HOLA Readers: 17 Years of Disney VoluntEARS Inspiring Anaheim’s Next Generation 

Seventeen years ago, Clara Valladares made history by co-founding a transformative reading program with the Disneyland Resort Business Employee Resource Group, HOLA. The 12-week annual program has been a beacon of inspiration at Orange Grove Elementary School in Anaheim ever since, igniting students’ passion for learning through story time with dedicated Disney VoluntEARS, immersive Disney Career Days and vibrant Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Clara’s impact extends beyond the classroom, touching the lives of countless students — including her own son, Brian, who was among the first class to experience the magic of HOLA Readers while a student. 

Brian with first HOLA Readers Disney VoluntEARS Jeffrey Johns at

Orange Grove Elementary 

Reading has been a cornerstone in Clara’s life ever since she first arrived in Southern California from Guatemala as a child and discovered how it helped her learn English. Understanding the profound impact that reading can have on a child’s life, Clara dedicated herself to giving back to her Anaheim community. As an enthusiastic Disney VoluntEARS member and a compassionate Disneyland Resort cast care associate, Clara has woven education and empowerment into the fabric of her everyday life. 

“I’ve volunteered at many events in the community over the years, but I am most proud of my time with HOLA Readers at Orange Grove Elementary School. It makes my heart happy inspiring students to reach their fullest potential,” said Clara. 

Clara’s son, Brian Alvarez, has embraced his mother’s altruistic spirit, not only by volunteering in his spare time but also by following in her footsteps as a cast member at Disneyland Resort. Over the past five years, Brian has served as an Entertainment Costuming cast member while pursuing his degree in Computer Science at California State University, Fullerton, through the Disney Aspire program, which offers eligible employees 100% tuition paid upfront. 

Clara and Brian present at HOLA’s Cinco de Mayo celebration at

Orange Grove Elementary 

“Thanks to my mom, Disneyland Resort has always been a significant part of my life. It’s a place that not only sparked my imagination as a child, but has also become the center of my professional journey now that I, like my mother, am a cast member,” Brian shared. “Everyone is familiar with how special it is to be a guest, but being a cast member has been an even more rewarding experience.” 

As Clara and Brian continue to inspire those around them with their unwavering dedication and passion for learning, their story serves as a testament to the enduring magic of Disneyland Resort and its commitment to education and community enrichment. From Clara’s founding of the HOLA Readers program to Brian’s dual journey as a cast member and Disney Aspire student, their shared legacy illustrates the boundless opportunities for growth and fulfillment that await at Disneyland Resort. In celebrating their journey and the countless lives they’ve touched, one is reminded that the true magic of Disneyland resides not solely in its attractions but in the transformative power of its people.