l-to-r: Tracey Powell, Mickey Mouse, Steve Harvey, and Mikki Taylor. Photo Credit: Walt Disney World
What if you had a dream, but you didn’t know how to make it come true or if it was even possible? What if you knew you were destined for something big in life, but you didn’t know how you were going to make it happen? What if your current circumstances seemed so insurmountable, that you didn’t know how to overcome them in order to work on your dreams.
I am quite sure that many of us can relate to any one of those scenarios. And there are children all across this nation that are growing up with big dreams, but they don’t know how to attain them. And that is where Steve Harvey, Essence Magazine, and Disney come in. Each year for the past six years, they have held a life-changing 4 day program, Disney Dreamers Academy (DDA), where they help high school students dream. Tracey Powell – Disney’s Executive Champion for DDA, says in the program they are:
“Touching high school students to help them dream big. We (DDA) want them to be able to dream big, to discover the possibilities and to give them a jump start on achieving their dreams.”
The 100 teens were selected from a pool of 5000 candidates. And these teens come from all walks of life. Some of them have two parent homes, some of them don’t have homes at all, some of them are excelling in all areas in their lives and have incredible support systems, and there are others that are going through challenges in their personal lives but are still managing to overcome them to exceed. But all of the teens had one thing in common…their ability to dream.
Jeff Henderson, executive chef and best-selling author, gives Disney Dreamers (L-R) Kendra Nesmith, of Fort Mill, S.C., Kayla Noel, of Pontiac, Mich., and Cameron Wicks, of Cedar Hill, Texas, a greenhouse tour in Epcot March 8, 2013 during a culinary workshop at Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine. Photo Credit: Walt Disney World
Disney Dreamers Marquese Sykes, of Seattle, Wash., and Brandon A. Tanyi, of Inglewood, Calif., step into the shoes of an anesthesiologist March 8, 2013 at a medical workshop in Epcot during Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine. Photo Credit: Walt Disney World
And that is why the Disney Dreamers Academy is so special. Because these teens are able to interact with celebrities and professionals that are at the top of their fields in workshops (called deep dive sessions) and via motivational keynote speeches and panels. Just imagine having a dream of becoming a film maker, and having Will Packer (Producer/Director- Rainforest Films) take some time to tell you how to make that possible. Well that is exactly what’s happening as these aspiring Chefs, actresses, doctors, educators, and engineers are being motivated by people that know what it takes to achieve those dreams.
Singer Kimberley Locke performs March 8, 2013 at Epcot during Disney Dreamers Academy. Photo Credit: Walt Disney World
Disney Dreamer Daniel Blues (left) and actor Lance Gross go for a high-speed ride on Test Track presented by Chevrolet March 9, 2013 at Epcot during Disney Dreamers Academy . Photo Credit: Walt Disney World
Can you imagine what this country would be like if every child had the opportunity to be inspired to dream big like this? That’s why it’s so important for each of us (adults) to take some time give back by mentoring another young person…whether it’s your own child, your nieces and nephews, or kids from the local community. Meg Crofton (President, Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts Us & France) says:
“The most important time that we can invest is in the life and development of a young person.”
BMWK Family – Please spread the word about the Disney Dreamer’s Academy? How are you inspiring the youth in your lives to dream big?
Click here to see more of our coverage from the 2013 Disney Dreamers Academy.