Saturday, September 26, 2020

What Does it Mean to Be 100? Disney Dreamers Academy Class of 2020 Goes Virtual

Can you imagine being a teenager and given the opportunity of a lifetime to spend four magical days at Walt Disney World to experience a phenomenal mentorship program, at no cost to your family?

Every year since it's inception in 2008,  one hundred driven teens (ages 13-19) with inspiring stories from all over the United States head to the Florida resort for Disney Dreamers Academy, hosted by Comedian Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine. 

Designed to guide them on a transformational path to success, these amazing Gen Z kids would be accompanied by one parent or guardian and attend empowering career-orientated workshops and thought-provoking panels lead by professionals, business leaders, motivational speakers, and celebrities.      

Unfortunately, this Spring the incredibly planned out weekend was cut short when the truly unthinkable happened! Due to the coronavirus pandemic and with consideration for the health and safety of all those attending the program and visiting the parks, Disney World had to shut down. As a co-host for the Facebook live show the Brown Side of Disney alongside Tanay of Life with TanayTomika of Life in Pumps, and Shaye of Popcorn and Tequilawe all had the chance to chat with Danielle Faust of OkDani, who was actually in attendance for the event. You can watch the conversation here.

Disney Dreamers Academy Goes Virtual

In true Disney form, there was no way the Magic could stop for these deserving, hard-working teens! It was announced this August that they'd switch the programming into a virtual experience that I'm excited to be covering this weekend! 

Just like past Disney Dreamers Academy events, the virtual experience will deliver life lessons and tools such as effective communication techniques, leadership skills, and networking strategies. This version of the program will do so with self-paced workshops, interactive video-conferencing sessions, networking opportunities, and more, led by top speakers and industry professionals.

Following the virtual experience, all 100 students will be placed into career shadowing externships based on their dream professions so they can receive personal insight and advice from mentors with deep dives into 16 varied fields including Medicine, Imagineeering, and Engineering, Theater, Music Production, and more!

What does it mean to Be 100?

As parents to a high school sophomore who's been in an accelerated program since middle school and currently taking college-level coursework, we've always implored to our son the importance of giving it his all, and even 100% may not seem to be enough. In order to be a successful young Black man in this society, you have to go above and beyond and dream the impossible because it's not out of reach! 

In the midst of the pandemic, our teen had been battling gastritis symptoms and anxiety surrounding the coronavirus and state of the world but still managed to receive Honors in history and exceptional grades overall. We've always encouraged our two boys, our readers, and families to live their best lives despite their circumstances, and that's why I can't wait to share this experience with you all in hopes that you spread the word to your community as well. 

Now more than ever we need exceptional programs like this that will encourage, uplift, and motivate our teens to greatness and so many people don't even know they exist or how to apply.

In preparation for this virtual weekend, Disney Dreamer Academy alumnus of 2011, Princeton Parker left a message to the Class of 2020 during the official countdown to the virtual series of programming.

"To Be or Not to Be? Resoundingly my answer is I choose to Be 100!
To Be unstoppable, unshakeable, undefeatable.
To Be resilient, to rebound, and always be abounding.
To Be and not to be defined or overcome by current circumstances, but
To Be an overcomer. 
To Be the hero of my own story. 
I choose to Be 100!"

For the past few months at every turn, adults and children alike have faced tremendous obstacles and loss while plagued with a deadly virus and systemic racism throughout the nation. We have all needed to challenge ourselves to find new ways to continue to Be 100 and Gen Z teens are going to lead the change!

Beyond getting good grades to Be 100, students are encouraged to raise the bar of excellence to get involved by joining academic or social organizations, help peers and stay on top of coursework,  and to try something new that may be out of their comfort zone.

PIN the Above Images as a Reminder! and make sure to visit the Disney Dreamers Academy website to learn more about the program and to find out when applications open for 2021 so that your child ages 13 - 19 can apply for a chance to #BE100! 

If you're on twitter you can follow me at for live coverage and a recap of great moments over on

Looking for the inside scoop on the experience? Check out these insightful posts from friends and colleagues that have witnessed the magic of this program: 

Why Your Teen Should Apply to the Disney Dreamers Academy  - Ok Dani 

Disney Dreamers Academy: What to Expect - Sparks of Magic

Disney Dreamers Academy - Here is the Truth - Passports and Parenting

Dreams Do Come True - Disney Dreamers Academy  - Life in Pumps

A Message to the Mom of a Dreamer - The Motivated Mom

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