Sarah Rector will welcome friends and patrons to EVOLVE: Rooted in the South – showcasing the rich legacy of Centers for Youth & Families and its diverse programming and services that span the state.
By KD Reep | Photography by Whitney Bower | Hair & Makeup by Kakki Jones with Beauty & Style by Kakki | Headdress by Amy Porter with Statements Interior Design
Sarah Rector discovered Centers for Youth & Families and its young professionals auxiliary Emerging Leaders soon after she established iRealty Arkansas – a local real estate company. She was getting more involved in the community and approached civic leadership much as she would a business venture. Three years later, both organizations continue to flourish.
Sarah, along with fellow chairman Ed Bailey, will welcome friends and patrons to EVOLVE – the signature fundraising event for The Centers. EVOLVE: Rooted in the South will showcase the organization’s southern roots that continue to spread across The Natural State through diverse programming and services.
True to her roots, Sarah wants this year’s EVOLVE to be the best one yet. “The event has seen back-to-back years of record-breaking growth,” she says. “It’s on track to repeat that trend this year.” The evening promises to be a classic celebration of southern sophistication, tradition and soul – featuring authentic elements of Arkansas and the South as well as a few of Sarah’s favorites.
The Centers is the oldest continuously-operating nonprofit organization in Arkansas, and EVOLVE celebrates its progression from the Elizabeth Mitchell Children’s Home, established in 1884, to the statewide organization serving children and families today. Since 2014, EVOLVE embraces a new theme each year, always congruent with its mission fulfillment work. “To maintain tradition with our evolution and the transformation of our organization to meet the needs of those we serve, the theme of the event changes each year,” explains Centers for Youth & Families Executive Director Chris Shenep.
“Sarah is a great fit to serve as EVOLVE co-chair,” Chris notes. “As we continue to build on our accomplishments, she’s applying the same hard work and persistence that has allowed her to achieve so much success in real estate. Her ability to open doors, build relationships and network has led The Centers Foundation to new donors, event sponsors and creative ideas as we strive to have our biggest event we’ve ever held to date.”
A native of Benton, Sarah decided to volunteer at the suggestion of other auxiliary members. “I have several friends who are a part of the organization and they encouraged me to get involved,” she explains. “I have always had a passion for children and now that I have three children of my own – Eva, 10; Tripp, 7; and Jack, 5 – I realize the importance of making children feel cared for, safe and loved. The Centers is an amazing organization that has helped many children and families. I think it is important for us all to realize how precious children are and how important it is that each and every child gets the love and attention they all deserve.”
Sarah says EVOLVE guests can expect some amazing live and silent auction items – such as a trip to Italy – as well as entertainment by The Nick Black Band & Memphis Soul Review, and delicious food and drinks.
“By financially supporting the programs and services offered at The Centers, we are ensuring local children and youth overcome obstacles they’ve had to encounter at an early age,” Sarah explains. “The more we can do now, the better chance of success there will be for these kids later in life. The staff at Centers for Youth & Families helps thousands of Arkansas kids each year, and it’s our responsibility as a community to help raise as much money as possible and show our support.”