Mary Kate Wegener told her father, “I wanna work with Papa.” Mary Kate’s dad, Joel Wegener, made his daughter’s request a reality. The Ohio dad purchased an ice cream truck so that his two adult children with Down Syndrome could have the opportunity to work and develop skills to help them in the future.
“It was hard to find something that she could really plug into and do,” Wegener told Spectrum News 1. “So when I started mulling over this, it was such a natural to pull them both in.”
“Then once we started talking about this ice cream business, it was just a natural to bring her in and also bring Josh in,” Wegener stated.
Wegener believed the Special Neat Treats ice cream truck would provide an opportunity to teach valuable work and life lessons to his children – Mary Kate, 21, and Josh, 18.
“Some social skills as well as some math skills, and just the whole interaction is just really positive for them,” Wegener said.
The Special Neat Treats name was thought up by mom Freida, as a tribute to those with special needs.
But Wegener hopes that the Special Neat Treats ice cream truck inspires special needs individuals to aspire to do great things.
“Hopefully it’s an encouragement to other people that have special needs kids that there is so much that they can do,” he said. “But, there’s so much that they can do and it gives them so much self-worth to be a part of something.”
Wegener also believes that the family business will help bring awareness about people with Down Syndrome to the community.
“No matter what your family situation is or the dynamics of what’s going on, one thing is there’s hope and there’s joy,” Wegener told WXIX-TV. “And there’s some normality to life and we’re going to do that through this means of sharing an ice cream with you. As much as possible, we want to get out there and share the joy and share hope.”
“On a daily basis we connect with people that care so much about special needs, or they have their own story and to be able to sit in this truck, look out the window and see kids coming screaming and parents bringing their kids,” Wegener explained. “Almost every time I go out I find a family with special needs or with something some connections, it’s just been an unbelievable journey.”
“I see the magic of it,” Wegener said. “I see this as being every summer for a long time. I’m not getting any younger, but I feel younger when I’m out here with the kids giving them ice cream.”
“Being able to work with these little rascals is fun too,” Wegener added. “Never a dull moment.”
Loveland father buys ice cream truck, runs it with 2 kids to change the game for those with speci…