Social Encore: ‘Fantasy’ features sweet treats
BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser
If I could, I would have something sweet for every meal. If you ever wanted to hang out in a packed ballroom of delicious desserts, you can! On Sunday, more than 30 Hawaii establishments will serve up some of the best desserts at the Pacific Beach Hotel during the annual Dessert Fantasy in Hawaii. This sweet fundraiser benefits the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Hawaii (UCPAHI).
DESSERT FANTASY 2015
A benefit for the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Hawaii
» Where: Pacific Beach Hotel, 2490 Kalakaua Ave.
Dessert Fantasy started more than 20 years ago to help spread awareness of the organization and its mission. The United Cerebral Palsy Association of Hawaii is one the nation’s largest healthcare organizations that help people with disabilities. According the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, about 1 in 5 people are living with a disability.
UCPAHI has various services that help support more than 1,000 people in Hawaii each year. Proceeds from the event will help four essential components of the organization:
CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER
The child development center is an early intervention program that provides services for children up to 3 years old. The children that come through the child development center are born with development delays.
UCPAHI creates a medical team of support staff for each child and works with the child’s family to create strategies and education to best support the child’s development. The medical team includes care coordinators, teachers, speech pathologists and occupational therapists.
Some of the obstacles that these children face are things like speech. The development center uses traditional therapy and electronic devices (such as a speech board) to help with the child’s communication skills.
Child Development Center program manager Theresa Tayabas-Shimoda has been with the organization for more than 30 years. With 13 staff members helping the lives of more than 300 children a year, Shimoda and her team help prepare these children so that they are able to enter preschool. She said the smiles that she sees on the children’s faces and their families are what motivate her every day.
“Some children that come into our center are born with brain bleeds and have lung/breathing issues,” she said. “Our team, the child’s family and sometimes specialists (like nutritionists get involved).
“We work alongside with them and when they leave our program walking and able to communicate, that is when we know that we have done our jobs.”
The Mac-Plus program is a recreation program at the Kuwili Martial Arts Center that gives people with disabilities an opportunity to participate in a variety of recreational activities. They are able to learn movements and training that are based on courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and spirit.
Executive Director Donna D. Fouts said the program helps each child feel part of team and each child is able to learn discipline and anger management. It currently has over 400 people enrolled.
PUBLIC HEALTH AWARENESS
UCPAHI believes that education is a key foundation to help others understand the struggles that others with disability have to go through. UPAHI goes to some of Hawaii’s local school and teaches children about disability awareness.
“We want kids to have the ability to understand how it could feel for a child that has a hearing or vision disability,” said Fouts. “It’s a really great way for children to understand that some children learn in different ways and it teaches them how they can be supportive at school.”
Each year, the program educates at least 500 children.
When people with disabilities past the age of 21, services that are offered from the state are very limited. Many rely on social services programs through UCPAHI’s. Whether looking for a place to live or wanting to have a career, UCPAHI helps over 150 people with their independence.
Some the sweet establishments participating this year includes Agnes’ Portuguese Bake Shop, The Alley at Aiea Bowl, Dave’s Ice cream, Mocha Java and Uber Factory. Uber Factory owner Andy Dalan will be premiering his tarts at this year’s Dessert Fantasy and they are amazing! If anyone knows how to make great Filipino deserts with a modern twist, it’s surely Andy Dalan.
“I’ve participated in the past and I’ve always thought this event was great for a good cause,” he said.
Desert Fantasy 2015 is the ultimate dream for anyone looking to have two hours of unlimited sampling of some of Hawaii’s most delicious sweets and desserts, all to support those with disabilities in our community.
Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.