Crafter Amy Janderisevits Creates ‘Dolls Like Me’ For Children With Physical Differences

Dolls are one of the most recognizable objects from our childhoods. But the thing is, the ones that we see on toy store shelves are perfect. There are no differences, whatsoever. This issue has been raised by many concerned parents and groups for years which has led many brands to release more inclusive toys. And while this is all well and good, the mass-produced inclusive dolls from Mattel and other brands can’t hold a candle to Amy Janderisevits’ personalized dolls!

Janderisevits’ ‘A Doll Like Me’ project began when she recognized the limited representation offered by toys sold in stores. She felt that despite the brands’ efforts, something was still lacking. Representation is important, but commercial doll brands still have a lot of work to do in this department. Well, Amy wasn’t about to just wait and see what the big names would do about it! Instead, she began creating personalized dolls that look like real children.

 

“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.”

 

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Amy Janderisevits creates personalized dolls for children with visible physical differences

Four years have passed since Amy decided to start making personalized dolls. The whole process starts when she receives a doll request, wherein she is provided with pictures and other important details about the child who will receive the doll. According to the dollmaker, she pays close attention to the child’s ethnicity and physical appearance, especially their most distinctive features. Once she’s gathered all these important details, she heads over to her wooden table to work her magic. She needs about seven hours to bring her plush creation to life.

 

“Every single doll tells a story and some are raw and heartbreaking and emotional. I am privileged to be a part of their stories and honored to get a glimpse into their world. I don’t take that lightly.”

 

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The dolls are her way of celebrating and empowering children

This kind-hearted dollmaker estimates that she has most likely made over 300 of these stunning dolls already. And each and every one of those dolls bear a striking resemblance to their owners. She has made dolls for child amputees, children with medical conditions and even children who’ve been injured in wars.

 

“We need to see each child as a work of art – a masterpiece. While doll-making is an art form, the real canvas is the child him/herself. If we want to become a society that values differences and inclusivity, this is where we start. We start with something as simple as a doll – a human likeness.”

 

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Janderisevits’ Instagram page is filled with heartwarming pictures of children happily clinging and embracing their plush friends. The children who receive her handiwork often carry them around, especially when they go to the hospital. Janderisevits knows that her creations can’t magically take the child’s pain away. But she hopes that her creation will be a source of strength and comfort for the child instead.

 

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The children who get Janderisevits’ creations absolutely adore her work

 

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Keagan always takes ‘Chip’ with him everywhere he goes

 

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You can support Janderisevits’ mission

Janderisevits shares that A Doll Like Me is actually a 501c3 non-profit organization. This means that as long as people continue to donate to her mission, she won’t need to charge families for her creations. At the moment, there is a fundraiser being held with a goal of raising $240,000.

 

“Typically, parents or caregivers pay for the dolls – about $100 with shipping per doll. When they can’t afford it, I’ll find a way to cover it myself. Whatever the costs, whatever I must 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.”

 

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She didn’t really expect for her work to gain so much attention from the public. But the success of her mission made her realize that she wasn’t alone in her need to make more people feel seen, celebrated and empowered. “On a bigger scale, it tells you how desperate we are for representation,” she said. “I’m changing the narrative one person at a time.” Donate to A Doll Like Me here.

Source: Instagram