Singer and former American Idol contestant, Kimberley Locke is passionate about supporting today’s youth. For the past few years, she’s been a part of the Disney Dreamers Academy, a four day long event that encourages and prepares high school students to perfect their crafts and achieve their goals. Locke inspired the high school students with a vocal performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Afterward, MadameNoire got a chance to talk to Locke about her commitment to the program, the woman who supported her dream and the importance of making things happen for yourself.
Why do you continue to be a part of this program, year after year?
I think it’s so important. I think that there need to be more programs like this across the country. I think it’s sad to see our kids growing up the way that it’s happening. There aren’t enough mentors out there. As an entertainer, there’s so many people who have the opportunity to mentor and they chose not to or they don’t know how. But this is such a great program, these kids are here because they want to do something different. They don’t want to do what they see in their neighborhoods every week. They want to get out. They want an outlet. And what this program does, is show them that it is possible. Then they see people like me and people like Chef Jeff and Jonathan Sprinkles telling their story. And when they see that they come from where we come from. Then they become motivated, they become inspired. It’s so important.
Who was the first person you remember supporting or encouraging your dream?
I had a substitute teacher in junior high school and her name was…we called her Rolo…Miss Douglas. But she was like don’t call me Miss Douglas, call me Rolo. So we called her Rolo. For whatever reason she took an interest in me and she called my mom. She came to my house and met my mom and she was like, ‘you know sometimes if I go to the mall or something, Kim can go with me.’ And I learned so much from having her around me. But because she took an interest in me, it made me feel important and it made me feel special. My mom was always working, not that my mom didn’t make me feel special, but my mom was worried about how she was going to provide for me and how she was going to feed me. She really wasn’t trying to make me feel special. She was like ‘Here’s your meal, feel special.” You know what I’m saying? So, Rolo was like that big sister that I didn’t have. She would take me to her house and give me clothes out of her closet. And that went a long way. It meant so much. I’m sure she wasn’t the first, but when I was their age, like junior high school, getting ready to go to high school, she was it for me.”