Honorees

Champions of Inclusion

Champions of Inclusion are selected by the National Inclusion Project for their considerable efforts to ensure no one sits on the sidelines. They are working to make sure that all people can be included together and to inspire everyone to chase their dreams. The awards will be presented to our honorees below at the 14th Annual Champions Gala on October 28, 2017, at the McGlohon Theater in downtown Charlotte, NC.

 

Bitty & Beau’s Coffee

We applaud Bitty & Beau’s Coffee for promoting the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) every day through their coffee shop and beyond.

Bitty & Beau’s Coffee is more than just a place to grab a cup of coffee – it’s an experience. While the shop is run by people with IDD and the customers’ love the products, what they really come in for is the unique customer service experience. The current team of 40 employees have mastered the art of hospitality and make every customer feel special. Bitty & Beau’s Coffee creates a culture where diversity is not just appreciated, it’s celebrated.

Born the oldest of five children and the co-founder and owner of Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, Amy Wright has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Eventually, her backyard talent shows were replaced with a stint on Broadway after she earned her BFA from the University of Cincinnati College- Conservatory of Music. Fortunately, along the way, she met and married “Mr. Wright”. Today, they’re the proud parents of four amazing kids – their two youngest having Down syndrome, which makes them feel like they won the lottery twice!

Each project Amy develops is done with the sole purpose of promoting the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Bitty & Beau’s Coffee is no exception.

They have been featured on the Today Show, CNN, Good Morning America, BBC, Harry Show, Southern Living & People Magazine as well as the Rachael Ray Show, where the brand was named the OFFICIAL COFFEE of the Rachael Ray Show. Additionally, Amy was named a 2017 CNN Hero.

Bitty & Beau’s Coffee headquarters is located in Wilmington, NC with plans to expand to Charleston, SC later this year. Stop by and have a cup, if you are ever in town!

 

Sparsh Shah

We are excited to honor Sparsh for his overwhelming positive spirit and for inspiring everyone to change Impossible to I’m Possible!

Sparsh (Stage Name: PURHYTHM) is a 14-year-old child prodigy who was born with an incurable disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, which makes his bones extremely fragile/brittle, due to which even a hard hand shake can break his bones. He cannot bear weight on his hands and legs; and hence cannot walk or run like other normal kids. He had more than 130 fractures so far in 14 years of his life and God knows how many more are yet to come. But God has gifted him with a wonderful voice and a brilliant mind. He has been learning Hindustani classical music for last eight years and American vocal music for three years. He has written 16 songs and composed music for many of them. He has multiple talents and has performed in community events (over 75 live performances) appeared on several radio and television shows such as BBC, NBC: Little Big Shots, SONY: Keys To Kismat, etc), hosted shows as an MC, won Pi championship by memorizing 250 digits of Pi, can speak some of the 12 longest words in English dictionary in less than 18 seconds, can speak in 4 different accents in English, written several poems, short stories, motivational/funny speeches (“I am Disabled”), etc.

Sparsh became a worldwide internet sensation with the launch of Eminem’s cover song, “Not Afraid” with over 60 million views on all social media sites combined. Sparsh launched his first cover album, “Tribute To Eminem”. He delivered an amazingly inspirational TED Talk: “How I turned Impossible to I’M Possible and you can do it too” at Asia’s largest TEDx event: TEDx Gateway.

Sparsh has received many accolades and awards over the past few years and has even been a part of the Watt NXT Robotics team that won at the State and Regional levels and participated in FIRST World Robotics Championship in St. Louis, MO.

In 2015, Sparsh participated and won the prestigious talent competition “Young Voice of NYC” and was honored to become the “Youth Ambassador” for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He has been a catalyst in helping raise over half a million dollars for various philanthropic organizations across the country.

Despite of all the challenges, Sparsh’s spirit is unbreakable. He aspires to sing in front of a billion people one day and inspire them that even a kid like him with such a severe medical condition/disabilities can achieve his dreams.