, and having her “Bellen’s Palette Packet” included in the permanent collection at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture.
Now, Woodard is making history as the youngest honoree chosen to become Time Magazine’s “Kid of the Year.” The 10-year-old was in the top 5 of over 5000 candidates considered. Each honoree will receive $5,000 towards their cause, a chance to be a Time Reporter and appear in the magazine. Woodard was surprised with the honor by iconic gymnast Simone Biles.
Photo Courtesy of Tosha Woodard/More Than Peach Project
“It feels really good because I want everyone to not feel dis-included and to know that they’re amazing just the way they are,” Bellen told Biles.
Woodard’s crayons have impacted classrooms and children worldwide, and teachers and students alike have applauded her efforts. In addition to her many accolades, Bellen was named an honoree by the Anti-Defamation League, citing her movement’s impact. She has also released a clothing line featuring her doodles with New York designer Stacy Igel entitled “Boy Meets Girl x Crayon Activist,” inspired by her motto, “Be you. Brilliant.”
At just 10-years-old, Woodard has already done so much good in the world. We can’t wait to see what she does next!