Pasadena, California, August 2012 – The Academy of Special Dreams Foundation announced today the award of a Working Artist cash grant to Riley Weinstein to further her professional career as a dance teacher. Suffering a traumatic, life-altering brain injury when she was two years old, Riley endured 15 neurosurgeries to remove a large tumor that developed at the base of her brain. Despite this severe brain trauma with the resulting paralysis that restricted her ability to perform even the slightest of movements, Riley refused to give up her dream to be a dancer.
"One way we achieve our mission to increase public awareness of the creative talents of people with disabilities is to arrange for cash grants for disabled artists who are following their dreams to participate in the Arts," said Michael Dergar, President and CEO of the Pasadena-based Academy of Special Dreams Foundation. "Riley’s personal story of overcoming tremendous physical challenges is truly inspirational."
“I always felt that I could do anything if I wanted it enough,” said Riley. “I just knew I had to believe in myself.”
Thanks to our many supporters such as Patsy Herrera-Loya, the Academy of Special Dreams Foundation provides 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.
About the Academy of Special Dreams Foundation
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 www.specialacademy.org.