It used to be that children’s dolls came in one model—skinny, blonde, and blue-eyed Barbie. Fortunately, this has changed drastically over the years and kids toys are becoming more inclusive than ever. One former social worker out of Wisconsin has made it her mission to create a more equal representation in children’s toys by custom making her own dolls for children with disabilities.
Wisconsin native Amy Jandrisevits is the founder of an incredible business called A Doll Like Me.
The project’s aim is to create custom dolls that have the same characteristics as their owners with disabilities and rare conditions.
Amy was inspired by the lack of diversity in dolls for children who have disabilities. After years of working as a social assistant in the pediatric oncology unit, Amy started creating the custom dolls.
“Even when I was a social worker, I thought it was important to have dolls available to the kids because everyone should have something to hold. Everyone should have a doll that looks like them,” Amy writes on her personal Facebook.
She goes above and beyond to make sure each doll resembles its owner as closely as possible. Though each creation is unique, every doll is made with a smile.
“It’s so difficult to tell a kid ‘you’re beautiful just the way you are, but you’re never going to see a doll that looks like you,” Amy writes.
Each doll typically costs around $100, but if a family can’t afford to pay that Amy will do whatever it takes to make sure their child can still have a doll.
“When they can’t afford it, I’ll find a way to cover it myself. Whatever it costs, whatever I have to do, I’m going to get a doll in the hands of these children. This isn’t just a business. It’s the right thing to do,” Amy writes.
So far, A Doll Like Me has provided 300 dolls for children around the world.
Amy’s ultimate goal is to turn her passion into a non-profit so that every kid can have their own doll free of charge.
In order to fund these special creations, Amy started a GoFundMe which has already raised $38,000 out of $50,000 goal. Many of the dolls are funded by donations. The former social worker is also working with a local children’s hospital to identify kids whose quality of life could be improved by a doll that looks just like them.