DETROIT (CW50) It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for young students: an all-expense paid trip to the Walt Disney World Resort to participate in an innovative outside-the-classroom educational and mentoring program. It’s called the Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine and this year, four Michigan youth were invited to participate.
Faith Boone of Novi, Tiara Clark of Detroit, Kayla Noel of Pontiac, and DeShone Valley of Saginaw were selected from over 5000 students across the country who applied for the program. Two of the Detroit-area Dreamers took a few minutes out of their first day at the Academy to chat about the experience.
Both girls had compelling stories to share in their application. Tiara Clark of Detroit talked about the difficulties in her life and the challenges she’s faced. “I knew I didn’t want to be a statistic so I try to do everything in my power not to do what family members in the past and people in my neighborhood have done.”
Faith Boone of Novi wrote about her brother who passed away last October. “He had a condition called Dandy Walker Syndrome. It slowed down his development physically and mentally,” she explained. “This experience has been the first joy in a while.”
The jam-packed event began in the Magic Kingdom’s Hall of Presidents with a welcome presentation featuring Steve Harvey, the syndicated radio and television personality who hosts “Steve Harvey!” (weekdays at 9am and 5pm on CW50) and “Family Feud” (weekdays at 7pm and 7:30pm on CBS 62).
“Disney Dreamers Academy gives hope and inspiration and exposes youth to a world of possibilities,” said Steve Harvey, who hosted the four-day career and educational exploration. “We are excited about another opportunity to transform lives and give students an inside look at what their future can hold.”
The students also participated in a parade down Main Street and a dinner featuring inspirational speakers before being released to enjoy the park. Day two of their adventure began the career exploration portion of the event through a series of hands-on, full-immersion workshops related to career paths ranging from animation to zoology.
The Detroit area Dreamers were excited about the chance to explore their dreams. “I’m interested in journalism and they set me up with a CNN correspondent to learn from her experiences,” said Faith.
“I look forward to the experience; learning everything I can from the mentors,” said Tiara.
During the event each participant learns important skills such as communication techniques and networking strategies. Motivational speakers and celebrities share their stories and provide insight on how to achieve success and “DREAM BIG.”
“Over the past five years, we have helped 500 Dreamers unlock their potential and get started on their journeys in life,” said Disney Dreamers Academy Executive Champion Tracey D. Powell. “The sixth Disney Dreamers Academy marks another year of continued motivation, education and success. Steve Harvey and Essence Communications share in our vision of enriching lives. Everyone leaves this program inspired to live their best life.”
The Detroit Dreamers were inspired and very grateful for the chance to participate in this year’s event.
“This opportunity means the world to me,” said Tiara. “Being a Detroiter I never thought I would have the opportunity to come here for free and learn from all these people.”
“They mentioned 5000 applicants. I’m still in shock that they picked me,” said Faith. “It’s just an amazing opportunity.”
To read the previous post about the Disney Dreamer Academy, visit http://cwdetroit.cbslocal.com/2013/02/07/detroiters-invited-to-disney-resort-as-part-of-disney-dreamers/
For more information about the Disney Dreamer Academy, visit www.disneydreamersacademy.com
Faith Boone shares more about her experience at the Disney Dreamers Academy on “Street Beat,” Sunday at 11am on CW50.