West Lakes Family Day 2015

Photo by Mary Maxwell

Photo by Mary Maxwell

Disney World and The West Lakes Council teamed up to present a historic walkthrough of the neighborhoods of West Lakes. This event was led by resident leaders of the six neighborhoods that comprise West Lakes. These neighborhoods have significant histories.

“These are some of the first neighborhoods in the nation where African Americans could build and design their own homes," said Tracy Anderson of Sunset Lake. "Residents here became educators, lawyers and doctors. They broke barriers and became professionals in a time where that was not a normal thing."

Darvel Davis, one of Orlando's first African-American firefighters.  Photo by Mary Maxwell

Darvel Davis, one of Orlando's first African-American firefighters. 

Photo by Mary Maxwell

The event took place during the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, an annual game between historic black colleges. Residents of the community, football fans and visiting friends filled Tinker Field, where the event was held. Visitors learned the histories of the communities of West Lakes and talk directly with community members about the future they are building together.

While people perused the booths, Disney set up fantastic entertainment. Mickie and Minnie took pictures with children, families took holiday photos in large “Frozen” themed snow globes and hungry visitors enjoyed local cuisine. Neighborhood legend, former Miss America, Ericka Dunlap, MC-ed the event, hosting local performers. Neighborhood pride was showcased through the musical talents of residents as well as the behind-the-scenes work of the resident-leaders.

Photo by Mary Maxwell

Photo by Mary Maxwell

“We’re all about the residents working together as a team. The whole neighborhood working together is such a good thing," said Fannie Williams of Clear Lake Cove.

Partners like Disney and FCSports have been integral in providing support to the West Lakes Council. The West Lakes Council is a force in change within these neighborhoods. They have been integral in uniting and guiding their community through new investments and relationships with outside partners.. This event is a reflection of the connection that is being strongly forged among the neighborhoods of West Lakes.

Photo by Mary Maxwell

Photo by Mary Maxwell

“Disney has been an amazing partner," said Jibreel Ali of Rock Lake. "We can’t do this alone as residents. Having a partner like Disney and Florida Citrus Sports that can help showcase our community and open our doors is huge. We want that, we appreciate that and we love it.”