Earlier this year, I was invited as a guest to view first hand, how the Disney Dreamers Academy, with its innovative, outside-the-classroom, educational mentoring program, helps to propel youth from throughout the nation into action, to fulfill their dreams and goals for the future.
I can’t tell you how impressed I was at the dedication of the Disney people and the invited guests and panelists who came to the weekend event just to encourage and motivate young people, and to give them a running start in achieving their dreams.
Now, applications are being accepted for the 2016 Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort.
Hosted by Steve Harvey and ESSENCE, the Dreamers Academy is open to high school students throughout the country. But only 100 will be selected to participate.
The Disney Dreamers will be exposed to motivational speakers and celebrities who share their stories and provide insight on how to achieve success and dream big. Those accepted into the program will also have the opportunity to cultivate relationships with other students from across the country, while they gain first-hand knowledge from Disney experts and world-renown entrepreneurs and executives.
Disney Dreamers come to the program along with a parent or guardian and will receive all-expense paid trips to Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando. There, the selected Dreamers will participate in life-changing sessions.
High school students ages 13 to 19 are eligible to apply to the Disney Dreamers Academy, which will take place March 3-6 at the resort.
Since the program started nine years ago, 800 students have participated.
“I am excited to find the next 100 students. I encourage all high school students to take the time to apply for Disney Dreamers Academy because I truly believe that a young person’s dream is more important than anything,” said Harvey, who has been with the program since its inception, in a news release:
Those applying must answer essay questions about their personal stories and their dreams for the future. Students are selected based on a combination of attributes, including a strong character, positive attitude and determination to achieve their dreams.
Applications are open now through Oct. 30. A distinguished panel of leaders will judge the applications in November ad winners will be announced in December. To apply and for more information, go to DisneyDreamersAcademy.com.
Women Up Front
Please circle the date Aug. 18 on y our calendars. That is when the Women Up Front’s “Asset and Power Mapping Session” will be at Miami Workers Center, 745 NW 54th St., Miami.
Event organizers seek to bring together women leaders from community organizations, social service providers, government, artists, health and education professionals, faith leaders, labor and other allies to come together to increase efficiency, effectiveness and understanding of the work that women do in the community.
According to Serena Perez, program director for Women Up Front, by coming together, women can collectively assess their strengths, resources and opportunities. She said in a news release that “Asset Mapping challenges the idea that our communities are filled with only deficits by looking at what is working and to provide a resource map for new and deeper collaboration.”
Peerez said the event will also serve as a “powerful space to bring separate work into one collective space and build a women powered united front.”
For more information and to RSVP, email Perez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Educator honored by Diplomas Now
Congratulations to Mariafe Arteaga Rivera, for being honored as the “Coordinator of the Year” by Diplomas Now, a national innovative public-private partnership that works to give students who are at risk of dropping out of school, with the right support at the right time.
Rivera is the Communities in Schools (CIS) of Miami site coordinator at Homestead High and has worked for Communities in Schools for three years. As a site coordinator, she provides extensive experience in program implementations, grant management, mentoring academic coaching, and partnership development.
In the past, she has been recognized as one of three Latina site coordinators across the nation by NBC Latino for the impact she has had in keeping students in school and on track for graduation.
She said, “It is truly an honor to receive this amazing validation for the work I do for my students and the CIS organization.”
Communities in Schools is an affiliated of the nation’s leading dropout prevention program and has won three additional awards from Diplomas Now, including “Team of the Year” for Homestead High; “School of the Year” for Booker T. Washington High, and “Facilitator of the Year” for Derrick Moore from Talent Development at Booker T. Washington High.
Women’s Equality Day
Lest we forget: To commemorate the 95th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which granted voting rights to women and continued efforts on behalf of equal rights, the Miami Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department will host the third annual celebration of Women’s Equality Day from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Aug. 22, at The Women’s Park, 10251 W. Flagler St. The free event is sponsored by the Miami-Dade County Commission for Women and the League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County.
Lynette Long, Ph.D., president and founder of Equal Visibility Everywhere (EVE), will be the guest speaker at the free event. EVE, a not-for-profit organization, is dedicated to achieving gender parity in the symbols and icons of the United States, such as currency, stamps, statues, monuments, street names, and national holidays.
At the event, Long will discuss EVE’s efforts to raise the visibility of women, which include plans for adding women leaders like Harriett Tubman, Amelia Earhart and Marjory Stoneman Douglas to the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol Building.
It is fitting that the event will be in The Women’s Park, the first park dedicated to women in the United States. The park was created to honor all women, past, present, and future for their contributions to the betterment of the quality of life in Miami-Dade County. Members of the original Women’s Parks Founders include Roxcy O’Neal Bolton (Mother of the Park); Bonnie Lano Rippomgo; Molly Turner; Teresa Zorilla Clark; Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields; Leona Cooper; Katherine Fernandez Rundle; and Silvia Unzueta. The late Elaine Gordon, Monna Lighte and Helen Miller were also founders.
Voting Rights Act celebrated
Speaking of anniversaries, August is the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. We should also remember that things in the voting circle are not as well as they seem. To this day, there are those who would take away this golden right of guaranteeing every American citizen easy access to the ballot.
We must remain ever watchful for the loopholes that would take us back to the old days.
“Protecting and strengthening voting rights should be the highest priority for Congress and the president,” said Miles Rapoport, president of Common Cause, in a news release. “It is unacceptable that a half-century after the Voting Rights Act removed centuries-old barriers to voting, state legislatures in much of the country are concocting new schemes targeting communities that are mostly black, elderly, or have large student populations.”
Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to restoring the core values of American democracy, reinventing an open. honest and accountable government that works for the public interest and empowering ordinary people to make their voices heard.
Events commemorating the Voting Rights Act anniversary were held in 13 states, from Alabama to Virginia, Aug. 5-9. A Florida event was scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Miami Dade Public Library, 101 Flagler St. in downtown Miami.
For more information on Common Cause, contact Dale Eisman at 202-833-1200.
Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email email@example.com. Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.