Lesley KellyBy Wendy Binns

Entrepreneur Lesley Kelly’s company lil’ ol’ me is a children’s clothing and accessories line focusing on soft, organic fabrics for comfort and ultimate playing power. Aside from outfitting children in comfy clothes, she’s raising money for their future through the lil’ ol’ me Making a BIG Difference foundation (the “foundation for the lil’ nation”). How does she get the funds? One lollipop at a time.

Lollipop Lane is becoming popular for its 6-inch Swarvoski crystal bracelets, ideal for children’s wrists. They’re sold in local boutiques, The Lovett School, Learning Express Buckhead and Bloomingdales. They are packaged in colorful lollipops with a poem inside: “This gift is for you, full of colors that glow. Wear this bracelet and smile, you’ve helped a child grow!” One hundred percent of Lollipop Lane’s profits go to the Making a BIG Difference foundation.

Lesley says that Lollipop Lane was just a little idea she had that snowballed into something big. It started when Lesley raised money for a friend’s child who had been diagnosed with cancer. She beaded children’s bracelets and, in a short time, had raised over $9,000. That’s when she realized the power of what she could do and decided to start Lollipop Lane to fund therapy and scholarships for children with autism. Lesley says, “It was just lil’ ol’ me making bracelets.”

Autism is a disorder that affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills. It usually appears within the first three years of a child’s life. It is part of a group of disorders called autism spectrum disorders (ASD) categorizing the different degrees of severity. Lesley’s personal experience as a child-care provider launched her passion to educate about autism. A little girl in her day care was not diagnosed with autism and suffered misunderstanding from other children and adults. After much urging for the parents to do testing, the little girl was diagnosed and received much needed help.

The lil’ ol’ me Web site explains: “Early intervention is critical to a child’s progress. It can mean the difference of getting your child in kindergarten with the rest of his/her peers or not. A child can be diagnosed, as early as 18 months and as stated, this is critical.”

You can meet Lesley on Saturday, March 20, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Children’s Consignment Sale at The Salvation Army (Gymnasium), 2090 North Druid Hills Rd. The sale is organized by the Intown Atlanta Parents of Multiples Club, www.intownatlantapomc.com. Lesley says: “Lots of families cannot afford to buy things new, and many are turning to consignment. Why not have one-stop shopping?!”

Lesley Kelly, CEO, lil’ ol’ me, www.lilolme.com, (860) 985-9500.

To nominate a business for Companies That Care, please e-mail wendy@AtlantaINtownPaper.com.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.