Mother and son team, Celeste and Sean Cecchetti, have been knocking on doors in New Jersey since Sean was born 25 years ago. In Wall Township the Cecchetti family worked with their school’s team to provide Sean with an inclusive education that would empower him to succeed as an adult citizen of his community. Sean has two jobs in his Jersey shore hometown. He is the greeter at Applebee’s restaurant and a staff person at the family Life is Good store. He is a volunteer manager of the Monmouth University football and women’s basketball teams. His very full life also includes taking classes at Brookdale Community College and being an active member of the South Wall Fire Department. Sean surely fulfilled his family vision of what a meaningful life might have in store for him as a young adult. But Sean learned well to self-advocate, determine his own life vision and go after his own dreams. He had one more door to crack open. Celeste tells of Sean’s ongoing journey to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
After our son Sean, finished high school and was continuing classes at a local college and looking for jobs, he expressed a desire to apply for an internship at the White House. He had been very interested in politics, following the national news and elections on CNN. He was voting for the first time in the 2009 Presidential Election. He took this duty very seriously by truly paying close attention to the issues. Sean’s candidate, President Obama, did win and he was more determined than ever to get to Washington and do his part to help the country. Rich and I supported his dream and reached out to the White House Internship Program, filling out applications, applying over and over again for an internship responsibility in which Sean could participate. After a few tries we succeeded in having the Director of the White House Internship program reach out to us saying that an internship might not work out. She offered a private tour of the White House during which Sean met many wonderful staff. It was there that he was asked to become a volunteer. In December of 2012 Sean volunteered for his first stint at the White
House and has continued to help out every year since at Christmas tours and the Easter Egg Roll. He assured his family that he would not only work hard but would get to meet the President and again give his support. This spring that dream came true. Sean did meet the President and First Lady on two occasions. Sean told them how happy he was to be there for them and accepted their thanks. He has since been invited back for another private tour, this time of the West Wing!
Sean and Celeste are among our wonderful list of presenters at NJCIE’s 12 Annual Summer Inclusion Conference at Montclair State University. They will offer their wisdom and guidance as panel members for the workshop on Thursday entitled, Transition to Adult Life: Prepare NOW for Later…How to Lay the Groundwork for Success that Will Last…