THE SOCIAL FRONT

Greening of the Garden Gala

The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks’ 25th annual Greening of the Garden Gala was held on Oct. 1 both in person and via live stream. Honorary chairs Bob and Linda McMath hosted this year’s event, rescheduled to an autumn celebration. Emcee Dan Skoff welcomed guests from the stage on a lovely fall evening, which was perfect for a socially distanced outdoor fundraiser. Guests enjoyed a wine stroll through the garden, live music by Bill Dollar & Loose Change, and a fall inspired dinner by Travis McConnell with Pressroom in Bentonville. The meal included a light salad, herb and lemon gremolata, braised short ribs with roasted heirloom squash and local greens, and an olive oil cake with local apple butter. As a result of COVID-19, the garden canceled many of its events and activities this year. The gala fundraiser and online auction are vital to sustain the garden and its programs for the coming seasons. www.bgozarks.org

Celebration of Possibilities Luncheon

Life Styles, Inc., hosted its 32nd Annual Celebration of Possibilities Luncheon presented by Larry Bittle State Farm on March 11 at the Fayetteville Town Center. “This year’s theme is ‘Reaching New Heights,’ suggesting the achievements and determination of our clients consistently inspire us, as do the invaluable efforts of those who champion them,” John Newman, executive director of Life Styles, Inc., said. “This always-uplifting event is an opportunity to look back at milestones achieved and relationships forged, energizing us all to continue creating a community where the contributions of every individual are recognized and welcomed.” At the luncheon, keynote speakers Rosa, Angelica and Eva Puga, along with their sister and Life Styles client Laura shared how Laura has grown in confidence and independence, and how their family and the community at large is better as a result. Individuals served by the organization and Life Styles’ staff were recognized at the luncheon, as well as those individuals and organizations that have made a significant impact in Life Styles’ ongoing mission to help adults with disabilities live full, self-directed lives. Special recognition went to: Employer of the Year, T.J. Maxx; Volunteer Organization of the Year, Central Christian Church; Volunteer of the Year, Gale Carreira; and Volunteer Business of the Year, SWK Financial Planning Advisors of Raymond James. www.lifestylesinc.org

Starlight Gala

The Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter hosted the Starlight Gala, presented by General Mills, on March 7 at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center in Rogers. More than 1,000 guests attended in support of the shelter and to celebrate the August 2020 opening of Hope Academy, the first trauma-informed charter school in Arkansas. The event included the Intradeco Cocktail Hour, Hershey Wall of Hope, a live performance by award-winning country music artist Granger Smith and the PepsiCo After Party. The annual Starlight Gala raises critical funds to benefit the hundreds of children who seek a safe haven at the shelter each year. www.nwacs.org

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Arts Rising: Once Upon a Gala

The Arts Center of the Ozarks hosted Arts Rising: Once Upon a Gala at its location in Springdale on Feb 29. The evening included live performances by Betsy Jilka and Jon Shorter’s Dueling Pianos. The 200 guests in attendance were able to participate in interactive games for high-value prizes, as well as a curated silent auction, and a fine wine studio and raffle. Chris and Debby Weiser were honored as longtime patrons and supporters of the center and Denise Richards was honored as Volunteer of the Year. Proceeds from the gala will enable the center to deliver arts-related experiences that build community socially, culturally and economically. www.acozarks.org

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Northwest Arkansas à la Carte

On March 5, Circle of Friends hosted Northwest Arkansas à la Carte, an event benefiting Arkansas Children’s Northwest, at Barn at the Springs in Springdale. The event featured tastings from some of Northwest Arkansas’ best restaurants, caterers and featured Chef Brooks Cameron with ACNW. Guests received a warm welcome from Trisha Montague, senior vice president and chief administrator at ACNW as she introduced guest speaker and ACNW ambassador Camden Tucker. Closing remarks from event co-chair Chuck Washington encouraged attendees on ways they can get involved and be part of sharing the mission of the Circle of Friends. The funds from ticket sales, donations and a silent auction at the event all went to support ACNW. Give.archildrens.org/nwaalacarte

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