African American News

Disney Dreamers Academy Inspires Youth with Celebrity Mentors

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The 17th annual Disney Dreamers Academy kicked off this week at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, bringing together 100 high school students from diverse backgrounds for a transformative

In addition to being a popular figure on the hit ABC TV series “Shark Tank,” Daymond John is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur and investor who is well-known for launching the successful clothing line FUBU. (Photo Courtesy Daymond John)

experience guided by celebrity mentors and industry professionals.

Television stars Daymond John, Dara Reneé, Lance Gross, and Sanya Richards-Ross headline the roster of mentors, alongside DJ Big Tigger, national radio host Rickey Smiley, and esteemed educators, designers, producers, and Disney executives. These luminaries will dedicate five days to mentoring the students and nurturing their aspirations.

Dara Reneé, acclaimed for her portrayal of Kourtney in “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” assumes the role of the Disney Dreamers Academy “DREAMbassador.” Drawing from her own journey as an artist across stage and screen, Reneé will share personal insights with the students. Additionally, Reneé is set to star in the upcoming Disney Original movie “Descendants: The Rise of Red,” further enriching her mentorship.

Joining the lineup are other distinguished speakers, including DJ Big Tigger, Rickey Smiley, Dr. Johnnetta Cole, Nikkolas Smith, Lyn Sisson-Talbert, Jérôme LaMaar, and emerging musical artist Samara Cyn. Through immersive workshops, these mentors will expose students to various career paths within The Walt Disney Company, spanning business, entertainment, science, and more.

Since its inception in 2008, Disney Dreamers Academy has empowered over 1,600 students, igniting their passions and broadening their horizons. By providing a platform for underrepresented youth to explore their potential, the program embodies Disney’s commitment to fostering diversity and innovation.


The Disney Dreamers Academy exemplifies the power of mentorship in shaping the future of our youth. By connecting aspiring young minds with accomplished professionals from diverse fields, the program offers invaluable guidance and inspiration. Initiatives like this not only empower individuals to pursue their dreams but also contribute to creating a more inclusive and dynamic society. As we celebrate the achievements of these students, let us continue to champion programs that foster creativity, ambition, and diversity in our communities.

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