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Ohio father buys an ICE CREAM truck to create jobs for his two adult children with Down Syndrome

A sweet pop! Ohio father buys an ICE CREAM truck to create jobs for his two adult children with Down Syndrome

  • Joe Wegener from Loveland was worried about employment opportunities for his two adult children with Down Syndrome
  • He purchased an ice cream truck from another special needs family in nearby Indiana
  • He operates the truck — which was dubbed Special Neat Treats by his wife Freida — with his son Josh, 18, and daughter Mary Kate, 21 
  • Joe said he is teaching his kids about finances and building their social skills
  • It also shows the community how much people with different abilities can do

An Ohio father worried about employment opportunities for his two adult children with Down Syndrome took it upon himself to purchase an ice cream truck so they they could sell sweet treats.

Joe Wegener from Loveland now operates the truck — which was dubbed Special Neat Treats by his wife Freida — with his son Josh, 18, and daughter Mary Kate, 21.

In addition to keeping his kids employed, the endeavor allows them to learn about finances, build their social skills, and also show the community how much people with different abilities can do.

We scream! An Ohio father worried about employment opportunities for his two adult children with Down Syndrome bought an ice cream truck so they they could sell sweet treats

Sweet! Joe Wegener now operates the truck ¿ which was dubbed Special Neat Treats by his wife Freida ¿ with his son Josh, 18, and daughter Mary Kate, 21

Sweet! Joe Wegener now operates the truck — which was dubbed Special Neat Treats by his wife Freida — with his son Josh, 18, and daughter Mary Kate, 21

Josh and Mary Kate are two of ten children, and Joel and Freida wanted to equip them with the same skills as their other offspring.

Mary Kate had recently finished a career program for people with disabilities, and expressed a desire to work with her dad — so Josh came up with a way to include her and her brother. 

They found another special needs family in nearby Indiana selling an ice cream truck and bought it for themselves.

By April, they were open for business, driving around Cincinnati and holding events.

Joel told WLWT that sales have ‘exceeded expectations,’ with the SpongeBob popsicle in particular their most popular offering.

But in addition to teaching the kids how to deal with money and hold a job, Joel said it’s also a great opportunity to mix with the community. 

They found another special needs family in nearby Indiana selling an ice cream truck and bought it for themselves

By April, they were open for business, driving around Cincinnati and holding events.

On the road: They found another special needs family in nearby Indiana selling an ice cream truck and bought it for themselves. By April, they were open for business

Fun! The endeavor allows them to learn about finances, build their social skills, and also show the community how much people with different abilities can do

Fun! The endeavor allows them to learn about finances, build their social skills, and also show the community how much people with different abilities can do

'Almost every time I go out, I find a family with special needs or with some connection,' he said. 'It's just been an unbelievable journey.'

‘Almost every time I go out, I find a family with special needs or with some connection,’ he said. ‘It’s just been an unbelievable journey.’

‘It’s much more than selling ice cream,’ he said. ‘It’s about an experience for everybody, but to give my kids something to do and show other parents maybe there is something creative, out of the box that we can come up for our family and for our kids to do.’

‘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 kid,’ he added to WXIX

‘Almost every time I go out, I find a family with special needs or with some connection,’ he said. ‘It’s just been an unbelievable journey.’  

Next, Joel hopes to buy more trucks and hire other people with different abilities.

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