Creative care: Dumbo mom creates funky products for kids with adaptive needs

Dylan Breen

Dumbo

Three cheers for Dumbo company PunkinFutz, which makes innovative therapeutic play products for children with adaptive needs.

The company launched in 2016 and the organization manufactures products that address either physical, emotional, developmental, or sensory needs, such as anxiety, and attention and body awareness. The company started when the founder was trying to find creative solutions for her own kids’ adaptive needs.

“As a mom of two thriving children with adaptive needs, I am so inspired every day to make a positive difference for them and others who can benefit from our products’ mission-driven production.” said Lisa Radcliffe.

The company has made some nifty creations that kids of all abilities can use and express themselves with, such as an accessible bag for wheelchairs that allows young ’uns to keep valuables — such as inhalers, school identification, wallet, and cellphones — close at hand.

It has also made several sensory play products and a deep compression vest that stays cool, adjusts for a good fit, and playfully helps kids stay calm and focused.

The products are manufactured in the United States by adults in adaptive and supportive workplaces, which also provides employment for people with special needs in the future, according to Radcliffe.

“By hiring from the community we serve, we not only develop excellent products for children today, but also create meaningful employment for our children tomorrow,” she said.

— Kevin Duggan

Borough wide

In the Navy

Standing O salutes Petty Officer 2nd Class Zhiwei Tan, a native of Brooklyn serving in the Navy.

Tan joined the Navy because of the opportunities it provided. Now, six years later and half a world away, he serves with Commander, Naval Forces Japan, supporting the Navy’s mission in one of the world’s busiest maritime regions and supporting U.S. 7th Fleet.

“I like being stationed in Japan, it’s a wonderland place,” said Tan. “There’s rich history, the people are polite, it’s just a beautiful country.”

Tan, a 2007 graduate of William E. Grady High School, is a mass communication specialist forward-deployed at a Navy installation in Yokosuka, Japan, 43 miles south of Tokyo.

Playful: PunkinFutz has a range of products for kids with adaptive needs, such as an accessible bag for wheelchairs and a deep compression vest that stays cool, adjusts for a good fit, and helps young ‘uns stay calm and focused.
Black & Gold

“We help coordinate with all shore installations to make sure they have all equipment they need,” said Tan.

He credits success to lessons learned in Brooklyn.

“Growing up in New York, and because it is so diverse, prepared me to enter into the Navy with an open mind,” said Tan.

Commander, Naval Forces Japan, Navy Region Japan acts as the Navy representative and coordinator in the area of responsibility stretching from the southern tip of the Kamchatka peninsula to the northern tip of Taiwan and promotes operability and liaises with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. CNFJ/CNRJ delivers vital shore readiness capabilities to the fleet, fighter and family throughout the western Pacific and Indian Ocean by optimizing available resources.

“What we do here is vastly different than other parts of the world,” said Tan. “We respect the Japanese country and have a great amount of understanding of each other.”

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Tan and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs.

“Serving in the Navy means that I’m able to provide for my family and I’m able to do something I immensely enjoy,” said Tan.

. . .

Brooklyn proud

Standing O couldn’t be prouder of three Brooklyn students who were inducted into a prestigious honor society.

Dorothy Grasso, Raizel Reider and Noah Solano are the newest members of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective all-discipline collegiate honor society.

Grasso and Reider were was initiated at The Sage Colleges, while Solano was initiated at University of Delaware.

These residents are among approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni to be initiated into Phi Kappa Phi each year. Membership is by invitation only and requires nomination and approval by a chapter. Only the top 10 percent of seniors and 7.5 percent of juniors are eligible for membership.

Brooklyn proud: Petty Officer 2nd Class Zhiwei Tan, a native of Brooklyn serves in the Navy with Commander, Naval Forces Japan.

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