Academy of Special Dreams Foundation Awards Six Scholarships

The Academy of Special Dreams Foundation announced the award of six college scholarships and grants to aspiring and working artists with disabilities. The scholarships and grants were awarded to Todd Tostado, Melina Ngo, Jhovana Cecena, Javier Alcala, Angel Gomez and Alan Cheng during Vive The Special DREAM Concert 2011, the Academy of Special Dream Foundation’s first ever live music benefit concert featuring musicians with disabilities and others who support the special needs community held recently at the Alhambra High School Auditorium. “One way we achieve our mission to increase public awareness of the creative talents of people with disabilities is to arrange for scholarships, cash awards and other financial support for disabled artists to promote their further participation in the Arts, especially young people such as Alan Cheng who deserve to be recognized,” said Michael Dergar, President and CEO of the Pasadena-based Academy of Special Dreams Foundation. Alan, a student at Pasadena City College, will use his scholarship to supplement financial aid in support of his studies in Poetry. Alan, 24 years old, was born with a severe diaphragmatic hernia that required numerous surgeries during his early childhood before doctors were successful in their efforts to implant an artificial diaphragm. While today still physically fragile, Alan has overcome these obstacles to express himself through poetry. “I want to thank the Academy of Special Dreams Foundation for welcoming me and allowing my poetry to be read by a wide audience,” said Alan. “I really appreciate the encouragement and support of my poetry from the entire team at the Special Academy, and this scholarship will help me take one more step toward achieving my dreams.” “Alan’s personal story of overcoming tremendous physical challenges is truly inspirational, and so this year the Special Academy expects to the first to publish his e-book of poems, thanks in large part to the generous contributions from our supporters Helen Woo, Lina Leung, Kristian Batiste, Jackie Ding, AHS Christmas Committee and Jessica Castillo whose tireless commitment to bettering educational opportunities for the special needs community is quite remarkable,” added Mr. Dergar.

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