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“Fashion For Hope”, a fashion show featuring paintings of persons within the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) on piña fabric, were featured at the Kalayaan Hall on Friday, 20 October 2017.

In celebration of Filipino American History Month, and in partnership with Autism Hearts Foundation (AHF), the Kalayaan Hall was transformed into a catwalk where members of the Filipino-American Community, along with professional models, showcased to friends and guests piña shawls and clothes showcasing the paintings of persons with ASD.

In line with the Consulate’s movement to Spark*Connect*Empower* the Filipino-American Community, the Consulate partnered with AHF to bring greater awareness about autism, and to provide support to persons with ASD, and their families.  It was also an opportunity to inform the Community about Fashion Arts Autism Benefits (FAAB), a program that provides art therapy for persons with ASD.

FAAB connects master painters with student scholars, who guide the latter on their designs and colors, using pina fabrics as canvas.  The fabrics are then transformed into couture dresses by in-house Autism hearts Foundation designer Anthony Cruz Legarda.  The classes are available in the Philippines in Manila and Aklan, as well as New York and California.

Consul General Henry S. Bensurto, Jr. welcomed friends, supporters and guests to the Kalayaan Hall, saying, “We are proud to partner with Autism Hearts to bring greater awareness about ASD and the developments in FAAB that would allow persons with ASD to integrate into the Community, and allow their families to feel that there is, after all, a support group to be found among us.” He added that the celebration of Filipino American History Month must be inclusive and honor all members of the Community.

The event allowed the Consulate and AHF to show Bay Area residents that given the proper guidance and support, persons within the Autism Spectrum can use art therapy as an outlet to unleash their creativity and become functioning and productive members of the Community.

AHF Founder Erlinda Borromeo thanked the Community for rallying behind the organization, many of which offered their services for free to raise awareness about autism.  END