Entrepreneur Spotlight: Cape Cod Toy Library

A screen-free, family play learning environment...
Cape Cod Toy Library's prototype at West Barnstable's First Lutheran Church (Courtesy photo)

Deb Willsea has a vision of a screen-free family play learning environment and toy lending library that provides access to hundreds of high-quality play materials as well as to child development experts to help parents who want their children to have positive learning experiences that also prepare them for life. This vision is modeled on the successful Toy Library in Rochester, NY that she developed 30 years ago. Even with her previous experience, when she decided to open the Cape Cod Toy Library, she sought out help from Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) Cape Cod.

Deb says of her experience in the EforAll business accelerator,

 “The EforAll classes and my mentor team helped me plan for Cape Cod Toy Library to be a sustainable non-profit business. It has truly been an “accelerator” class that rapidly moved through topics from value proposition, to market segments, to social media, to legal, insurance and accounting practices, to presentations. The EforAll leaders and class instructors as well as the mentors each gave specific and direct feedback that helped me strengthen my value proposition, my presentation/speaking skills and reaffirmed the critical importance of developing Cape Cod Toy Library for Cape children and families. I’m stronger and more skilled and prepared today, thanks to EforAll.”

Parents are struggling to counter the ever present technology pull that often deprives children of critically needed real-life interactive play experiences that build social skills and healthy relationships. The Cape Cod Toy Library directly addresses the need for play that supports all areas of children’s development to build skills needed for success in school, work and life. At Cape Cod Toy Library, its Toy Lending Library and accompanying “Family Play Days” are staffed by child development experts to support and empower children and the key adults in their lives like parents, child care providers, tutors, and mental health professionals.

Cape Cod Toy Library has launched a beta version, a prototype, at West Barnstable’s First Lutheran Church located at 1663 Main Street (6A). First Lutheran Church has generously donated designated space for Cape Cod Toy Library. “Family Play Days” are each Friday & Saturday 10-2. Cape Cod Toy Library is using information and support gained during this beta test to work towards its ultimate goal to expand hours and services, support more visitors and members and target populations, with a permanent space of 4,000-5,000+ square feet as a hub for operations and outreach programs and a Mobile Toy Library to reach isolated families and targeted populations across the Cape.

About Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll)

Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) is a nonprofit organization that partners with communities nationwide to help under-resourced individuals successfully start and grow a business through intensive business training, mentorship and an extended professional support network.  To learn more about EforAll, please visit EforAll Cape Cod.  

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