Also, Terrence Jenkins hosts mothers & children empowerment session

disney dreamers judges 2014

The 2014 Disney Dreamers Academy judging panel was comprised of (seated) Mikki Taylor; Michelle Ebanks, Steve Harvey, Tracey D. Powell, Sonia Jackson Myles (standing) Princeton Parker; Brandi Harvey; Chef Jeff Henderson; Jonathan Sprinkles; Karli Harvey; and Dr. Steve Perry. (Photo by Disney/Todd Anderson)

*In December 2013, Disney’s Dreamers Academy (DDA) judges gathered in Chicago, Illinois to review applications and select the next 100 teens to take part in Disney’s Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence magazine.

After reviewing nearly 10,000 applications from teens across the U.S. who answered copious essay questions about their dreams, the distinguished panel of judges selected 100 Dreamers.

The new Dreamers and a parent or guardian will receive an all-expense paid trip to the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida where they will engage in life-changing sessions and enjoy Disney’s magical theme parks.  Walt Disney World Resort is a contiguous 40-square-mile, world-class entertainment and recreation center located at Lake Buena Vista, Fla., 20 miles southwest of Orlando.

The lucky Dreamers can look forward to engaging in an expansive program that inspires and fuels their dreams, helps them dream bigger, discover a world of possibilities and get a jumpstart on making those dreams come true to in a 4-day hands-on, full-immersion workshops that will lead them to a bevy of career paths ranging from animation to zoology as well as teach them important skills such as communication techniques and networking strategies.

DDA alum Princeton Parker, Essence Communications President Michelle Ebanks, syndicated radio and talk show host Steve Harvey and Disney Dreamers Academy Executive Champion Tracey D. Powell were among the judges responsible for selecting the winning 100 applications of these motivational young people.   Parker who was in the 2011 DDA class is the first program alumni to become a judge and he will speak during the 2014 DDA program

The other judges included:  Mikki Taylor (editor-at-large, Essence magazine); Dr. Steve Perry (education advocate and CNN commentator); Sonia Jackson Myles (founder and author, The Sister Accord); Jonathan Sprinkles (award-winning motivational speaker); Chef Jeff Henderson (celebrity chef and motivational speaker); Brandi Harvey (corporate and community relations director, the Steve Harvey World Group); and Karli Harvey (Hair Artesian, U Salon, Atlanta).

This year DDA will take place March 6 – 9, 2014 in the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks.  Both on stage and behind the scenes, the parks become vibrant classrooms, leading to career discoveries, the pursuit of dreams and fun memories to cherish for a lifetime.  Motivational speakers and celebrities will share their stories and provide insight on how to achieve success and dream big.

At DDA, Dreamers will be able to cultivate relationships with other students from across the nation while they gain first-hand knowledge from Disney experts and world-renowned entrepreneurs and executives.  Dreamers will also learn important skills such as communication techniques and networking strategies.

Harvey, syndicated radio and television personality, along with Essence Magazine and Walt Disney World Resort will host the selected Dreamers during their four-day power packed career and educational exploration.  Harvey, speaking on the program, says, “Disney Dreamers Academy gives hope and inspiration and exposes youth to a world of possibilities.  We are excited about another opportunity to transform lives and give students an inside look at what their future can hold.”

“Over the past six years, we have helped 600 Dreamers unlock their potential and get started on their journeys in life,” said Powell.  “The seventh 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.”

Essence Communications President Ebanks added, “We are excited about the seventh Disney Dreamers Academy. This program transcends the normal classroom setting, taking learning to the next level.  This year we plan to go above and beyond to encourage Dreamers.  Our valued partnership with Disney Parks and Steve Harvey serves as a firm commitment to the community and leaders of tomorrow.”

DDA’s collaborating partners, Steve Harvey and Essence magazine, have successfully worked together to make a difference in the lives of young people and Disney is fortunate to have so many dedicated, inspirational professionals working together with them to help these young people dream.

Although widely known for his strong family values and his sound business sense, Steve Harvey also has a genuine passion for helping others, as demonstrated through his many philanthropic endeavors… Read More

Although widely known for his strong family values and his sound business sense, Harvey also has a genuine passion for helping others, as demonstrated through his many philanthropic endeavors.  Since 2000, he has helped countless individuals pursue their educational aspirations and career goals.  From book drives and technology upgrades in the Los Angeles Unified School District, to donating more than $35,000 to underserved school children in Jamaica, he has proven himself to be a tireless servant of his community.  Harvey believes that “dreaming is more important than anything.”

Beyond his involvement with DDA, Harvey expanded his philanthropic efforts in 2009, launching The Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men; a 4-day development camp for boys from homes headed by single mothers.  This weekend retreat serves as a true “Manhood Experience” for these young men, allowing them the opportunity to envision and develop their dreams.  His additional philanthropic programs include The Steve Harvey Foundation Gala and the Girls Who Rule the World, created by the Steve and Marjorie Foundation.

ESSENCE is the leading media company dedicated to African-American women and since June 2010, ESSENCE joined Disney in the mission to inspire students as the newest “voice”… Read More

Essence is the leading media company dedicated to African-American women and since June 2010, Essence joined Disney in the mission to inspire students as the newest “voice” behind DDA.  Essence is closely aligned with Disney and Steve Harvey in supporting the mission of DDA and its commitment to positively impacting our youth.  Essence’s commitment to community is evident through their collaboration in DDA in addition to multiple initiatives including Essence Fierce and Fabulous Awards and Essence Music Festival and Youth Outreach Program.  For additional information, please visit www.Essence.com.

Launched in 2007 by Disney Parks, Disney Dreamers Academy has evolved into a year-round initiative with its informational Facebook and Twitter social media platforms; an interactive website; presence at community outreach partner events like the Essence Festival, the National Association of Black Journalists Convention, the Bud Billiken Parade, and the addition of the Disney Dreamers Academy Speakers Resource Group, which consists of various Dreamers Academy event speakers and presenters who serve as program ambassadors.  This year, Dreamers also had the chance to win internships, allowing them the chance to test skills learned at DDA.

The seventh class continues to hold true to its mission to inspire and fuel the dreams of teens, help them discover a world of possibilities and help them prepare for the future.  As a result of their written applications, this year’s talented assemblage of Dreamers has demonstrated their unique credentials to DDA’s judges.  For additional information, please visit www.disneydreamersacademy.com.

disney dreamers (terrence jenkins)

Terrence Jenkins takes a moment to pose with Mickey Mouse, his mother Lisa Gonzalez, actress Lauren London, Disney Dreamers Academy alumnus and current University of Southern California student Princeton Parker and a group of mothers and their children at an empowerment session hosted by DDA at Disneyland Resort last year. (Photo by Disney/Scott Brinegar)

Introducing the Disney’s Dreamers Academy, Class of 2014:

Jonathon Pulliam, Huntsville, AL; Christian Sjoberg, Chandler, AZ; Chelsi Harris, Cerritos, CA; Julia Schemmer, Corona, CA; Savannah Sims, Elk Grove, CA; Natalie Kanimian Glendale, CA; DeVante, Ellis Brown, Pacifica, CA; Xzavion Stevenson, Sacramento, CA; Nia-Renee Cooper, Valencia, CA; Briana Dingle, Washington DC; Jeremy March, Apopka, FL; Carlos Marmolejo, Homestead, FL; Matthew Young, Jacksonville, FL; Kyla George, Jacksonville, FL; Tamara Lee, Jacksonville, FL; Caroline Doyle, Longwood, FL; Samantha Solberg, Longwood, FL; Madison Parrish, Maitland, FL; KiAundra Kilpatrick, Miami Gardens, FL; Tra’Vaughn Harrington, New Port Richey, FL; Pavlina Osta, Port Orange, FL; Kiana Favors, Royal Palm Beach, FL; Jeanine Shraim, Sunrise, FL; Neijia Rilley, Tampa, FL; Jessica Wilson, Tampa, FL; Kiara Davis, Atlanta, GA; Diamond Stewart, Atlanta, GA; Keyonda Gordon, Bonaire, GA; Keza Kasende, Buford, GA; Justin Bell, Douglasville, GA; Jordan Fisher, Jonesboro, GA; Christina Lucas, Roswell, GA; Jevon McCastle, Valdosta, GA; Niani Scott, Bolingbrook, IL; Richard Wright, Chicago, IL; Brittany Joshua, Chicago, IL; Anthony Davis, Homewood, IL; Marquise Black, Matteson, IL; Jordyn Smith, Merrillville, IN; Zebulun Jackson, Kansas City, KS; Joseph Stevenson, Baker, LA; Victoria Glidden, Lynn, MA; Asia McCallum, Baltimore, MD; Tylon Shepherd, District Heights, MD; Courtney Johnson, Upper Marlboro, MD; Crystal Onwu, Upper Marlboro, MD; Audra Clark, Detroit, MI; Chante Wiggins, Detroit, MI; Samuel Trotter, Detroit, MI; Mainza Snapp, Harperwoods, MI; Alyx Johnson, Romulus, MI; Arianna Humphrey, Plymouth, MN; Matt Henderson, Great Falls, MT; Luke Morrel, Cary, NC; Maya Palmer, Garner, NC; Doni Holloway, Laurinburg, NC; Brianna Blow, Snow Hill, NC; Moorea Cioppa, Brick, NJ; Cheyenne Allen, East Orange, NJ; Duval Woodford II, Egg Harbor Township, NJ; Tomorrow Baldwin-Montgomery, Haddonfield, NJ; Davonté  Drayden, Jersey City, NJ; Sahking Mathis, Montclair, NJ; Jaleah Bernard, Willingboro, NJ; Adina Redzic, Astoria, NY; Avia Anderson, Bronx, NY; Daniel Anikwue, Brooklyn, NY; Chelsea Mina, Brooklyn, NY; Madison Mack, Brooklyn, New York, NY; Ato Arkhurst, Liverpool, NY; Tiana Young Spring, Valley, NY; Andrianna Watson, Garfield Heights, OH; Lucretia Adams, Sagamore Hills, OH; Christopher Simmons Jr., Toledo, OH; Kenya Spears, Portland, OR; Ryan Stewart, Philadelphia, PA; Cara Treacy, Chester Springs, PA; Quencey Hickerson, Harrisburg, PA; Amijah Townsend-Holmes, Philadelphia, PA; Rachel Toney, Aiken, SC; Tiara Anderson, Columbia, SC; Caitlin Montgomery, Fort Mill, SC; Emral Burgess, Salters, SC; Donavon Davis, Spartanburg, SC; Austin Bush, West Columbia, SC; Arlisa Dillard, Memphis, TN; Darin McMahon, Sugar Land, TX; Alexandra Elias, Beaumont, TX; Sheridan Smith, Dallas, TX; Lenna Reed, Houston, TX; Sarah Mills, Marion, TX; Chelsey Caldwell, Mont Belvieu, TX; Sira Ntagha, Richmond, TX; Matthew Moody, Spring, TX; Sierra Bruggink, Eden, UT; Joshua Reed, Alexandria, VA; Brooke Willett, Morrisville, VT; Haley Stowell, Eau Claire, WI; Olivia Dodd; Charleston, WV; and Rachel Pence, Charleston, WV.

*E! News host and actor Terrence Jenkins takes a moment to pose with Mickey Mouse, his mother Lisa Gonzalez, actress Lauren London, Disney Dreamers Academy alumnus and current University of Southern California student Princeton Parker and a group of mothers and their children at an empowerment session hosted by DDA at Disneyland Resort last year.  Jenkins is a speaker and ambassador for DDA with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine held annually at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and just released his first book “The Wealth of My Mother’s Wisdom.”

New York based award-winning journalist Audrey J. Bernard covers entertainment, fashion & beauty, film, lifestyles and travel for the Electronic Urban Report and other outlets.  Contact her via: [email protected]

audrey bernard

Audrey J. Bernard