Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Amy Wright, founder of Bitty and Beau's, is CNN's hero of 2017

Two of Amy Wright's children have Down syndrome Beau, 12, and Bitty, 7.

In 2016, Amy opened Bitty and Beau's Coffee Shop in Wilmington, North Carolina. Knowing that most adults with intellectual disabilities don't have jobs, she wanted to show what people with the same disabilities as her kids could contribute. The shop now employs 40 staff with disabilities like Down syndrome, autism and cerebral palsy (watch Matt's story in the video above). The shop's tagline: More than a cup of coffee, is followed by messages like 'Changing the way people value other people.' The shop was so successful that a second location is opening in Charleston, South Carolina. All proceeds go to Able To Work USA.

Amy was named 2017 CNN Hero of the Year for her advocacy. The award is determined by online voters who chose Wright among the top 10 CNN Heroes finalists.