More

Rejected from job after job, this baker with Down syndrome opened her own shop instead.

'Never give up. Don't let people make you sad or feel rejected. Stay motivated and follow your dreams.'

Rejected from job after job, this baker with Down syndrome opened her own shop instead.

Ever since she was 15 years old, Collette Divitto has been baking up a storm in her family's kitchen.

"I always baked after school and on the weekends," explains Divitto in an email. "I loved baking for my family for holidays."

Photo via Collettey's Cookies/Facebook, used with permission.


She quickly realized she wanted to make a career out of her passion for baking, and when she was 22, she started applying to jobs in Boston.

To each interview, she'd bring samples of the cookies that her family and friends had raved about. Unfortunately, none of the places that interviewed her offered her a job; for all her hard work, Divitto mostly saw a lot of doors being closed in her face.

"Many people who interviewed me for jobs said I was really nice but not a good fit for them," writes Divitto. "It was really hurtful and I felt rejected a lot."

While being turned down for jobs isn't unusual for a lot of young people, Divitto wondered if — in her case — she wasn't getting offered jobs because she has Down syndrome.

While the rejection was disheartening, it did not dissuade her from following her dreams. She rolled up her sleeves and got to work.

With the help of her mom and sister, Divitto started her own cookie company called Collettey's. They soon received their first order for her famous cookies (chocolate chip with cinnamon and other secret ingredients) from a grocery store in Boston called Golden Goose Market.

Photo via Collettey's Cookies/Facebook, used with permission.

Divitto began making 100 cookies a week for the Golden Goose, then — thanks to coverage by CBS News — orders began pouring in from all over the country. Today, Divitto is 26 and by mid-December had posted that Collettey's is up to 10,000 orders to be filled.

"My biggest success so far is how big my company is growing, which means I can start hiring people with and without disabilities," Divitto says.

Photo via Collettey's Cookies/Facebook, used with permission.

Right now, Collettey's staff consists of Divitto, her mom, and her sister as well as some amazing volunteers from Golden Goose Market who help bake and ship all the cookies. As the business grows, she'll need more staff very soon.

According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, 10.7% of people with a disability who are actively looking for work were unemployed in 2015. That's twice the unemployment rate of people without a disability. In light of those figures, Divitto plans to offer as many job opportunities to people in the the disabled community as she can.

Divitto hopes her accomplishments inspire others to pursue their dreams any way they can, even if it means taking a nontraditional route.

Photo via Collettey's Cookies/Facebook, used with permission.

"I never raised her looking at her as if she had limitations," Divitto's mom, Rosemary Alfredo, told ABC News. "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. We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses. We don't focus on that."

Or, as Divitto says: "Never give up. Don't let people make you sad or feel rejected. Stay motivated and follow your dreams."

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less