Why This Mom of 4 is CNN’s Hero of the Year, But She’s Actually a Hero For All Time

Screen shot: CNN

Amy Wright never expected to be an award-winning advocate for people with disabilities.

Then, 13 years ago, her son Beau was born with Down syndrome. And like most moms do, Wright rose to the occasion. But she did it in a way that had NEVER been done before. Wright and her husband Ben began researching Down syndrome and discovered that job opportunities for people with disabilities are bleak — according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic, only 17.5% were employed in 2015. The Wrights, who also have a daughter, Bitty, 7 with Down syndrome as well as two older neuro-typical daughters, set out to change things for the good for adults with disabilities.

Their idea: a coffee shop staffed by adults with disabilities. Named after their children, the Wilmington, NC coffee shop Bitty & Beau’s has been a HUGE success. It has caught the attention of the national news multiple times, and quickly outgrew it’s original space, moving to a new location ten times the size where they employ 40 adults with disabilities. Recently, they opened a second location in Charleston, SC.

Oh, and…the Wrights knew nothing about coffee when they started. They just had a dream to provide jobs for people like their kids.

“We found that when you’re passionate about something you can learn whatever you set your mind to,” Amy Wright told TODAY. “And for us it was coffee.”

That passion, and Wright’s tireless advocacy, won her CNN’s “Hero of the Year” Award this weekend which comes with $100,000 for her cause. In a tearful, passionate acceptance speech, Wright said some words that came straight from a mother’s heart, and honestly gave me LEGIT chills: “I want you to know, because I know you are watching, that I would not change you for the world, but I would change the world for you.”

Instant tears.

Screen shot: CNN

Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson
Jenny is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor.

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