The Disney Dreamers Academy plans to return with a reimagined approach, March 3-6, marking its 15th year of broadening career awareness and creating exclusive opportunities for Black students and teens from underrepresented communities across America.

Several students from the Tri-State area have been selected to participate in this year’s event: Justin Alvarez from Manhattan, Darcie Wu from Manhattan, Akinyele Yusifu Abibat from the Bronx, Michael Taggart from Jamaica, Queens, Malaya Talavera from Hicksville, Long Island, Aaliyah Summons from Port Jervis, NY, Diya Nair from Avenel, NJ, Denia Smith from Belle Mead, NJ, Alexis Helm from South Orange, NJ and Darius Brown from Newark, NJ.

This year, the program will introduce the Disney Dreamers to an array of new immersions designed to continue to foster the dreams of young leaders beyond imagination, including career-building workshops, networking sessions, mentorship connections and introductions to future professional opportunities at The Walt Disney Company and beyond.

For its 15th year, Disney Dreamers Academy is supporting students in even more ways. In a new initiative, Disney Dreamers Academy, in partnership with ESPN’s The Undefeated and GRAMMY-nominated rap artist Cordae, is awarding college scholarships to 11 students from underrepresented communities attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

The Disney Dreamers program is an important part of Disney’s commitment to supporting diverse communities, such as Black America, by encouraging the next generation to think big and to carry what they learn back with them, so they can relentlessly pursue their dreams and make a difference in the lives of others.

“We are excited and honored to celebrate 15 years of Disney Dreamers Academy with this year’s class,” said Tracey D. Powell, Walt Disney World Resort Vice President and Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion. “We’ve embraced this opportunity to amplify the event, and we’re thrilled to introduce new experiences, new career programs and new mentors.”

Since 2008, Disney Dreamers Academy has inspired more than 1,300 students from across the country by fueling their dreams and showing them a world of possibilities as they prepare for their futures. In the years following, graduates have gone on to become doctors, nurses, engineers, pilots, journalists and more, and have transitioned into mentors to the Disney Dreamers who follow them, including event speaker Princeton Parker (Class of 2011), who is now a Disney cast member.

Each year the Disney Dreamers are selected from thousands of applicants who answer essay questions about their personal stories and dreams for the future. The students and a parent or guardian are given an all-expenses paid trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida for the event.

These Disney Dreamers engage in a wide variety of experiences at Walt Disney World while working side-by-side with and hearing inspirational stories from community and business leaders, Disney cast members, celebrities and other special guests.

During the four-day event, the 100 students selected for the annual program participate in sessions teaching valuable life tools such as leadership skills, effective communication techniques and networking strategies.  They also experience in-depth career workshops in a variety of disciplines aligned with the students’ dreams. These workshops introduce the Disney Dreamers to diverse career paths within business, entertainment and sciences, including career opportunities within The Walt Disney Company.

Past celebrity participants have included stars from the big screen and television, noted sports figures, popular musicians as well as personalities and cast members from across the Disney family including “Good Morning America,’’ ESPN, Disney Channel and the TV series “black-ish” and “grown-ish.”

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