Most parents would do anything for their children, but parents like Anthony and Michelle Norwood give a little something extra.
According to Michelle Norwood, when she found out her son, Hunter, had Down syndrome she was scared, just like any other person facing challenges. She said he changed her life for the better.
“He is the driving force behind me going back to school and becoming a special education teacher,” Norwood said.
Norwood has been a special education teacher for more than a decade, and she finds inspiration in her students every day.
“Here at Crossville a lot of our special education students work in the break store, they’ll go out early and stock and make the drinks,” Norwood said. “They interact with the students and it really helps them. Plus, they got work skills and money skills. So, I got to thinking how we might implement that outside of school.”
Norwood said she said seeing her students work with others and learn skills helped her feel more confident about Hunter’s future.
“All parents wonder about what their children will do when they grow up and how they will make a way for college or whatever they want to do in life,” Norwood said. “And the older Hunter has gotten, I found myself worrying more and more about what he would do. We live in a small community and there’s not just an abundance of opportunities for people who have a disability.”
Norwood said inspiration usually strikes her at two in the morning, but this idea cropped up during a family trip.
“A few years ago, we were visiting my sister in Memphis and there was an ice cream truck that came through her neighborhood,” Norwood said. “I started thinking that is something that we don’t have around here. I always thought it would be so great to hear the ice cream truck coming, and that’s where the idea was born.”
Norwood decided to build an ice cream truck business for her son, and the name is especially creative.
“It’s called “A Little Something Extra Ice Cream,” and that name plays off of Down syndrome,” Norwood said. “Because it is a result of a triplication of the 21st chromosome, so a person with down syndrome has a little something extra compared to a person who doesn’t.”
Along with the name, the “A Little Something Extra” ice cream truck has many other “extras” that represent something special. Norwood said the truck has bubbles painted on it with photos of other people with an extra chromosome. She said the ice cream truck is for Hunter and other kids with “exceptionalities.”
“I thought we could use the ice cream truck as a learning center, so that’s what we’ve started,” Norwood said. “I think that using this truck is more of a ministry. Not just to help Hunter, but it’s to help a lot of kids and families. I want to show the community and the world that these kids are not ‘takers,’ and they can contribute they make a difference and they give back to the world too.”
Norwood said her husband has helped tremendously with the journey, and her children Brodie and Hope have been completely supportive and happy for Hunter.
“When you put Down syndrome and ice cream together, it just doesn’t get any sweeter than that,” Norwood said. “If you are losing faith in humanity, then come work our ice cream truck because it brings out the good in everybody.”
Norwood said they have a busy schedule, and they would love for everyone to come out and buy an ice cream and visit with them. She said they will be at the Boaz Harvest Festival on Oct. 5 and 6; The Gathering Place Art Show in Fort Payne on Thursday, Oct. 11; Rainsville First Baptist Harvest Festival on Saturday, Oct. 13; Geraldine Homecoming Parade on Thursday, Oct. 18; Brock Tuten Memorial 5K in Fyffe on Saturday, Nov. 10; and Turkey Trot in Collinsville on Saturday, Oct. 17. She said the truck has “I’m so extra” T-shirts for sell at each event for $12 in youth and adult sizes, or you can order them. She said they can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 256-601-7125. She said to visit them on the “A Little Something Extra Ice Cream” Facebook page, on Instagram (@extraicecream) and on Twitter (@ALittleSometh8) to order a T-shirt, to invite them to an event, to see what events they have scheduled and for more information on their story and their journey.