Many of us can look back on our youth and remember the toys that we used to play with. They may have just been play instruments for those who were looking on, but for us, they were a serious part of our life. Large companies are taking advantage of the fact that children like to play by creating dolls that have the characteristics of humans, including different skin tones and genders. A woman by the name of Amy Jandrisevits, however, is doing something even better with her “A Doll Like Me” line. She feels that dolls are “therapeutic, validating, and comforting,” so she is providing something for children with disabilities.
“I am a doll-maker who feels that every kid, regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, medical issue, or body type, should look into the sweet face of a doll and see their own,” she writes on her project’s GoFundMe page. “I talk a lot about changing the narrative – changing WHO we see and HOW we see them. I believe that we are not only connected to one another, but we are obligated to take care of the people in our village – the global village, so to speak – and it is our responsibility to make sure that everyone has a place at the table.” She’s doing her part to make sure every child – wheelchair, skin marks, scars, and all – has a place at the table.”
I can’t even 😍 He belongs in a commercial. Let’s change WHO we see and HOW we see them. What if your words can change…
Jandrisevits used to be a pediatric oncology social worker and she would use play therapy to help children adjust to those situations they couldn’t control. Sometimes there weren’t any dolls that looked like the children she was working with and that made it difficult. She said, “Play therapy is how kids work through all of that, and dolls are an integral part of the process. What you ideally want is for a child to see him or herself in the doll that you are using because, again, shouldn’t all kids be able to see themselves?” She said that small differences, such as a birthmark or skin coloring, may make a slight difference for able-bodied children, but it means absolutely everything to those who deal with disabilities.
That is when she decided to make a change. Amy stitches the dolls to look exactly like the children who will play with them. Each doll starts with a piece of fabric and it is custom-made to the child that will eventually call it their own. Typically, the dolls are purchased for their children by parents or caregivers. There may also be instances in which she sends out free dolls. “It’s that important,” she affirms. “If we truly want to talk about the overall health of a child, we need to promote a healthy and positive self-identity.” Amy has partnered with children’s hospitals to identify those who would benefit from such a doll. She uses the money raised from her GoFundMe fundraiser to supply those dolls.
Although it didn’t start out that way, the “A Doll Like Me” is now a nonprofit. Amy says, “Many kids have never have had the opportunity to see their sweet faces reflected in a doll. It’s hard to tell a child that they are beautiful but follow it with, ‘But you’ll never see yourself in anything that looks like you.’ I think that a doll is a tangible way to show kindness.”
You can contribute by making a donation on her GoFundMe page.SKM: below-content placeholder