Sweet Charlottes; a place where kids can be kids
Three years ago, she began selling puzzle piece shaped lollipops to raise money for autism awareness. The puzzle piece is that universal symbol for autism.
After doing becoming successful in raising money for autism awareness, she decided she wanted to find a way to touch more children’s lives, not just those diagnosed with autism.
What began as just a vision has now become a reality. Pitman has now opened Sweet Charlottes, the children’s activity center, where she is also still raising money for autism awareness while helping all children.
Co-owners and friends Pitman and Roe Baran opened Sweet Charlottes, which is located at 10255 Main St., Clarence just last week.
“We really are strong believers in embracing any and every child, really encouraging them to use their imagination and creativity and getting back to the basics of just enjoying the simple things,” said Pitman.
This is why she created a space for children to come play, interact with other children and utilize everything that Sweet Charlottes has to offer.
“I think it’s about tapping into the kids’ creativity. I think that so many families, I’m guilty of it as well, are quick to turn on the television or sit down in front of a computer and I think that kids are not always allowed to be kids anymore and that’s what I want to be able to do,” said Pitman. “I want to let kids be kids and play and enjoy themselves.”
At Sweet Charlottes, parents can drop their kids off for a maximum of two hours at a cost of $8 per child, per hour and $5 for an additional child. Pitman said that this could give parents the opportunity to enjoy the other services that Clarence has to offer.
Another option is for the parents to stay with their children and enjoy Sweet Charlottes with them. There is a tree house room with a teepee and beanbag chairs where parents and their children can go read books. There is also the “Craft Café” where the children can choose from the “Craft Menu” which craft they would like to make.
Another important section to Pitman is the mini career center. The kids can choose different careers to act out, such as doctors or firefighters.
She said this area could help “plant the seed of having a dream and a goal and if they’re embraced and encouraged, they can achieve that goal.”
In the near future, children from Autistic Services will be coming to Sweet Charlottes to paint a mural. This mural will be used as a curtain to separate the Craft Café from the rest of the activity center for private birthday parties, which can be booked by calling 359-6510.
For parents who are looking to get holiday shopping done on black Friday, Pitman is also running a special for the two-hour drop off option.
To keep raising awareness for autism, puzzle piece lollipops are sold at Sweet Charlottes and a portion of all the proceeds from the business go towards autism awareness.
Pitman said she would have never been able to fulfill her dream of opening this business without the help and support from her husband Matthew and children Donovan and Charlotte.