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Award of College Scholarship to Disabled Poet

  • Published: 2011-02-05 : Author: Academy of Special Dreams Foundation
  • Synopsis: The Academy of Special Dreams Foundation announced today its third award of a college scholarship to Alan Cheng.

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Academy of Special Dreams Foundation awarded its third college scholarship to Alan Cheng, 24, born with a severe diaphragmatic hernia but today lives with an implanted artificial diaphragm, to further his studies in Poetry at a local city college.

The Academy of Special Dreams Foundation announced today its third award of a college scholarship to Alan Cheng, a student at Pasadena City College, to provide much-needed 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. Recently, under the auspices of the Academy of Special Dreams Foundation, Alan was Special Guest of Honor at the 2011 Poetry Slam sponsored by Alhambra High School, Alhambra, California.

"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's personal story of overcoming tremendous physical challenges is truly inspirational, and so this year the Special Academy expects to publish his first-ever e-book of poems, thanks in large part to the generous contributions from our supporters, particularly our London-based Community Ambassador Anna Kennedy whose tireless commitment to bettering educational opportunities for the special needs community is quite remarkable," added Mr. Dergar.

"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 Michael Dergar and the entire team at the Special Academy, and this scholarship will help me take one more step toward achieving my dreams."

Other objectives of the Academy of Special Dreams Foundation include providing semi-annual web-based opportunities for the special needs community to express themselves in competitive short film visual arts and writing projects. All projects must involve or be created by members of the special needs community and the Special Academy especially seeks artists with disabilities who need financial support to promote and pursue their artistic talents.

The Academy of Special Dreams Foundation is a California non-profit public benefit corporation based in Pasadena, California, and is recognized as a tax-exempt IRC 501(c)(3) publicly supported charity. The mission of the Special Academy is to increase public awareness, appreciation and recognition of the creative talents of people with disabilities by providing opportunities that encourage, promote and showcase their artistic expressions. More information about the Special Academy can be found at

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