Disney VoluntEARS Partner to Help Community Members Pursue their Goals

Megan Tate

by , Internal Communications Specialist, Disneyland Resort

Disneyland Resort has a long-standing history of volunteering in the Anaheim community through its Community Workforce Development Initiative. Disney VoluntEARS from the Disneyland Resort recently conducted mock interviews in partnership with My Day Counts, a nonprofit dedicated to training people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

My Day Counts strives to provide a sense of community and support as participants work toward their goals through trainings, activities and curriculum. Many students from Disney’s first workshop at My Day Counts have already completed successful interviews and gotten jobs within the community.

Kyle O'Shea outside the Disneyland Hotel

Kyle O’Shea (above) works at Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel and is a participant in My Day Counts. He says the cast member involvement with the organization is important because “it shows the participants at My Day Counts that there is an opportunity [for them] at Disneyland.”

When asked how he brings that special Disney cast member magic to what he does at the resort, Kyle said he smiles and tries to show everyone that Disneyland is home.

“I never thought I’d come to Disneyland to work here; it’s a dream,” said Kyle. “It’s a great experience working here with all the other cast members… it’s just like a family.”

VoluntEARS seated around a conference table with program participants

The VoluntEARS who conducted the interviews were just as thankful for the opportunity. Cast members Michelle Sico and Vicky Quinnan, both members of ENABLED, a Disneyland Resort Business Employee Resource Group that promotes respect, equality, and appreciation of people with disabilities through community, awareness, education and inclusion, carried their passion for community and belonging into this experience.

Michelle appreciates the employee resource groups for encouraging community for those with similar life experiences. “Having the space where you can just be who you are and not worry about judgment is so wonderful,” she said.

Crystal Rodriguez of My Day Counts said the resort’s involvement with the organization is pivotal. “It shows our participants that if they can interview with Disney, they can ace it anywhere,” Crystal said.

Cast members in a classroom look toward a program participant raising their hand

“Our participants being able to do a mock interview with Disney gives them confidence,” added Andrea Seeley of My Day Counts. “Receiving direct feedback about how they did is really important and will help them take their interviewing skills to the next level.”

The Disneyland Resort collaborates with nonprofit organizations and school districts that serve a diverse set of needs in the community for youth and jobseekers. The Community Workforce Development Initiative supports three pillars: mentorship, career skills development and community program support. Disney VoluntEARS’ efforts at My Day Counts were part of the Disneyland Resort Community Workforce Development Initiative.