It’s often said that the most life-changing ideas come from an unmet need–and the idea that is featured in today’s story perfectly illustrates this sentiment. The idea, which has ultimately turned into a business and charity, is called A Doll Like Me. The founder, a Wisconsin dollmaker by the name of Amy Jandrisevits, has made it her mission to provide children with disabilities with dolls that perfectly reflect their physical appearances.
Jandrisevits achieves this by replicating all of the parts of the child’s body that makes them so unique, the very features that are left unrepresented on mass-produced dolls.
In an interview with Journal Sentinel, Jandrisevits explains how she created a very niche business. “Four years ago, somebody asked me if I could do a doll for her daughter who had just had her leg amputated,” she recalled. “And I thought, ‘of course!’ I kind of did a Google search to see what was out there already, and there really wasn’t anything. So I did it.”
After initially receiving a high-demand for the dolls–and realizing that not every deserving child would have the means to receive one, Jandrisevits started a GoFundMe page to help raise money to cover supplies and shipping costs. On the page, the dollmaker extraordinaire gives us some insight on the simple, yet very powerful, reason why she has made it her mission to make customized dolls that reflect all bodies.
Doll-making has allowed me to combine my love of dolls with my passion for social work. I have always been disappointed in the lack of diversity in dolls. So, as my mom taught me, if you don’t like it, do something about it!
And, “do something about it” she has! Though the dolls can be purchased by parents and caregivers for about $100, Jandrisevits does not want any child to be without their special ‘mini-me’. To help solve the cost issue, the dollmaker partnered with a children’s hospital to help identify the kids currently going through treatment who need the dolls the most. She ensures that all funds raised on the platform will go directly to these special kiddos.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, her campaign and craftsmanship have gained a lot of attention, which is why GoFundMe named Jandrisevits its “Hero of December.” A very well-deserved title!
Talk about an amazing mission! We are so happy to hear that children can finally play with dolls that reflect what makes them so special. To see just how much this means to the recipients of Jandrisevits’ creations, watch the video below of a 14-year-old girl, born with a condition that has left her with two fingers on her left hand, first set eyes on her very own custom-made doll. As Jandrisevits brilliantly puts it, “I always tell people if you want to know why this is important and why I continue doing this, watch that video.”
We can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this incredible mission! Are you a fan of Amy Jandrisevits’ work? Do you think that her dolls help kiddos? Are you interested in gifting one to a child that you know?