NC woman is CNN Hero of the Year

CNN’s hero of the year was a local woman named Amy Wright. Wright received the award for her phenomenal creation of her business, Bitty & Beau’s coffee. Bitty & Beau’s is located in Wilmington, NC. What makes this coffee shop so extravagant is the fact that they only employee people with disabilities.

Amy Wright was first inspired to open this shop after giving birth to not one, but two children with down syndrome. Both she and her husband had little experience with disabled people. As her children, Bitty and Beau, got older, Wright started to notice the lack of jobs provided to disabled people. According to bsl.gov, only 17.5% of disabled people are employed. Wright decided to open the coffee shop and she named it after her two children.

In January 2016 Bitty & Beau’s coffee had just nineteen workers. Today that count is now up to forty workers. CNN recognized Amy Wright as a nominee for CNN Hero of the year, and she ended up taking the winning title. When giving her winning speech, she stated, “People with disabilities have been in the shadows for too long, but no more… I’m bringing this home to the forty employees that work at Bitty & Beau’s coffee because they are my heros.” They have been featured on The Today Show, Rachel Ray, CNN, Harry, Good Morning America, HLN, People, and Southern Living Magazines.

Wright was up against ten other nominees for Hero of the Year. Once Wright received the award, which was fan voted, she stated, “To my two youngest children, Bitty and Beau, who are my inspiration, I want you to know because I know you’re watching at home tonight Bitty and Beau, that I would not change you for the world but I would change the world for you.” CNN rewarded Wright with $100,000 to continue her efforts with Bitty & Beau’s coffee shop. Wright closed her speech with her final thoughts on how we as a society view disabled people by saying, “My employees are not broken; 200 million people across the world living with an intellectual or developmental disability are not broken, what is broken is the lens through which we view people with disabilities.”

Bitty & Beau’s is located at 4949 New Centre Dr, Wilmington, NC 28403 and is open from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. everyday. An additional location will be located in Charleston, South Carolina soon. The atmosphere at Bitty & Beau’s is aimed towards bringing a community together and making the world a better place. We congratulate Amy Wright and her family on winning 2017 CNN Hero of the year and commend her on her marvelous efforts on making the world a better place!

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