Dream Big! Please!

Uncategorized Posted Nov 8, 2011 by Chris Carleton

If your idea of fun is hanging out at Fenway Park with a couple hundred folks – all dedicated to enriching the lives of inner city girls through sports and all the positive life habits that are instilled by being physically active – then last Saturday night’s 2nd Annual Dream Big! Sports Gala and Auction would’ve fit your spec and then some!

That’s especially true if you enjoy chilling with current and former college, Olympic and professional athletes – along with the Beantown Jumpers, some of the best Double Dutch jump-ropers in country if not the planet, and a group that knows first-hand what it’s like to benefit from support from Dream Big!

And there was plenty of fundraising commerce conducted via a treasure trove of silent and live auction items that ranged from autographed sports jerseys, equipment and photographs to week-long Cape vacations, African safaris and swanky hotel stays.

Dream Big! has three primary goals:

1. Ensure that all girls, regardless of socio-economic background, have the equipment, uniforms, program fees, training expenses and supplies that they need to participate in physical activities that contribute to their overall health, fitness, and well-being.

2. Combat the risk of obesity-related medical issues by promoting healthy, active lifestyles for young girls and teens.

3. Create opportunities for girls to develop social connections with peers and mentors; maintain healthy, active lives; assume leadership roles; and grow physically, emotionally, and socially through sports and physical activities.

So far the program has helped more than 1,000 girls…a pretty impressive accomplishment for such a young group.  And one that wouldn’t be possible without a lot of assistance from a lot of individuals and organizations.

Saturday evening’s festivities surely didn’t overshadow the incredibly important mission Dream Big! was founded upon.  Rather, it welcomed even more folks into the fold. Those included our newest board member Dr. Megan Leo, a resident at Boston Medical Center who spent time on the soccer pitch at the University of Virginia and elsewhere with our board chairman Angela Hucles, who I’ll introduce you to in a moment…Megan, please don’t smack me for linking to your college sports bio!

CHEN PR has had the honor of being closely involved with Dream Big! since its founding in 2010 based on our long-standing friendship with the organization’s founder and powerhouse Linda Driscoll.  We got to know Linda when we worked with her on behalf of the Red Cross. When she saw the opportunity to pursue her own life-long big dream of founding Dream Big!, we wanted in immediately. So did many other friends…including IDG Enterprise Chief Content Officer John Gallant, VP of Grants and Foundations Matt Henschel and Wellesley College Director of Physical Education, Recreation & Athletics Bridget Belgiovine.

And then, shortly thereafter,  Linda did an amazing recruiting job of inviting two-time soccer  Olympian Gold Medal winner Angela Hucles out for what Angela thought was just a cup of coffee to discuss what she might be able to donate to the group – and wound up being a sales pitch to have Angela lead the board. We’re all thankful that both the coffee and the sales pitch to Angela went as planned!

In addition to Saturday eve’s bash, another Dream Big! highlight of 2011 was our First Annual Dream Big! Leadership Conference in June. Presented by Dream Big! at Northeastern University’s Curry Student Center in partnership with NU’s Sport in Society program, more than 150 girls, coaches and teachers from a dozen Boston public schools and the Beyond Soccer Program in Lawrence heard true-life accounts from former Olympic, professional and collegiate female athletes about how their involvement in sports and physical activities – and the mentors and friends they found through those efforts – laid the foundation for phenomenal success later in life.

Dream Big! makes donations of new sports equipment and related throughout the year. These range from a single pair of basketball sneakers to uniforms and balls for whole teams. Both ends of that spectrum have the same result, though – bringing tremendous change to the lives of girls who when given some help, show us the great things they have to offer themselves, their families and their communities.

And it’s proving the gift that keeps giving, because so many of these girls participate in helping others as they have been helped.

So Dream Big! with us…or with whatever other program you feel passionate about.  The world’s certainly a better place when we help one another out along the way…