Pella Chronicle

March 25, 2013

Central College hosts BIG Dream Gathering to connect dreamers with support


The Chronicle

Pella — In the midst of tough economic times, one man says that people helping each other with their big dreams is a recession-proof idea.

“We’ve seen a lot of people go after their big dreams even in hard times,” says Big Dream Gathering creator Mitch Matthews, “because they’ve written those dreams down and gotten some help. And we know that real people going after big dreams is what made this country great.”

Mitch Matthews has seen tens of thousands of people come to these free events called “BIG dream gatherings” over the past few years. And now, with the help of Central College, they are bringing the BIG dream gathering to Pella.

Central College will be hosting a BIG Dream Gathering in the Graham Conference Center Tuesday, March 26 from 6 to 9 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Martin Heerema Entrepreneurship Program, the Career Center, the Student Life office and the Pella Community Foundation.

“We're really excited to get to bring the BIG Dream Gathering to Central College,” says Matthews. “We've seen incredible things happen when a college and a community dream big together. I know that there are some big and small dreams at Central and in Pella that will get an extra boost! I just can't wait to see what happens!”



They needed help

Matthews and his wife got the idea for the gatherings when they needed help with one of their own big dreams. They had run out of money and were about to give up on their dream. But instead, they decided to throw a party and call it a “Big dream gathering.”

They invited their closest friends to come to their home, write their dreams down on paper and tape them on the walls. Then everyone walked around and looked at each other’s dreams to see if they could help with encouragement, connections, ideas or time.

It was only supposed to last for a few hours, but it wound up lasting a week. First their friends came, but within a day complete strangers were coming to hang their dreams on the walls.

Matthews got some help and saw a number of other dreamers get help, too. So, they have continued the events.

Matthews has a personal connection to Iowa and to Pella, as well. He grew up in Newton and spent many summers and weekends working at Iowa Bike and Fitness on Pella’s square, which he calls his dream job when he was young.

“I look forward to helping the people of Pella explore and walk out some of their own big dreams,” Matthews says. “In some ways it’s payback for all of the fun and support over those years.”



Thousands of dreamers

Over the past few years, tens of thousands of dreams have been posted on walls and countless connections have been made. Everything from an elementary teacher getting the help she needed to send truckloads of school supplies to Africa to a couple of people connecting at a gathering and then working together to attain a contract with NIKE®.  

“It’s been amazing to see what happens when people just have a safe environment to think about their big dreams and then possibly get some help with them.” says Matthews.

At the Central College event, registration begins at 6 p.m. Matthews will share an inspirational message at 6:30. Participants can then start dreaming big and begin to read and comment on each other’s dreams at 7:15.

Wade Steenhoek, director of the Martin Heerema Entrepreneurship Program and the organizer of the event at Central, says, “It’s a fun way to connect because people can just come, think about their big dreams and then possibly get the help they need to do something—maybe through an encouraging word or maybe through a connection or some support. You just never know.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Wade Steenhoek at steenhoekw@central.edu or 641-628-5917.