Meet Enzo, a 15-year-old painter whose bold, colorful work has appeared in various exhibits in Manila. His parents, Dean and Chu Calleja, have generously allowed NVC to reproduce four of his paintings in gift cards, sales of which will fund Mingo Meals for malnourished children all over the Philippines.
Enzo is a teen living with autism. Diagnosed at age 2, he has been getting all the different interventions he needs to cope with the world around him, which he can find overwhelming. Enzo swims, works out, and plays the piano, but Mom Chu feels that Enzo really expresses his emotions through is artwork.
“When Enzo was younger, we would make him try all sorts of activities. At first I wasn’t sure if he could paint,” Chu narrates. But a friend of hers, an art gallery manager, encouraged them to try it. “And yes, to our surprise, Enzo really enjoyed it. Since then, we have been very supportive of his talent.”
Four of Enzo’s highly expressive, colorful paintings have been translated into gift cards that will benefit malnourished children in the Philippines. A box of 12 cards featuring all 4 paintings is Php 250.
Helping other children
A of target 300 gift card sets sold will enroll these 8 children in NVC’s 6-month daily Mingo Meals feeding program (top): Princes 4, Cristina 3, Yesha Mae 3, Francis 3, and (bottom): Eugene 5, Jethro 4. James Coby 2, Neil John, 3. They have been identified as malnourished an in need of nutritional supplementation. They reside in Brgy. Punta Taytay, Negros Occidental.
Raising autism awareness
“For all autism parents, let’s try to expose our kids to a variety of activities and stick to the ones they like and enjoy,” Chu continues. She hopes that putting Enzo’s art in NVC’s gift cards will raise awareness about autism and prevent people from being judgmental about it. “My son’s condition made me work harder and not settle for status quo. My loyalty is and always will be to my son. Enzo’s condition freed us from what society dictates, as we have to follow the road less travelled.”
“We parents must be patient, open and willing to try what works for our kids. Each child with autism is different. If you meet one child with autism, that’s just one child. They are showered with their own different talents as well.”