Collette Divitto, a 26-year-old woman with Down syndrome, has been inspiring other people with developmental disabilities to follow their dreams after getting a taste of success by running her own cookie company in Boston.
“My cookies are like ridiculously yummy cookies,” Divitto, 26, told ABC News of her signature “amazing cookie,” adding that she includes “100 percent love” as an ingredient. “It’s actually chocolate chip with cinnamon. That’s why it’s called an amazing cookie.”
Divitto said that it has been a long journey to get to where she is today.
“We spent a lot of years with a lot of people shutting doors on her,” Rosemary Alfredo, Divitto’s mother, told ABC News, saying that her daughter spent a long time job hunting to no avail.
“Whenever she went on an interview, she always brought people cookies, because she loved to bake cookies and everyone wanted her to continue sending them cookies, but they would just write to her and say, ‘It was great to meet you, but at this time we feel this isn’t a great fit,'” Alfredo said.
Divitto said she felt defeated by all of these rejections.
“It’s really upsetting,” she said. “Feels like I really just want to curl up on the couch and cry.”
Instead, she turned her passion for baking into “Collettey’s,” her cookie company, with the help of her mother and sister.
“I knew from a long time ago, God put her on earth to change the wave of thought for people around the country,” Alfredo said. “We can’t have a bad day because we think of her. She … has so much perseverance and makes herself be the best she can be. When I think of how much energy, thought and positivity needed to do that every day, that’s complete admiration from me. That’s unbelievable.”
Divitto, and her delicious cookies, have become very well known in her neighborhood, and she has already received over 50,000 cookie orders, according to her website.
Alfredo said that Divitto serves as an inspiration for others to pursue their dreams.
“I never raised her looking at her as if she had limitations. I just said, ‘We all have them. We all have things we’re good at, and we all have things we’re not good at.’ You can call them disabilities,” Alfredo said. “We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses. We don’t focus on that.”
Divitto said her goal is to hire people with disabilities, and the bakery announced on Twitter this week that they’re looking to hire the first full-time employee.
“Do not give up,” Divitto said as her message to others. “Live [your] dreams and keep on doing what you have to do.”