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Dream Big, Dream Early!

I had the honor and privilege of being asked to cover the 2011 Disney's Dreamers Academy as a journalist representing the New Media side of the coin. I spent most of the early part of last week prepping for my journey to sunny Orlando. I commandeered my son's netbook for portability, I rented a high powered wide angle lens for my camera and I was armed with my mediocre cell phone for quick video and uploads. While I was there I was doing a whole lot of everything --- updating the Makes Me Wanna Holler Facebook Fan Experience with news and information as it was happening at the mentoring events I attended, blogging in the wee hours of the morning (and while eating lunch). But before I digress let me stick to the point.

Disney's Dreamers Academy with partners Steve Harvey and Essence magazine, featured a star-studded line-up of VIP entertainment and sports figures, motivational speakers and world-class business professionals along with an amazing roster of Disney employees (from execs to animators) hosted a power-packed weekend of special events and educational workshops at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando March 3-6.

More than 100 high school students from across the country participated, selected by a blue-ribbon panel from among nearly 4,000 applicants.

I was literally overwhelmed by the talent there both on the adult and youth side (more on this in a separate post). During our time there, many of the bloggers I worked alongside managed to snag a "Dreamer" (youth participant) or two for an interview, seeking out those youths who might be in the same field or have originated from the same locale. With a 110 participants and a sea of media, entertainment and executives, accomplishing this quickly began to feel like looking for a needle in a haystack.

So God decided to do my work for me.A young and extremely enterprising young man wielding a camera considerably more advanced than my own approached me and introduced himself. Not only did we share a similar passion for photography, but he originates from Gary, Indiana, a literal stone's throw from Chicago's borders. Before the weekend was over we were able to sit down for a very quick chat.

I'm one of those Canon people. Despite the poor lighting in the video and my asking him a couple of questions twice, the content is all there. This kid is on his game and his grind. He has his own company, his own business cards and his own 30-second "elevator speech".

Avery's Bio & Accomplishments

A junior honor student attending Thea Bowman Leadership Academy in Gary, IN. An honor student since 3rd grade. A member of the Spanish Club and the Marching Band where he plays Baritone. He volunteers on a monthly basis at the Embassies of Christ Outreach Center preparing food baskets for those in need and play chess at a neighborhood center with the seniors. He is a self-taught chess player who has participated in many tournaments. He is a participant in Purdue University's Gifted Educational Research Institute (G.E.R.I) annual summer camp for gifted children. He is in charge of all photography needs for Embassies of Christ Kingdom Ministry. He states, he has an eye that allows him to capture moments others can't see. As a born leader, he was selected as the Post-Tribune "Leader of the Future" in 5th grade and selected as a junior reporter to cover the Harlem Globetrotters in 8th grade. "My dream and purpose in life is to be able to travel the world and capture God's wonders in print for everyone else to see. I have aspirations of attending Columbia College of Chicago and majoring in Photography."

Avery is a marvelous young man --- easily an inspiration to us all, both young and old. A note to any and all Chicago or Midwest based photographers reading this, if you'd like to mentor this young man, please contact me here so I can put you in touch with Avery.

Keep it moving Avery. Keep it moving right on to the top!

E.Payne is the author of Investing In An Emotional Letdown and I Didn't Invented Sex. For the past 3 years he has posted 600+ articles about fatherhood, marriage and everything in between here at Makes Me Wanna Holler.com. To learn more, click here.

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