One of the best things about my job here at Walt Disney World Resort is connecting with people who help make Central Florida an even more magical place. But many of them aren’t leaders of business, government or even nonprofits – they’re our community’s young people! And each year, we honor their hard work and heart by recognizing them as Disney Dreamers and Doers.
Each spring, we ask elementary, middle and high school principals to select one student who not only dreams of a better home, school and community, but works hard to make it a reality. As our team learned about these students and their work, we were inspired, touched and yes, happy tears were shed! Especially when we read stories like these:
When she was just a kindergartner, Olivia began donating her hair to an organization that makes wigs for children with cancer. Though some kids made fun of her cropped hair, others were inspired to cut and donate their own – just as Olivia has done. (Five times and counting!) “Donating my hair is a great way to help other kids,” said Olivia, “And it makes me feel very proud.”
Like his friends, family and neighbors, Brock was shocked and saddened by news of the Pulse tragedy in Orlando last summer. To help his community heal, he and his family decided to honor each of the 49 victims with one act of kindness. He picked up trash in parks, baked cookies for first responders, worked in food banks and collected donations for homeless families and senior citizens. “I expected to work hard and help people,” said Brock. “But what I didn’t expect was how much fun I would have with my family. And how I felt incredible helping others.”
From among this year’s class of 375 Dreamers and Doers, 15 students (three per county) are honored as Shining Stars. They receive some special mementos and, along with their immediate family members, will soon get an extra special treat. On June 10, these Shining Stars may be among the first voyagers to experience Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.
We salute the 2017 Class of Disney Dreamers and Doers and Shining Stars for putting actions behind their dreams to make their world – and ours – better for everyone!