When their son, Corey, was diagnosed with autism at age two, the Ziemer family chose to celebrate the joy of each success rather than dwell on the challenges of autism. One of his greatest successes is his gift for drawing. Corey started drawing before he could talk and used his creations to communicate with his family. Today, art is more than communication to Corey. It’s a passion that he truly pours his “heart and soul” into.
In the fall of 2017, Corey’s Heart & Soul Designs was born. Corey’s mom, Tisha, shared that, “the business kind of fell in our laps last year. We have a little art studio in our garage, and Corey was drawing the nativity scene.”
Tisha thought that it was time to have his handmade designs printed professionally. After placing an order for 200 cards, the family shared a post on Facebook which resulted in more than 3,000 card sales, a new business, and even a TV interview.
Tisha said that starting the business was a way to encourage Corey to pursue his passion and also to raise money to support Corey’s future.
“We want Corey to focus on his ABILITIES,” Tisha said. “To become more independent, be productive to society, learn how to present himself to people, feel pride and gain self-esteem and confidence, to grow and thrive, be healthy and happy.”
This year, Corey’s uniquely drawn, colorful creations include Christmas cards, t-shirts, and sweatshirts. The designs include a beautiful nativity scene, a snowman and Christmas tree scene, and a shining angel scene, each handcrafted by Corey.
“Every single thing he does, he wants to bless and make people happy,” Tisha shared with a smile.
Donna Southard at Crazy Me Gifts and Apparel began carrying Corey’s designs last holiday season. Tisha said the Ziemer family is overwhelmed by the support of Crazy Me and the entire community.
“Donna has been incredible. It’s just so heartwarming,” Tisha said. “People share pictures of themselves wearing the shirts…and that’s what we want more than anything – for him to use his talent to bless others. Sometimes, we give him ideas of what to draw, but he does every bit of it by himself.”
Corey’s growth in independence, communication, and life skills has given the family confidence about Corey’s future with autism.
“I hope Corey’s designs can provide hope to someone,” Tisha said. “There is always hope.”
Check out Corey’s designs at Crazy Me Gifts and Apparel located at 227 Williamsburg Square or by calling 270-684-5419. Cards are still available and shirts can be special ordered.