NEW ORLEANS (July 2, 2010) - Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey, a program created by Disney Parks to provide career-exploration and mentoring to high school teens, has gained another "voice" - another big, national voice: Through an agreement announced today with Essence Communications Inc., the annual event is being relaunched as Disney's Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine.
The program, which brings together 100 high school students from across the country for several days of interactive workshops and seminars, mentoring and inspiration focusing on careers and life enrichment (all sprinkled with Disney fun), will be convening its fourth class at Walt Disney World Resort in early 2011.
"Essence is closely aligned with Disney and Steve Harvey in supporting the mission of Disney's Dreamers Academy and its commitment to positively impacting our youth," said Angela Burt-Murray, editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine. "Disney's Dreamers Academy is helping teens take steps in the right direction, and we want to be right there with the students, both encouraging them and sharing their stories."
Tracey Walters-Powell, executive champion of the program for Disney Parks & Resorts, added, "Disney's Dreamers Academy is a perfect platform to further the goal, shared by Disney Parks, Essence Communications and - it goes without saying - by Steve Harvey, to inspire children. We are genuinely excited about the possibilities ahead as Essence joins with Steve and Disney to take the initiative to the next level."
Upon creating Disney's Dreamers Academy in 2007, Disney joined forces with Harvey, a nationally syndicated radio personality, actor and best-selling author, to launch the initial nationwide search for high school students who possess a winning combination of attributes that reflect strong character and an attitude that will enable them to seek and take advantage of opportunities for their future.
Each fall since then, thousands of teens have been nominated by parents, teachers, school administrators, church groups and even the students themselves. A distinguished panel of leaders from communications, education, industry and entertainment - includingHarvey and Disney cast - reviews the applications and selects a Dreamers Academy class of 100 teens in grades 9 through 12.
"This is really such an amazing collaboration," Harvey said. "We have the gold standard of international entertainment with Walt Disney World Resort. Essence is known the world over for being a clear and positive voice for African American women. Disney and Essence will bring these kids so much hope and show them the world is right at their fingertips if they learn how to dream. Disney's Dreamers Academy is evolving into more than I even imagined it could be."
As Disney, Essence Communications and Harvey formulate plans for the 2011 Disney's Dreamers Academy, their collective minds will be to develop a program that inspires high school students to "dream bigger, explore a world of possibilities and get started making those dreams a reality," according to Disney's Walters-Powell.
The "getting started" or "training" component being developed marks an elevation to the "next level," she added.
"Motivation, inspiration is a building block," she said. "Now we are going to add the nudge that puts these young people's plans into action as they prepare for productive adult lives."
Nominations for the Class of 2011 can be submitted from July 2-Oct. 31, 2010, with information about procedures at www.DisneysDreamersAcademy.com. The 100 high school students selected will travel to Walt Disney World Resort, near Orlando in central Florida, for Disney's Dreamers Academy March 3-6, 2011.
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