Velvet Reed
Hostos student Velvet Reed’s life changed in 2017 when her daughter Amira was born earlier than anticipated. Her baby girl was born at 25 weeks gestation and weighing less than two pounds. The experience, coupled with the support she received in the NICU, inspired Reed to pay it forward to other parents of premature babies.  

“As a micro-preemie mom who had a baby also born very prematurely, I understand their overwhelming emotions and, most of all, their state of uncertainty and what they are going through,” she said. 

In 2018, Reed launched Everything Preemie, an online shop featuring clothes designed specifically to fit premature babies. Reed makes the clothes herself and hopes they help parents feel seen and supported. “The mission of these clothes is to bring awareness to prematurity and ensure other NICU parents don't feel alone, nor left out of society’s expectations for childbirth” she shared. “Our clothes bring awareness to every 1 out of 10, along with a sense of wholeness to a community kind of overlooked — lets them know we matter, our babies matter.”

Reed delivers the clothing to local NICUs, where she enjoys speaking with parents, listening to their experiences, and sharing hers as well. 

It wasn’t long before Reed expanded her efforts and established her preemie nonprofit, Amira’s NICU Support Velvet Reed holding a folded onsieand Awareness. “It was just something that was tugging at my heart,” shared Reed, adding that both the preemie clothing brand and nonprofit have also helped her work through the grief of losing a son at 24 weeks gestation, prior to Amira’s birth.  

Through the nonprofit, Reed makes and delivers NICU care packages containing Everything Preemie onesies, children’s books about prematurity, water bottles, tissues, swaddle blankets, car seat tags and personalized NICU diplomas celebrating when babies have “graduated” from the NICU and can go home. She also includes journals for parents “because some parents aren’t comfortable expressing with someone else what they’re going through,” she explained, adding: “What they’re going through is traumatic and they need to express that.” 

Reed has partnered with NICUs at Montefiore Medical Center’s Albert Einstein Hospital — where her daughter was born — and Lincoln Hospital to deliver the care packages to families, and she’s gearing up to deliver even more in November for National Prematurity Awareness Month. 

The tenacious mother and entrepreneur is currently pursuing her AAS in Nursing at Hostos, where she is also a tutor for The Writing Center. Reed plans to go on to become a doctor of obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN). As for her daughter, Amira, the 5-year-old is thriving.  

“She’s perfect,” Reed shares. “She loves to sing, draw me pictures and always doing ballet.”