Tinley Park sisters create business for children with special needs

ByHosea Sanders and Marissa N. Isang via WLS logo
Sunday, November 5, 2017
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Two Tinley Park sisters are combining their backgrounds in business and special education to create and ecosystem of impact.

TINLEY PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Two Tinley Park sisters are combining their backgrounds in business and special education to create and ecosystem of impact. They created a company called EarlyVention.

Melissa and Elizabeth are the brains behind the box subscription service EarlyVention.

The boxes include a readymade activities and stories for children with disabilities.

"Every parent wanted to do more with their child. There was kind of this gap between school, therapy and home life and so a lot of parents were looking for materials that didn't have the resources... So I tried to find them and couldn't find them and decided we need to make them," said Melissa Ames. "We produce the product based upon a themed activity box. So each box has a new theme like a popular children's theme like trains, planting flowers or cars. So we use that theme throughout all the products in the box."

This team isn't just focusing on children with disabilities but adults as well giving them the chance to learn life skills in the creation process of the boxes.

"What's nice is that we are working adults with special needs and those with autism as well so they are doing anything from laminating to sorting to cutting and helping us assemble the activities that go into each box," said Elizabeth Ames Wolleck.

The online company launched in 2015 and has seen quick growth.

"We are nationwide we are in 14 states currently and that's just from words of mouth," said Elizabeth Ames Wolleck.

"Most of our customers are parents talking to other parents and saying you have to try this with your child," said Melissa Ames. "Therapists talking to each other and teachers talking to each other so this year we've had a big push on purchases from school districts and therapeutic clinics."

Schools like Keshet Therapeutic day school in Northbrook see these boxes as a great resource.

"Number one it is so amazing to be able to sit there with kids and do these activities and sensory boxes with them and not have to spend hours and hours of putting them together. It gives them an opportunity to be with the kids," said Jen Phillips, director of recreation and programming at Keshet.

Melissa and Elizabeth say their mother dedicated her life to working in special education and now they have set out to do the same.

If you want to learn more about EarlyVention, visit www.earlyvention.com.