*This article originally appeared in The Huntingtonian.
To the Huntingtonian editors,
I’m writing with a story tip about an entrepreneur with special needs from South Huntington who’s supporting new parents across the country.
My friend Brittany Schiavone is a 27-year-old woman and the founder of the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization Brittany’s Baskets of Hope, which is based in South Huntington. She is a graduate of Walt Whitman High School, and she also happens to have Down syndrome.
The mission of Brittany’s organization is to deliver welcome baskets full of resources, support and, of course, hope and love to families that have newly welcomed a baby with Down syndrome into their lives. As Brittany always says, “I want babies with Down syndrome to know they can do anything—really, really anything.” Her message is also one of acceptance and joy: no matter who you are or how you’re born, your arrival deserves to celebrated!
Since delivering her first basket of hope in October 2016, Brittany has now packed and delivered baskets of hope to 177 families in 42 states across the country. And, just this weekend, she received another 122 basket of hope requests from families throughout the nation.
World Down Syndrome Day is coming up, on March 21st. We figured this is a perfect time to share Brittany’s story and the work she’s doing for new moms and dads around the country.
Below, I’ve copied some of the feedback we’ve received from parents. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Each day, beautiful photos of new babies surrounded by their baskets of hope goodies + resources flood in with messages from mom and dad.
If you’d like to reach out to Brittany, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m the Secretary of her Baskets of Hope, so you can reach me there, too.
Praise from Basket of Hope recipients:
“I think your organization and what you are doing is amazing. Honestly it brings tears to my eyes and makes me so grateful to have so much support. Normally when I share that our little boy will have Down syndrome, most people just look at me and are not sure what to say. It is refreshing to hear someone say congratulations and be excited because I know my husband and I are excited and blessed to have our family growing.”
—Marlana, mom of two
“Just want to say thank you and God bless you, Brittany! My second child, Penelope, was born this year. She is a joy and a miracle and has already been a blessing in more ways than she will ever know. God is sovereign and He does not make mistakes. It is a beautiful thing that you are doing and your idea, your company, will surely bless many people. Much love, A.”
—A.L., new mom
“Thank you so much! Knowing that I have support and people who understand and listen makes me feel so much better. You guys don’t understand what you’re doing for expecting parents like myself. You give us hope and encouragement. Thanks for everything!!!!”
—Kyle, mom of three boys