Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Disney’s Dreamers Academy: Dreaming Big and On Purpose

As many of you know I spent last week RUNNING around Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. First was Disney’s Princess Half Marathon, then I got to relax and experience Disney adult-style; and I wrapped up the trip covering Disney’s Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine.

The Dreamers Academy was launched in 2007 to inspire students grades 9-12 to dream big and to help expose them to, and identify, career paths. For four days the Dreamers participated in immersive workshops focusing on a variety of subjects including Walt Disney Imagineering techniques, entertainment, entrepreneurship, and culinary arts. Disney experts, world renowned entrepreneurs and celebrities like Tamera Mowry, Chris Massey and Raven-Symone shared their blueprints for success.

I’ve posted about this event several times as I’ve attended the past two and this year I had the honor of being one of 11 judges to select the final 100 participants. It’s hard to put into words the magic that this life-changing weekend brings – it’s inspirational, motivational, educational and eye-opening to everyone that crosses its path. I think pictures show the magic beautifully but I’d also like to share some powerful words that we could all use in our everyday lives. These words come from Miki Taylor, editor-at-large for Essence magazine who, after an uplifting talk, left the Dreamers with these five instructions:

Know your value.

Be on purpose.

Take cues from the right sources.

Don’t let negativity get in your way.

Be the empowered dreamers you are called to be by stepping out on faith.


Tracey D. Powell, Executive Champion for Disney's Dreamers Academy, Mikki Taylor, Steve Harvey and several students serve as the grand marshals on March 3, 2011 in the daily parade at the Magic Kingdom.


High school student Erik Hamlet of Parkville, Md. designs a roller coaster at the Sum of All Thrills simulator attraction in Innoventions during a career workshop session at Epcot.


New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson poses for a photo with high school student Ashlynn Stodghill of Atlanta, Ga. at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


Singer Kimberley Locke serenades the Dreamers.


Motivational speakers Dr. Steve Perry and Jonathan Sprinkles, Alex O. Ellis, CEO of Simply Ellis Custom Clothier, and Terrance J, host of BET's "106 and Park," speak to a group of male students.


Terrance J interviews actor Chris Massey and actress Tamera Mowry.


Actress/singer Raven-Symoné cheers on student Nautica Mitchell of Alpharetta, Ga. during the commencement ceremony.


Me with gospel great Yolanda Adams


Steve Harvey, Essence Communications, Inc. President Michelle Ebanks and Mikki Taylor pose for a photo with Mickey Mouse and a group of Dreamers.

Make sure YOU’RE dreaming big and on purpose.

Winks & Smiles,






Disclosure: Walt Disney World Resort provided my travel and accommodations. As always my thoughts and opinions are all my own.


Photo credits: Todd Anderson provide all of the photos via Disney except the photo of me with Yolanda Adams taken by Eric Payne.

5 comments:

Michelle said...

Fantastic event! I love that you got to be part of something like this (and you got to meet Yolanda Adams!) May all of them take to heart the message to dream big and on purpose!

Marlene said...

This sounds like a really great organization to be involved with - and a totally cool experience!!

The Fabulous Do Gooder said...

Love your recap of this event. I also enjoyed your tweets while you were there too! I'm glad everyone walked walked away from this event inspired. Wish I could have been there.

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

love the advice and this seems like such a great event!! I think you have convinced me i need to do a disney race

Nikki said...

Found your blog while looking for articles on the Dreamers Academy and I love your recap. I was there as well with my mentee and this was truly an inspiring event for me. I think I was just as excited as the kids. The feel for the entire weekend was electric!!

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