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Top restaurants do their share for special needs children

A Child’s D.R.E.A.M. was recently featured in an article by Margaux Salcedo! Read it below or on the Inquirer website.

“The most important things in life … aren’t things.”

This is the header on the page of Dr. Francis Xavier Dimalanta, developmental and behavioral pediatrician who is a consultant and section chief of the Institute of Pediatrics and Child Health at St. Luke’s Global.

I met Dr. Dimalanta, a food and wine lover, at a wine-tasting event at Brasserie Cicou.

He is a jolly person with a serious cause: helping children with special needs. And he has used his love for food to help address this cause.

Twelve years ago, he founded A Child’s D.R.E.A.M. Foundation. Its objective is to help children with special needs, including children with autism, grow up to have a sense of normalcy and purpose in their lives.

Aside from direct treatment, the foundation also conducts community development initiatives such as public community workshops, seminars, and helps city officials draft ordinances to benefit families with autism.

Its milestones include having built Baguio’s first pediatric therapy clinic for children with exceptional needs. The clinic offers developmental medical assessments, physical therapy, speech therapy assessment and sessions. (The clinic is now located at the back of Mario’s Restaurant at the DPS Compound in Baguio City).

To celebrate its 12th year, Dr. Dimalanta partnered with some of his favorite restaurants to raise funds for the cause.

Every month in 2015, A Child’s Dream Foundation is the beneficiary of either a special menu or a chosen dish of the partner restaurant.

The partners for the first half of the year were: Cafe by the Ruins in Baguio (January), Cav (February), Brasserie Cicou (March), Azuthai (April), Sentro 1771 (May).

This month, the restaurant partner is Chef Rolly Laudico’s Guevarra’s so we have a good excuse to buffet all we want for a cause. Next month, we can splurge for this cause at any of Chef Jessie Sincioco’s restaurants: Chef Jessie at Top of the Citi, at Amorsolo in Rockwell, or at 100 Revolving in Eastwood. Maybe we can ask Chef Jessie to devote a menu comprised of what she served Pope Francis when he visited Manila for guests who will dine for this cause.

For August, we can eat steak without guilt at Entrecôte as Martin Kaspar participates. In September, Chef Robby Goco will be offering some dishes at Cyma and Green Pastures. Chef Fernando Aracama will give the “titas of Manila” an excuse to party at Aracama in October with Valkyrie kids as he joins the cause. And in November, Chef Rob Pengson’s The Goose Station is the participating restaurant so do hold your pre-Christmas party there. Then December will see a return to Baguio, where the foundation started, as Mitos Yniguez’ Hill Station is the sponsor.

Props to all the restaurants who are participating in this worthy cause!

A little help truly goes a long way. With just simple events, A Child’s Dream has been able to operate for 12 years now, helping children with special needs. The foundation was recently awarded the inaugural 2014 Senia (Special Education Network in Asia) Honorary Certificate for Advocacy in Singapore.

Dr. Dimalanta shares that when he started his fellowship, only one in 600 kids was autistic. Today there is 1 out of 68. There has been an alarming increase in kids with special needs yet there are only a few developmental pediatricians in the country (only 54).

Let’s help this cause and indulge in guiltless eating in the next few months. Your meal could help put a child through special therapy sessions or speech diagnosis. What better reason to eat?!

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