Last Sunday (2016.05.15) was NCCU’s IMBA Alumni Association annual homecoming event. This year’s event was named “Let all dreams fly” and apart from being a great opportunity for alumni to get together it also served as a charity fair supporting the Taiwan Therapeutic Riding Center, a therapeutic horseback riding center located in Chungli.

For over 15 years the Therapeutic Riding Centre has been offering riding classes to children with cerebral palsy and autism. Therapeutic horseback riding, also known as equestrian therapy, has a proven track record of helping sick kids significantly improve their physical and mental health. This form of therapy includes both psychological and physical components and makes it possible for disabled children to experience new feelings and build their confidence and physical strength. The upkeep and maintenance costs of the center are high and the IMBA Alumni Association was happy to join hands with the center raising funds that will help it continue its important work.

The fair opened Sunday morning with a greeting from long time director, Professor Samuel Chen who welcomed all the alumni and current students to the event. Professor Chen will be stepping down as IMBA director in the coming summer and will be replaced by Professor Shari Shang.

Following Prof. Chen’s speech we all had a chance to browse the different booths selling international foods and other items. Current students and alumni representing almost all classes of the IMBA sold different foods from around the world. The offering included traditional Japanese okonomiyaki, Israeli hummus, French Crepes, South American tortillas, chicken rice and home-made desserts. Among the participating booths were also restaurants:  foodpanda, a food delivery service, run by our alumnus Victor Chow (year 2009), sponsored a booth offering Krispy Kreme donuts and pizza and Fei Tai Tai (費太太) offered delicious desserts and ice cream.

Other booths sold toys, books, clothes and other souvenirs including 2 unique booths: bio-plastic gifts and a virtual reality demo. The bio plastics are made by AGT采呈, a company represented by our year 2001 alumnus Jose Adolfo. The company is marketing eco-friendly bio-plastic products made of corn which create a more sustainable environment. The morning fair also included a talent show of singing, dancing, music and even yoga. The talents included current students, alumni and even a few brave children who took the stage and performed to everyone’s applause.

This is a good opportunity to remind alumni to register to the new IMBA alumni association website which is a new tool for the program and alumni to create, develop, and maintain contact and explore business opportunities.

If you haven’t done so yet, please register on the website so we can all keep in touch:
http://imba-alumni.nccu.edu.tw/

The afternoon events included a screening of the documentary film “Little Knights”, directed by director Ying-Liang Lu. The film tells the story of three children with cerebral palsy—Yu-Ren Sun , Da-Wei Kwo, Wei-Bo Wu and their journey overcoming their physical and mental challenges attending the World Equestrian Games. After the movie, about 70 participants stayed for a panel discussion with the center’s chief coach Uta (Uta 教練), and one of the riders featured in the film, Wei-Bo Wu.  The panel was hosted by IMBA Alumni Association board member Vanessa Chen  (IMBA class of 2003) who also initiated the first contact between the riding center and the alumni association.  The participants where happy to hear of Wei-Bo’s success since the movie, he is now a student at Fu-Jen University and most recently won the first place in the CKS National Equestrian Championship Cup (全國馬術錦標賽冠軍).

Coach Uta mentioned that seeing the movie was like re-living the touching moments as they happened. She went on to introduce the center and its work with people suffering from cerebral palsy, strokes and autism and mentioned that the center is looking for a new location so they can expand their operations and help more people.

Heavy rains in the afternoon brought the fair to an early stop; nonetheless, we all had a great time together. More importantly, the event was successful in raising over NTD 120,000 for the Taiwan Therapeutic Riding Center. We hope that in the future we will have more opportunities to get together and help out the community.

See you all next year.

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