The Special Needs Talent Showcase was created by Friends of Children with Special Needs (FCSN), a non-profit organization that provides programs, services and family support for children and adults with special needs. This competition started in 2012 as an in-house talent show for FCSN's clients and families. It was held annually at FCSN’s Fremont Center. It generated much interest and attracted the attention of others in the special needs community. Therefore, in 2015, FCSN expanded the event to invite and encourage others outside of FCSN in the community to participate. The audition was first held at the FCSN Fremont Center and the final competition was held at the Santa Clara Convention Center Theater. Close to 70 individuals or group acts auditioned the first year.
When the COVID pandemic hit us in 2020, we held the talent showcase LIVE via Zoom, attracting many talented special needs individuals from outside of our local area to compete, including those from other states. We even had contestants from other countries such as Japan and Mexico, bringing our showcase, for the first time in its history, on a global platform. It was incredible to see all the talents from around the world.
FCSN wanted to create a platform for our special needs individuals to shine and reach for the stars by showcasing their talents and abilities rather than their disabilities. The Special Needs Talent Showcase motivates and encourages our special individuals to work hard for something they really want to achieve. It brings them hope and helps fulfill their dreams of being in the spotlight. It also plays an integral role in bringing awareness to others about the special needs community, dispelling stigma and stereotypes and open up employment opportunities.