Brittany Schiavone, founder of Brittany’s Baskets of Hope, has been named, alongside nine other women, as a 2019 L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth Honoree for the work and impact she has made within her community.
Brittany’s Baskets of Hope is a nonprofit that delivers handmade baskets filled with resources to families of new babies Down syndrome across the country. The 30-year-old Huntington resident founded the organization in 2016 drawing from her own experience as a woman with Down syndrome.
“I was working at a clothing boutique and my boss came across a YouTube video that talked about supporting parents of babies with Down syndrome,” Brittany said. “I went home and told my parents that I wanted to help moms of babies with Down syndrome and I wanted to give them hope.”
She said that it became possible with the strong support system she has by her side. Her mother and vice president of the organization, Susan Schiavone, said that she and her husband were surprised when Brittany came to them with her idea, but were excited to help their daughter get it started.
“While Brittany is absolutely the boss and had definite ideas of what she wants, my husband and I, and our wonderful friend and company secretary, Ashley Asti, help her take care of the day to day operations, communications and social media accounts,” Susan said. “Brittany weighs in on all decisions and packs the baskets at our packing parties.”
The baskets are filled with resources that help these new parents. “One of the most important items in the basket is the parenting book that my parents relied on 30 years ago when I was born,” she said. “It’s called ‘Babies with Down Syndrome: A New Parent’s Guide.’ We also include my story in my own words as well as my journey from the perspective of my parents and my older brother.”
Onesies, baby books, headbands, swaddles and a handmade blanket also come in basket, many coming from donations. Since its inception, Brittany’s Baskets of Hope has shipped out over 800 baskets to families in 49 states across the country and Puerto Rico.
And the last three years have paid off. In May, Brittany was one of the honorees for the Huntington Chamber of Commerce’s 30 Under 30, and is now a finalist for the L’Oreal Paris Woman of Worth.
The contest will be making a $10,000 donation to Brittany’s Baskets of Hope and is calling on the public to vote for the winner who will receive an additional $25,000 for her cause, which will be announced on Dec. 4.
“I am happy and excited to be a L’Oreal Paris Woman of Worth,” she said. “It is exciting to be able to spread my message that people with Down syndrome can be the boss of their own lives and they can live happy and successful lives.” She added that the money would help her expand her organization into an office, instead of using her basement.
“We are incredibly proud of Brittany and how she has grown and matured since she first came to us with the idea,” Susan said. “We never imagined that it would grow to support new families all over the country! L’Oreal Women Of Worth continues to be a wonderful and meaningful part of her life’s journey.”
Voting began on Oct. 15 and will be open until Nov. 15. Supporters who want to vote for Brittany can do so here.
“My motto is, ‘People with Down syndrome can do anything… really, really anything!’ Brittany said. “If you feel a purpose in your heart, you can achieve it no matter who you are or how you’re born.”