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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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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