Representation is a powerful force for good. When a child can hold a doll that looks like them, it helps them to feel seen and accepted. But not every child can have a doll that reflects their characteristics, particularly if they have visible physical differences. Amy Jandrisevits is a former social worker who has made it her mission to craft unique dolls that are look-alikes for special children. Her non-profit organization called A Doll Like Me gives kids the opportunity to see themselves in the toys they play with. The impacts of her creative talents are life-changing for the recipient. If you need any proof, just look at the joy on each of their faces!
Each custom-made doll is free of charge for the family, which is made possible through donations made to the organization. Jandrisevits puts her heart and soul into each doll and pays careful attention to the distinctive physical characteristics of the child it's modeled after. She understands the effect and importance the toy will have for her future recipient, and she works tirelessly to make each doll perfect for them. This means she can spend up to seven hours on one figure.
“Every single doll tells a story and some are raw and heartbreaking and emotional,” she told My Modern Met in 2020. “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.”
The response to the dolls has only confirmed Jandrisevits' convictions and passion for creating. “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,” she said. “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.”
Learn more about A Doll Like Me and how you can support Jandrisevits’ mission of representation and inclusivity for all.