Brittany Faustino: "Thinking Of A Better Tomorrow Inspires Me.”

Name: Brittany Faustino

Major: Elementary Education

Minor: Reading and Middle-Level Mathematics

Year: Junior

Hometown: Winona, MN

Some students do what they love and leave it at that. Others make a mission of sharing their passion with the world to make it a better place, and Brittany Faustino is doing just that.

Taking a glance at Brittany’s list of extracurricular activities shows that she really likes to get involved at WSU. She is a part of the sorority Sigma Sigma Sigma and Panhellenic. However, Brittany sees these roles as a way to develop interests beyond her immediate studies.

“My mother graduated from WSU, and so did my sister. I love that we all went to the same school and that we will all have graduated from Winona. I also know that Winona has a great education program, and I’ve known from a young age that I wanted to be an educator when I graduate college. I’m most proud of the time and work I do with children. It is something I hope to spend the rest of my life doing.”

Brittany certainly goes above and beyond when it comes to the community and service she can give.

“Through Tri-Sigma, I’ve been exposed to more community service than ever before. I now participate in highway clean-up once a semester, and I help with a blood drive on campus once a semester. We have an amazing philanthropy that I have been lucky enough to be able to help raise money for.

This past winter I took on a project that I had never thought of prior. I wanted to make blankets for the children at Kids First. Kids First is a free after-school program in the low-income housing in Winona, MN. I volunteered at Kids First in fall of 2015 through a Special Education course I was taking at WSU. The kids who go there are great, and I loved going there every week. My professor was telling our class that a couple years ago a group on campus was able to donate blankets to the program, so that the each child could take a blanket home for the holidays, but this year nobody was able to do this. Another group on campus was able to donate books for the children to have as gifts for the holidays, but I wanted them to have a warm blanket, also. From there, I went home and told my family about what I heard in class, and how I wanted to do something to help make this idea a reality. I made a GoFundMe page to start things off, and then I had a bake sale as well. I also had a few fundraisers at the Winona YMCA where I work in the after-school program. There were so many amazing people in the Winona area and friends and family outside of the area that also contributed so that I was able to go out and get fleece to start making blankets. My mom went to the store and we started with 6 blankets, and as more donations came in, the more fleece we bought. I’m so grateful to my family for helping me with making all of these blankets, especially my grandma who made so many. I’m also grateful to my sorority sisters who had a recruitment night that we spent making 30 blankets, in one hour.

I had an opportunity to make a few blankets with some children at Kids First, and they loved having the opportunity to not only receive the blanket but learn how to make it as well. These kids were so grateful for these blankets, and I’m very happy I was able to do this for them.

I ended up raising around $904 to make blankets for the children at Kids First, and I’m incredibly proud of that accomplishment. I was so amazed at the generosity of so many amazing people. Thinking about how today I could do something to help someone else’s tomorrow is something that inspires me. What also inspires me is knowing that I’m doing something that makes my family proud, but also makes myself proud of who I am and what I’m doing.”

At first glance you might think Brittany is the "typical townie" who knows the people and how to get around, but once you get to know her you soon learn that she stands out from all the rest. Brittany is a humble and compassionate giver. If she isn’t making tie blankets, she is spending time with her family, friends, or two German Shepherds.