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Woman With Down Syndrome Starts Business

collettey's cookiesCollette Divitto is a 26 years-old go-getter who got tired of being turned down for jobs just because she has Down Syndrome – so she decided to do something about it.

CBS News is reporting on the story of this remarkable young lady who turned her love for baking into what has become a booming business.

For anyone else, it would be just a story of how hard work can pay off. But for Collette, it was a way to beat seemingly insurmountable odds that were stacked against her when it came to finding employment simply because she was born with Down Syndrome.

No matter where she went in search of work, she was told she wasn’t the “right fit.”

“It’s very upsetting to me,” she told CBS Boston. “It’s very hard to find a paying job for people like me who have special needs.”

But so much rejection only made her more determined.

“I think that all of that rejection for her made her say I’ll show them,” said her mother, Rosemary Alfredo.

Turns out Collette loves to bake and she’s been making a special cookie – chocolate chip dipped in cinnamon – that everyone loves. In fact, The cookie is so good it’s been dubbed “The Amazing.”

“We kept telling her, ‘This is a really good cookie. You could sell this,’” her mother said.

She decided to take their advice and gave it a try, managing to find one grocer in all of Boston, the Golden Goose Market owned by Stephen DeAngelis, who agreed to give her some shelf space. As of earlier this month, she was selling about 100 cookies per week at the market.

But then someone at CBS heard about her remarkable efforts and decided to run a story about her. It quickly went viral. Collette now has more than 4,000 orders to fill from around the country. With the average order being for a dozen cookies, that’s 50,000 cookies!

Her story also attracted the attention of Commonwealth Kitchen, a non-profit business incubator, that is now helping her to scale up.

She even started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for her facility.

as she told CBS correspondent Jim Axelrod, her dream of being an example for people with disabilities is finally coming true.

“They’ll say ‘if Collette can do it,’” Axelrod said.

“They can do it,” Collette added.

When asked what was the secret ingredient that she bakes into her cookies, Axelrod was surprised to discover that it wasn’t a special spice or extra butter.

“It’s love,” Collette said.

“Wait a minute, is the secret ingredient you’ve been protecting so much is it love?” Axelrod asked.

“Yes it is,” Collette said. “It’s love. Always, always being love.”

As Axelrod concluded, this makes both the cookies, and the very special young woman baking them “about as sweet as they come.”

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