NEW BERLIN — A New Berlin woman is getting national attention for sewing dolls that give kids a feeling of inclusion.
"Dolls for kids who will walk into the store and never see ones like them on the shelves," Amy Jandrisevits said.
Jandrisevits runs her non profit, "A Doll Like Me," from her dining room table. She said it started about four years ago when a mutual friend asked Jandrisevits to make a doll for her daughter who had part of her leg missing. The doll went viral on social media, and suddenly Jandrisevits had hundreds of messages asking if she could do the same for other kids.
Now the former social worker has sewn more than 400 dolls for kids all over the country with physical or medical differences, such as cancer, cochlear implants, limb differences, scars, birthmarks and more. No doll is alike--each is sewn to look just like the child it is for.
"When I get a picture it's kind of like a full circle thing to know that it was sitting here and it was sitting on my kitchen counter where my family was and now it's in somebody's arms," Jandrisevits said.
Jandrisevits has three kids and spends every hour she can to sew the dolls. She said each costs about $100, and she hopes her GoFundMe page will help families who may not be able to pay get help from donors. She prides herself on doing the job on her own--and besides some help here and there, she doesn't want her vocation to become a factory.
Her work was recently featured in PEOPLE Magazine, as well as CBS News and Oprah Magazine. Jandrisevits says it's truly a privilege to get to know these families. Her true goal is to help kids celebrate their differences and help them feel special.
"To look at them and say, 'how cute,' not, 'what's wrong with him,' that's a totally different story," Jandrisevits said.