+
upworthy
GoFundMe Heroes

This doll maker gives every child a custom, handmade doll that looks exactly like them

This doll maker gives every child a custom, handmade doll that looks exactly like them
Photos courtesy of Amy Jandrisevits
True

Growing up, the kinds of toys you play with can make all the difference. When I was a child, I always felt like the way I looked was wrong because there were no dolls, cartoon characters, or actresses that looked like me. Thankfully, things are changing. Bigger companies like Mattel are now producing dolls in different shapes, genders, and skin tones.

But gaps in the market still exist, especially for kids with special needs, physical disabilities, and skin disorders. That's where Amy Jandrisevits comes in. With her A Doll Like Me line, Amy makes it her personal mission to make custom dolls for kids who typically don't see themselves on store shelves. For some of these children, seeing themselves in human likeness is life-changing.

Photo courtesy of Amy Jandrisevits

As a former pediatric oncology social worker, Amy used play therapy in order to help children adjust to situations that felt out of their control. This was difficult to do when none of the dolls she had access to looked like the children she worked with.

"Play therapy is how kids work through all of that, and dolls are an integral part of the process," Amy says. "For someone who doesn't have the privilege of seeing him or herself in the places that matter, a doll that looks like them can be so validating."

Amy's childhood love of dolls combined with her passion for social work have allowed her to turn her A Doll Like Me campaign into a nonprofit, something she never could have imagined. She's sure that her 8-year-old self would be thrilled at the thought of using dolls to change a narrative for so many children.

Photo courtesy of Amy Jandrisevits

"I am a doll-maker who feels that every child, 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 the GoFundMe page for her project. "I talk a lot about changing the narrative, changing who we see and how we see them. Imagine what representation and inclusion look like from a child's perspective. When they see themselves in the places that matter, that becomes an inclusive message, and that is what shapes a child's self-concept. Diversity and representation in dolls can be a game changer for children."

Amy is doing her part to make sure every child – ones with limb differences, albinism, cancer, birthmarks, scars, burns – feels valued. Her goal is to normalize, represent, and validate, and at a very basic level, to offer something that is soft and cuddly and provides comfort when a child needs it most.

Photo courtesy of Amy Jandrisevits

To date, Amy has made over 450 dolls and every single story is as heartwarming as the next. Dolls are typically requested by parents or caregivers, but in recent years, Amy has received requests from doctors and teachers, because they realize the therapeutic value in play. And thanks to its nonprofit status and donations from GoFundMe, not one family has had to pay for their own doll.

"Sometimes I know that the child who is about to receive the doll is living on borrowed time and when he or she dies, this is going to be even more important for their family."

Amy says that she never takes this doll-making opportunity for granted and she often uses her platform to talk about what inclusion and representation look like for a child. She believes that it is her personal obligation to advocate for the children that she is privileged to know.

"We all bring a skillset to the table and we need to understand that sometimes small gestures impact other people in ways we cannot begin to fathom. We have a multitude of reasons to NOT do something – 'I'm too busy, broke, old, young, sick, afraid' – but there are even more reasons why we CAN, and should, do something."

Photo courtesy of Amy Jandrisevits

Donate to Amy's GoFundMe and help a child see themselves as they are through a hand-crafted doll.

Helping someone in need is as easy as a click away. Check out our fundraising toolkit and start a GoFundMe that gives back to your community.

A map of the United States post land-ice melt.


Land ice: We got a lot of it.

Considering the two largest ice sheets on earth — the one on Antarctica and the one on Greenland — extend more than 6 million square miles combined ... yeah, we're talkin' a lot of ice.

But what if it was all just ... gone? Not like gone gone, but melted?

Keep ReadingShow less
Kevin Parry / Twitter

Toronto-based animator and video wizard Kevin Parry has gone mega-viral for his mind-boggling collection of videos where he turns himself into random objects.

In a series of quick clips he changes into everything from a pumpkin to a bright yellow banana and in most of the videos, he appears to suffer a ridiculous death. The videos combine studio trickery with a magician's flair.

Keep ReadingShow less

It's rare enough to capture one antler being shed

For those not well versed in moose facts, the shedding of antlers is normally a fairly lengthy process. It happens only once a year after mating season and usually consists of a moose losing one antler at a time.

It’s incredibly rare for a bull moose to lose both at the same time—and even more rare that someone would actually catch it on film.

That’s why shed hunter (yes, that’s a real term) and woodsman Derek Burgoyne calls his footage of the phenomenon a “one-in-a-million” shot.

Keep ReadingShow less
OriginalAll photos belong to Red Méthot, who gave me permission to share them here.

Chloé was born at 32 weeks.


Every single day, babies across the world are born prematurely, which means that they're born before 37 weeks of gestation.

In Canada, about 29,000 infants are born prematurely each year, roughly 1 in every 13. But in the United States, around 400,000 to 500,000 are born early. That's about 1 in every 8 to 10 babies born in the U.S.!

Red Méthot, a Canadian photographer and student, decided to capture the resilience of many of these kids for a school photography project.

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

Teacher tries to simulate a dictatorship in her classroom, but the students crushed her

"I’ve done this experiment numerous times, and each year I have similar results. This year, however, was different."

Each year that I teach the book "1984" I turn my classroom into a totalitarian regime under the guise of the "common good."

I run a simulation in which I become a dictator. I tell my students that in order to battle "Senioritis," the teachers and admin have adapted an evidence-based strategy, a strategy that has "been implemented in many schools throughout the country and has had immense success." I hang posters with motivational quotes and falsified statistics, and provide a false narrative for the problem that is "Senioritis."

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by insung yoon on Unsplash

The MC Hammer dance though.

Father and daughter dances are a traditional staple of weddings. They tend to range somewhere between tearfully sweet and hilariously cringey. But sometimes, as was the case of Brittany Revell and her dad Kelly, they can be so freakin’ cool that millions of people become captivated.

Brittany and Kelly’s video, which amassed, I kid you not, more than 40 million views on TikTok, shows the pair grooving in sneakers (Brittany’s were white because, hello, wedding dress) to their “dance through the decades.”

It all began with Young MC’s “Bust a Move,” to give you a clear picture. And bust a move, they did.

Though the duo did a handful of iconic moves—the tootsie roll, the MC Hammer dance, the Carlton, just to name a few—“the dougie,” made famous by Cali Swag District, was the obvious fan favorite.
Keep ReadingShow less