Chicago mom turns kids’ medical challenges into inclusive business

Life handed Candice Blansett-Cummins a left turn when it came to raising her kids. Her son, 7, has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and her daughter, 11, with Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. “You make lemons into the lemonade no matter what they are,” says the creator behind Wishcraft, an arts and crafts workshop at 2312 W. Roscoe, Chicago.

So when she introduced gluten-free art materials, green cleaning products, natural-made oil paints, she wasn’t just jumping on the gluten-free, allergy-free bandwagon.

“I thought twice about taking my business in that direction because I had a little bit of hesitation about turning something so awful for our family into something that maybe would support our family,” she says.

But Blansett-Cummins says she realized that by creating an environment that works for her children she was creating an atmosphere where other children would feel comfortable, too. She says she wanted a place where children with different needs would not feel singled out.

Check out the Crafter School Program, an after-school program where kids work on homework, reading and a creative project. Cost is $75 per week. The studio also offers arts and crafts classes.

“In traditional fine arts education, you are taught there’s a right and wrong way. We don’t have mistakes here, we have what we call left turns.” At Wishcraft, kids are encouraged to follow the left turn to see where it leads them, she says.

Much like in life.

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