Through Orange County United Way’s Youth Career Connections program, a group of 50 students from Anaheim High School recently had the magical opportunity to learn about different career paths at Disneyland Resort.
The speaker series brought three professionals from Disneyland Resort to Anaheim High School to share their inspirational journeys and help the students gain and practice skills needed to excel during an interview. To top off the series, Disneyland Resort also had a special surprise up their sleeve for the students.
Anaheim High School participates in United Way’s Youth Career Connections program, a work-based learning initiative that infuses classroom learning with real-world experiences, connecting students directly to employers so they are prepared for lifelong success by graduating both college- and career-ready.
United Way collaborates with corporate partners, like Disneyland Resort, through the Youth Career Connections program to help place students interested in Arts Media & Entertainment, Engineering & Architecture, Health Science/ Medical Services, and Information & Communication Technology on the path toward academic and economic success.
The Disney speaker series started off in February with Norma Trujillo, Workers Compensation Team Manager at Disneyland Resort, who inspired the students as she spoke about her dreams of serving her community. As Norma said, “Your success is going to be our community’s success.”
In March, Disneyland Resort’s Director of Marketing Strategy, Susan Carranza, discussed her role on the Disney team and encouraged students to believe in themselves.
The final speaker in April was Chris Spitzer, Public Relations Director at Disneyland Resort. He shared with students his realization that “the things I studied in high school and college all had a common denominator – storytelling” and how, through storytelling and making connections with people, he was able to advance his career and do what he loves every day.
Each of the series also included a professional development workshop where students participated in mock interviews with Disneyland Resort cast members. This exercise was a great way to practice and get a feel for what a real job interview would be like after graduation.
Many of the students expressed their gratitude for this program:
“I have never had this experience before and I feel that I did a great job and answered the questions confidently. I would want to see myself use this opportunity to do great in the many job interviews to come,” said Jibril, 12th grade.
“I want to thank you for all the effort United Way provided for my school – Anaheim High School. It was an honor and amazing experience, it truly helped me a lot. I definitely gained a lot of new knowledge. Now I know how to talk to adults properly. I know how to act in interviews. The Disney workshop helped me so much. For example, I just had two interviews and they were successful! I got accepted into an internship all because of you and your teammates. It was so much fun being able to hear the past experience and obstacles that all these adults went through. I don’t know any other way to thank you. It helped me professionally and personally,” shared Devora, 11th grade.
“I would like to see this program happen more often,” said Noemi, 11th grade.
To conclude the speaker series, the students were surprised with an invitation to a leadership training at Disney’s California Adventure Park where Youth Educational Services leaders walked them through the park to learn about different leadership styles, the importance of core values and branding through Walt Disney’s legacy to help them find their own path in life.
A special thanks to Disneyland Resort for partnering with Orange County United Way’s Youth Career Connections program at Anaheim High School and for empowering these students to become tomorrow’s leaders.