Fulfilling a Dream | Easterseals Arc of Northeast Indiana

A month after the event, a Culinary Queen made a young singer a shopping queen for a day.

On Nov. 9, Amanda Cross, managing broker at CEI Property Services, teamed up with Melissa Clack, the accounting manager at her company, for Old National Bank’s Culinary Queens benefitting Easterseals Arc. They made mini pumpkin-spice muffins with cream-cheese icing from scratch, and they enjoyed some great entertainment, including a choir composed of singers from Easterseals Arc.

During one of the numbers, each singer in the choir held up a sign with one of his or her dreams or goals. Many of the individuals dream on a large scale, with goals such as getting married or buying a house. That wasn’t the case with 27-year-old Destany. Her goal was clear, even manageable. She wanted to go on a shopping spree.

“I love to shop,” Cross said. “I love to give to people.” She saw a pairing of experience and dream in the making. And she wasn’t the only one.

“You could help her with that!” Clack said.

“I was game to do whatever (Destany) wanted. If she wanted to take the train to Chicago to go shopping, I would have done that,” Cross said.

Cross got in touch with administrators at Easterseals Arc and began working to put together Destany’s goal. A month later, they brought it off. An Easterseals Arc staff member picked up Destany after church and took her to a 3 p.m. shopping appointment with Cross. Cross let Destany pick the store, and she picked her favorite, Walmart.

They spent two hours shopping. Destany was interested in outfits sold as sets, with a top, vest and pants in each. Cross bought nine outfits, after Destany tried on each. Destany is quite petite, so Cross often had to search to find the sizes Destany needs. And there was more: Four or five pairs of pants and shorts. Sock caps. Tall dress boots. Socks. Tights. Tennis shoes. Destany, who lives with her grandmother, picked out a Christmas present for her grandmother, a hat-and-scarf set, as well as cologne for a friend.

“It was a lot of fun doing it. I know she enjoyed the stuff, and I enjoyed just being able to do that for her,” Cross said.

Five days after the shopping trip, Destany was at Easterseals Arc, sporting new clothes neck-to-toes. Her top, her pants and her calf-high black boots all came from her shopping trip. She still seemed a little giddy about her afternoon with Cross. “She filled a whole cart!” Destany said.