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While the sound of an ice cream truck may be a familiar tune of summer, one Loveland family is working to make those with special needs more familiar faces to be found inside the truck’s service window.Joel and Freida Wegener have ten biological kids. Two of their adult kids, Josh, 18, and Mary Kate, 21, have Down Syndrome. In looking at the glass ceiling of resources for adults with different abilities, Joel Wegener decided to create his own employment opportunities for his kids.In April, he and his kids opened up an ice cream truck business. The family purchased the truck from another special needs family in Indiana. Freida Wegener came up with the name “Special Neat Treats” as a joyful nod to the special needs employment aspect of the business.Since its launch in spring, Joel Wegener said sales have “exceeded expectations” with close to 5,000 dessert units sold. The family business says it started with sales through events and driving down streets in Loveland and now has spread throughout Greater Cincinnati. The Wegeners say their most popular item is the SpongeBob popsicle. Ice cream cones, chocolate bars, frozen candy bars and sweet treats also make up the menu.Wegener says the goal is to help teach his kids financial, communication and social skills. He says he also wants to create more engaging conversations about informing communities about the hiring potential of people with different abilities.“It’s much more than selling ice cream,” Joel Wegener 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.”Joel Wegener says he plans to continue the business next year with hopes of expanding his fleet of trucks.To learn more about Special Neat Treats, how to book an event or where to find the truck’s next stop, click here.

While the sound of an ice cream truck may be a familiar tune of summer, one Loveland family is working to make those with special needs more familiar faces to be found inside the truck’s service window.

Joel and Freida Wegener have ten biological kids. Two of their adult kids, Josh, 18, and Mary Kate, 21, have Down Syndrome. In looking at the glass ceiling of resources for adults with different abilities, Joel Wegener decided to create his own employment opportunities for his kids.

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In April, he and his kids opened up an ice cream truck business. The family purchased the truck from another special needs family in Indiana. Freida Wegener came up with the name “Special Neat Treats” as a joyful nod to the special needs employment aspect of the business.

Since its launch in spring, Joel Wegener said sales have “exceeded expectations” with close to 5,000 dessert units sold. The family business says it started with sales through events and driving down streets in Loveland and now has spread throughout Greater Cincinnati. The Wegeners say their most popular item is the SpongeBob popsicle. Ice cream cones, chocolate bars, frozen candy bars and sweet treats also make up the menu.

Wegener says the goal is to help teach his kids financial, communication and social skills. He says he also wants to create more engaging conversations about informing communities about the hiring potential of people with different abilities.

“It’s much more than selling ice cream,” Joel Wegener 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.”

Joel Wegener says he plans to continue the business next year with hopes of expanding his fleet of trucks.

To learn more about Special Neat Treats, how to book an event or where to find the truck’s next stop, click here.

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