Dream Big Gala Chair Spotlight w. Sarah White

When were you first involved in the Dream Big Charity Gala? I was first involved with the Dream Big Charity Gala 4 years ago, and served on the fundraising and marketing committee.

How did you become involved?  When I first toured the CSC with my Leadership Fayetteville class. They asked for volunteers and I raised my hand that day. I was worried they were full and I was too late! Haha! Luckily, they took me and have put up with me ever since!

What is your favorite gala memory? Oh gosh! I have so many. Chairing for two years has been really special, but my favorite memory is calling Emily a day or two after and hearing how much money we raised for the center. All that hard work pays off!

What is your worst gala memory or a funny story about something that happened or went wrong?  Let’s see, it would have to be running out of things, hot gluing decorations, the year when I loaded champagne from the loading dock and saw the chiropractor that next Monday. Holy neck! The best is when I had to run to Petco to buy fish! Pretty sure that purchase is still on my pals rewards card. There is always something that goes awry the day or night of. It’s part of the mystique.

Why is it important to see the gala grow and be successful? This is the CSCs signature fundraiser. They count on this gala for not only awareness, but also for funding. In order to guarantee that the center is equipped to serve our community, it’s vital that people come out, open their wallets, and support an organization that is imperative to Northwest Arkansas.

How important is the CSC to our community? The center helps hundreds of kids every year, and is represented by the thousands of handprints covering their walls. It’s these handprints that represent all of the amazing, vital work that the center does for the children of our community from forensic interviews, medical examinations, advocacy, and therapy free of charge. The center helps families get back to their normal after tragedy, and helps kids get back to finding their happy.

Why should people attend this year’s gala, 10th anniversary? The 10th year is going to be bomb and sure to impress! We’ve worked so hard to give you a night of enchantment, whimsy, and fun while supporting a worthy cause. We’ve got everything food, libations, and plenty of entertainment, including NWA’s own Boom Kinetic. Additionally, the event hosts a wine and cigar pull, fabulous silent and live auction, stilt walkers, silk aerialists, and a tarot reader to boot. Come one, come all and help support the CSC!

2017 Dream Big Charity Gala Co-Chair, Sarah White – Saatchi & Saatchi X


Dream Big Gala Chair Spotlight w. Kara Dearien

When were you first involved in the Dream Big Charity Gala? I attended my first committee meeting in April of 2016. I was new to CSC and new to Dream Big.

How did you become involved? A friend, Brandy Lackey, who was on the Dream Big committee asked me to be a part of the organization.  She convinced me to dive in head first and join the committee before even attending an event.

What is your favorite gala memory? Definitely the photo booth pictures…they always bring out the kid in everyone. It’s such a fun night, I have too many favorite memories.

What is your worst gala memory or a funny story about something that happened or went wrong? So far it’s been an amazing night…no funny stories…yet.

Why is it important to see the gala grow and be successful? The CSC is able to do amazing things on a small budget and very little grant money. The growth and success of the gala directly impacts the CSC and the amount of help they are able to provide the community. I want to see it be as successful as possible to help as many as we can.

How important is the CSC to our community? The CSC provides services and support to families and children in a terrible position. Without this support, these children would never feel safe or receive therapy, medical attention and the unconditional support they need to get through a trying time in their lives.

Why should people attend this year’s gala, 10th anniversary? It’s for the children!

2017 Dream Big Gala Event Co-Chair, Kara Dearien – Walmart


Dream Big Gala Past Chair Spotlight w. Matt Bumgarner

As we near the 10th anniversary of our Dream Big Charity Gala, we are taking a look back and asking some of our past chairmen about their experience, favorite moments, and why they stay involved.

When were you first involved in the Dream Big Charity Gala? I started working on the committee back in 2013 with the Marketing Committee. It was such a great group, and we primarily were helping spread the word about the event and also the importance of the Children’s Safety Center.

How did you become involved? I attended the gala in 2012 thanks to an invite from my friend Ben Cowell, and after hearing info on the CSC that night, I knew I wanted to help!! I went on a tour of the CSC a few months later with the Leadership Fayetteville group and after asking questions that day found my way to the committee.

What is your favorite gala memory? Without a doubt, every year that I have been a part of the gala the best moment happens the day of the event. Everyone meets up in an empty room at the Fayetteville Town Center, and over the course of several hours, you watch an amazing transformation take place. What was once empty space is filled with lights, tables, decorations, dance floors and that all happens with the selfless service of amazing committee members!!

What is your worst gala memory or a funny story about something that happened or went wrong? Dream Big is such a fantastic gala for a great cause I can honestly say that I have never had an experience that you could classify as the worst memory. One year at the event, we had an alcohol vendor show up, and the kegs they brought did not match the equipment provided by the venue. So in full panic mode, as the event is kicking off and people are coming into the event, we worked through this and improvised some stuff to make the kegs work. These type of moments happen all the time, and with so many great volunteers running around the guests never even notice but anytime you play MacGyver in a suit, it is certainly something that will cause a laugh.

Why is it important to see the gala grow and be successful? The importance of the event growing each year is twofold. The first part is that the money raised from this one night goes a long way to providing services for children in Washington County who are victims of abuse. The second part is education about what the Children’s Safety Center offers Washington County and the epidemic of abuse happening in our backyard. I think about my first year attending the event and not even knowing the CSC existed, then fast forward to years later, and I cannot imagine where we would be without it.

How important is the CSC to our community? Anytime I get the chance to talk about the CSC my message remains the same. I one day hope there is no reason to have this center because that means we will have found a way to solve the child abuse issue. The reality is that every year the number of cases seems to increase which means we have to continue to find ways to raise more money since the organization is purely a non-profit organization. The CSC is vital to our community because it helps children that live right here in Washington County, all of the money raised for the CSC stays right here in our community and helps out children in our county!!!

Why should people attend this year’s gala, 10th anniversary? This is truly the “Greatest Gala of the Summer” and the money stays to help out in our community. I can promise you that if you attend once, then you will definitely want to attend again. Dream Big is a fun filled night that helps out for a very real cause right here in our community.

Purchase tickets HERE

Matt Bumgarner with Mayor Jordan and Jamie Davis


Dream Big Gala Past Chair Spotlight w. Theresa Harrell

As we near the 10th anniversary of our Dream Big Charity Gala, we are taking a look back and asking some of our past chairmen about their experience, favorite moments, and why they stay involved.

When were you first involved in the Dream Big Charity Gala? I have been attending the event since 2007.  It looked a lot different and much smaller then, but the cause spoke to my heart.  The following year, I became more involved and was on the planning committee, and then chaired in 2012 and 2013.

 How did you become involved? I became involved through friends who were chairing the event and needed help, but stayed involved because the cause is so important.

 How long were you involved or are you still currently involved and how? We have moved to Rogers and are less involved than we were in the past, but we still support all the CSC’s events.  The Christmas Train and Dream Big are our favorites!  This year, we collected stuffed animals for the CSC in lieu of gifts for my son’s first birthday.

What is your favorite gala memory? My husband and I chaired together in 2013 and found out that we were pregnant with our first child right before the event.  The work the CSC does took on a whole new meaning knowing that we were about to have our own child to love and protect.

What is your worst gala memory or a funny story about something that happened or went wrong? Last year, I got caught up in the atmosphere and bid on and won a 12ft Christmas tree.  It barely fits in our house.  My husband was not amused.

Why is it important to see the gala grow and be successful? When we chaired, we were excited to raise $40,000.  It is so exciting to see how much the event has grown and the support the community is providing.  As the population in our area grows, an unfortunate side effect is that child abuse grows.  The education and advocacy that the CSC provides is critical to providing a safe future for our children.

Why should people attend this year’s gala, 10th anniversary? Aside from supporting an amazing cause, the event is a blast!  Boom Kinetic has long been a favorite band of NWA, and I always seem to make it home with a few auction items.

If you had to give three words to describe the Dream Big Gala, what would they be? Inspiring, Community, Fun

Why is the Children’s Safety Center important to YOU? The CSC makes the absolute best of a horrible situation.  The people there represent the best of what we all can be.  They see so much hurt, but transform that into hope.

Click HERE for information and tickets to the 2017 Dream Big Charity Gala

2014 Dream Big Gala Co-Chairs Chris & Theresa Harrell, CSC Development Director Emily Rappe’ Fisher and

Gala Co-Chairs Morgan & Dustin Roberts


Dream Big Gala Past Chair Spotlight w. Richard Watkins

As we near the 10th anniversary of our Dream Big Charity Gala, we are taking a look back and asking some of our past chairmen about their experience, favorite moments, and why they stay involved.

How did you become involved in the Dream Big Charity Gala and are you still currently involved and how? I first became involved with the Dream Big Charity Gala back in 2011 when a good friend of mine, Jordan Greer, invited me to help. I have remained involved in varying capacities ever since. I current serve as a board member for the Children’s Safety Center.

What is your favorite gala memory? My favorite part of each Dream Big Gala is watching months and months of hard work and preparation all come together. It is truly remarkable what this committee is able to pull off with generous donations of so many in our community. We have some of the best volunteers and staff members anywhere around!

What is your worst gala memory or a funny story about something that happened or went wrong? When I chaired the event in 2014 we decided that year to try a “live auction” for the first time ever. We were all really nervous about it, but decided that a golden-doodle puppy and a diamond necklace would certainly be a success. Several months before the event we secured one of the best auctioneers in the region to help us during the event. On the day of the event we found out that the auctioneer was sick and wasn’t going to be able to make it- we were faced with a hug dilemma. We had a live puppy and a diamond necklace that needed to be auctioned off! Fortunately “Dream Big” attracts a diverse crowd of attendees with talents galore, and after running around the event asking we found another auctioneer who gladly offered to help. The live auction was a success!

Why is it important to see the gala grow and be successful? Dream big is one of the most important revenue generators that the Children’s Safety Center has. Prior to joining the board I knew that the CSC operated on a lean budget, but once I started digging into the numbers I realized how truly lean it is. The CSC receives no guaranteed grants or federal/state funding, and depends greatly on the contributions of individuals and companies in our local community. Every dollar raised stays here locally and helps offset the ~$1,600 cost of services each child receives. In order to continue providing these free services (forensic, medical, advocacy & therapy) at the current growth rate, we need your help now more than ever.

If you had to give three words to describe the Dream Big Gala, what would they be?

  • FUN!
  • KIDS (You are directly helping a lot of Kids in NWA!)
  • VALUE (You get a lot for your ticket when you attend this Gala!)

Why is the CSC important to YOU? I feel it is my duty to give back, and the Children’s Safety Center (CSC) has been a place where I feel that I can help make a difference in our local community. Far too many children in our area are impacted by physical/sexual abuse, and I hope that by volunteering I am able to help make even the slightest impact to better these children’s lives.

Click HERE for more information about the CSC Dream Big Charity Gala

Richard & Jordan Watkins at the 2014 Dream Big Charity Gala


Dream Big Gala Past Chair Spotlight with Jordan Greer

As we near the 10th anniversary of our Dream Big Charity Gala, we are taking a look back and asking some of our past chairmen about their experience, favorite moments, and why they stay involved.

When were you first involved in the Dream Big Charity Gala? I first became involved in 2010 as a member of the Dream Big committee.  I worked on securing event sponsors.

How did you become involved? My sister in law chaired the event in 2010 and introduced me to the Children’s Safety Center for the first time.

How long were you involved or are you still currently involved and how? I’ve been involved for nearly 7 years now.  I currently serve as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the CSC.

What is your favorite gala memory? They are all great.  I would have to say the best, most fulfilling part of being involved for the last 7 years is seeing the growth that happens year after year.  It’s a testament to the hard work of the committee.

What is your worst gala memory or a funny story about something that happened or went wrong?  There’s no such thing as a bad gala memory, but because of the annual growth we experience in not only fundraising, but also attendance, we have had times when we have run out of food or drinks and committee members are frantically running to the store to stock up.

Why is it important to see the gala grow and be successful?  One of the greatest things about the CSC is that our awesome team provides their services free of charge for the child abuse victims.  However, it costs $1,500 on average for each child that the center sees.  We have to pay for this somehow.  The gala is a huge part of that.  Every $1,500 increment that this event grows, another child is able to seek the services of the center.  The success of this event is incredibly important.

Why should people attend this year’s gala, 10th anniversary? Everyone in our community has a responsibility to do everything they can to make our home here in Northwest Arkansas a better, safer place.  Attending the gala is a fun way to contribute and make your mark.

If you had to give three words to describe the Dream Big Gala, what would they be?  Motivational.  Inspirational.  Fun!

Why is the Children’s Safety Center important to YOU?  The CSC is extremely important to improving the lives of child abuse victims in our community.  They provide an unparalleled service for the members of our community that are the most helpless.  An investment in educating our community on Child Abuse Prevention is pivotal to making NWA a great place to live.  In the unfortunate circumstances under which these abuses do occur, providing a safe place for the victims is extremely important and catalyzes the healing process.   Each member of the CSC works to help victims move forward after the travesty they’ve endured.

Click HERE to purchase tickets to the 2017 Dream Big Charity Gala.