The 9th annual Disney Dreamers Academy, hosted by Steve Harvey and ESSENCE magazine, is an amazing, life-changing event that awards 100 participants and their families an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., for a powerful four-day conference. These young adults came from cities all over the country. And each of these students was an inspiration to me—both for what they had achieved already and their potential for what they could achieve. However, I was particularly interested in the two youths who came from Chicago.
With all of the violence and negative news you hear coming from the city of Chicago, I was curious to hear the stories of the two teens who call the strife-stricken city their home. Here’s what I discovered.
Joshua Love, a student of Ogden International School of Chicago, was all smiles as he discussed his plans for the future. Love aspires to be a photographer and videographer. He admitted to once having a “street” mentality early on, but then realized what he desired for the future. In order to achieve that goal, he knew he had to make a choice.
As a huge step in that direction, Love applied to the Disney Dreamers Academy, which not only gave him positive encouragement to help him achieve that goal but also hands-on experience in that area. Since all of the Disney Dreamers were given an opportunity to participate in a career workshop of their choice, Love chose to attend a career session with the journalism team. There he demonstrated his knowledge of photography and was definitely energetic about the profession.
Likewise, Jordan Williams, a student of Whitney Young high school, also came into the academy with her dreams. Williams, also a Chicago native, wants to be a pediatric oncologist and shared how she keeps others around her motivated and inspired.
The 16-year old plans to pursue her college career at either Howard University or Syracuse University. But before then, Williams was also given an opportunity to explore her career path through the academy’s career session with the medical team.
I find it inspiring how both of these amazing teens can remain so hopeful and concentrate on their futures despite the negativity plaguing Chicago. Each also shared how they motivate their friends to stay on the path to success too. They know by having a plan and a dream for your future, they will definitely remained focused and limit the outside distractions. We can learn a lot from these two inspirational dreamers.
BMWK, how do you stay focused on your dreams despite hurdles and distractions around you?