Trust The Lord With Your Dreams

(Sorry, it's a little lengthy...but it's worth the read! 😄)

Well before getting into it, here's a little back story:

If you knew me 5 years ago then you might remember that I was accepted into a program called the Disney's Dreamers Academy (DDA). After attending the program, it kinda felt like my life was strapped to a jetpack. I started pursuing opportunities like never before and crazy awesome things just began opening up for me. 

There is no doubt in my mind that attending this program in 2012, and of course God's sovereignty, changed the course of my entire life which has brought me to where I am today.  

Now you're probably wondering why. I don't think words can do the reality of this program justice - but to help you better understand this whole 

story - I will try to give you my best overview of what the Disney's Dreamers Academy is all about. The Disney's Dreamers Academy was founded 10 years ago by Steve Harvey along with partnerships with Disney, Essence Magazine and many other national and international sponsors and organizations. This highly competitive program exists to seek and develop purpose-driven and career-oriented high school students by inspiring them to dream big for their lives, helping them achieve success and developing within them a culture of leadership for their communities. Leadership development and career preparation is created in this program through immersing students in interactive career workshops, providing engaging guest speaker seminars with celebrities, leaders, and industry professionals from a range of fields, teaching business skills such as networking and interviewing, and so much more. PLUS, IT'S AN ALL-EXPENSE PAID TRIP AND BEHIND THE SCENES TOUR TO THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH AKA DISNEY WORLD FOR THE WEEKEND. WHO WOULDN'T BE IN DOWN FOR THAT?!

Okay, so now that you get a picture of this incredible program, let's flashback to 2012: I guess you could say I was living my life as any typical 15 year old would. I had many dreams and plans for my life, but I labeled them as my "I'll do that when I'm 40" kind of dreams and plans. 

But then this thing happened. 

I, on a complete whim, applied for a program that a friend told me about called the Disney's Dreamers Academy. I applied through writing an essay about my story and the goals I had for my life. Before I submitted the application I said to God, "Let Your will be done" and then forgot all about my application. A few months later, a package was delivered to my doorstep: it was a package from Disney congratulating me on my acceptance to this Disney's Dreamers Academy along with a bunch of paperwork asking me to verify that I was who I said I was. To be completely honest, I was astonished (and so was my mom, especially since she had no idea I applied until she was the one who found the package lol). I was also pretty skeptical at first. So I did some research to make sure this program was legitimate. I came to find out that among the thousands of applicants from across the United States, I, along with 99 other high school students were accepted into this program. 

I was so ecstatic but also anxious because I had no idea what to expect. These feelings were heightened even more so when little 15 year old me was being asked for interviews with newspapers and a local TV station about my invitation. It was surreal and I had never experienced anything like this before. Throughout this process that lead up to leaving for this life-changing weekend in that March of 2012, I knew that God wanted me to do this. He made it so evidently clear that He had something uniquely planned for me, and I just needed to put all my trust in Him to guide me through this new season that was beginning. 

And the program was life-changing.

I was immersed and surrounded by some of the most inspiring people I have ever met. I will never forget the words that were spoken into my life. The feelings I had while there still linger with me today. My life was dramatically different after this program in so many ways. I started pursuing opportunities that I never would have imagined myself going after beforehand, but I'll save those stories for another time. 

Designing with the Disney Costume Department

Modeling the outfit from the Disney Costume Department

Jordin Sparks!

Sean Kingston, Selita Ebanks, Lamman Rucker, and Stephen Hill

While at the Disney's Dreamers Academy there were innumerable moments that challenged my ideas and faith and moments that were just plain ridiculously fun and cool. From seeing Jordin Sparks perform in person to dancing the Cupid Shuffle with the Cupid himself to having a real, raw conversation with Steve Harvey and his life to working with the Disney Costume Department to taking an acting class with Chris & Kyle Massey and Lamman Rucker, it's still unreal to this day that it all happened. I met a lot of influential and well known people during that weekend, but these people were different than you would imagine.

They were humble, kind, exhibited great faith in the Lord, and even with their success, they were still big dreamers.

I was also so privileged to meet other students and their families from across the U.S. that were just as passionate about pursuing their dreams and making the world a better place. 

Steve Harvey and Lamman Rucker

Steve Harvey

Out of the many memorable moments, there is one defining moment in particular that still sticks with me today. This defining moment was when Steve Harvey told me to write down 500 things I wanted to do in life. It was overwhelming because: 1) Steve Harvey was sharing the story of his life with me and challenging me to do something with mine and 2) I could barely even think of 20 things much less 500. But regardless, he said to "Write it down and have faith." 

So I did.

Our incredible Disney leader for the weekend!

Filming promo

So now, here's where IT GETS REAL GOOD. 

When I was at DDA in 2012, one of my goals was to come back to the program someday and share what I did with everything the program taught me. Everything I learned motivated me to not just think about my dreams but to actually start acting on my dreams. Soooo flash forward to a few weeks ago...I received a phone call from a representative at Disney inviting ME TO COME BACK AS AN ALUMNI, MENTOR, AND TEAM LEADER AT THIS YEAR'S PROGRAM! I WAS/STILL AM COMPLETELY FLOORED. 

I found myself checking my phone call records just to make sure that the call actually happened. 

Because this is a landmark 10th year of DDA, one alumni from each of the past years was specifically contacted to represent their "Class of Dreamers." Just like the first time, I am not entirely sure what to expect until I get there. It's okay though because I definitely know that God has got it under control. So next week, I'll be flying back to Disney World in Orlando, Florida to re-live this magical time of my life in a completely new way! I absolutely cannot wait to represent my class of 2012 dreamers, give back to a program and the leaders that gave so much to me, to meet the new class of dreamers and experience any other surprises they may have in store!

Fellow dreamer: Isis Davis 

Now, I could end this post just like that. I could say "Look at me!" or "Look at everything that I did!" But the truth is, it wouldn't being giving credit where credit is due. This is all God. This is His grace and His blessings that have covered my life. Yes, I have put the work in all these years and took the initiative to apply in the first place, but not without God's incredible guidance and sovereignty.

I share all of this with you to show you how God works and exhibits His love for us in the most creative and mind blowing ways. I share this to encourage you and tell you that my story is not about how great I am, it's really about how great God is. I trusted God with this opportunity and put His will first. Has it been completely easy for me since attending the program? Absolutely not. Everything did not just fall into place after attending this program. A lot has happened that has brought me to where I am now (and a lot is still yet to happen), but all of this is because God's hands have been in everything. If you just let God take the control of your life, some amazing things will happen. Whatever you are doing in your life and whatever your dreams are, give them to God and let Him bless those dreams and endeavors. I can guarantee they will turn out 100949849249890 times better than anything you could come up with on your own. Thank you so much for reading and supporting me through all my wild adventures. Updates to come soon! 

- CD 

Links & Sources: 

More Information at Disney Dreamers Academy Website 

2012 Interview with Rio Rancho Observer 

2012 Interview with Rio Rancho Journal

2012 Interview with New Mexico Style 

 (My first interview ever! I was so nervous!) 

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