Women of Worth
Brittany's Baskets of Hope
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The arrival of a new baby into the world should always be a joyful occasion.

But all too often, when babies are born with Down syndrome, the first thing that parents hear is "I'm sorry."

Brittany Schiavone wants to change that, which is why she founded her nonprofit, Brittany's Baskets of Hope where she makes and delivers baskets of presents and information to new parents of babies with Down syndrome.

"We're trying to flip the script," says Brittany's mom, Susan Schiavone. "Instead of hearing 'I'm Sorry,' new parents are hearing 'Congratulations!'"

"I give them hope," says Brittany. "I give them hope and joy and happiness for their child."

Brittany first got the idea for giving presents to newborns with Down syndrome after watching a video about people helping families and babies on her break at work. So, she went home and declared to her parents that she wanted to do something similar. She wanted to give families and newborns presents. And she wanted to tell the moms that it's going to be okay.

Before long, this idea transformed from an ambitious idea to a fully operational nonprofit that sends baskets to new parents in all 50 states, thanks in part to Brittany's awesome family that rallied around her to help make her dream a reality.

Each basket is carefully put together to include baby essentials, like pacifiers, socks and bibs, information for the parents (including a book), onesies with "Down Right Perfect" on the front, and hand-knit blankets, hats and booties.

So far, Brittany has made and sent over 950 baskets. Volunteers all over the country help hand-knit gifts or donate money to help her create each of her very special baskets. And Brittany's dedication to her cause is why she was chosen as L'Oréal Paris' 2019 Women of Worth Honorees.

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Anne Owens and Luke Redito / Wikimedia Commons
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When Madeline Swegle was a little girl growing up in Burke, VA, she loved watching the Blue Angels zip through the sky. Her family went to see the display every time it was in town, and it was her parents' encouragement to pursue her dreams that led her to the U.S. Naval Academy in 2017.

Before beginning the intense three-year training required to become a tactical air (TACAIR) pilot, Swegle had never been in an aircraft before; piloting was simply something she was interested in. It turns out she's got a gift for it—and not only is she skilled, she finds the "exhilaration to be unmatched."

"I'm excited to have this opportunity to work harder and fly high performance jet aircraft in the fleet," Swegle said in a statement released by the Navy. "It would've been nice to see someone who looked like me in this role; I never intended to be the first. I hope it's encouraging to other people."

As Swegle's story shows, representation and equality matter. And the responsibility to advance equality for all people - especially Black Americans facing racism - falls on individuals, organizations, businesses, and governmental leadership. This clear need for equality is why P&G established the Take On Race Fund to fight for justice, advance economic opportunity, enable greater access to education and health care, and make our communities more equitable. The funds raised go directly into organizations like NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, YWCA Stand Against Racism and the United Negro College Fund, helping to level the playing field.

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