Since the inaugural Festival of Trees in 1976, Shelia Vaught has remained dedicated to the CARTI mission. Her experience includes chairman of Festival of Trees, the first female president of the CARTI Foundation and membership to the CARTI Board of Trustees since 1995. Her devotion to countless other organizations is also noteworthy. CARTI Executive Director Jennifer Selig elaborates, “Her resume reads like a historical account of fundraising events and support of nonprofit organizations.” It’s a collection of memories that is shared among friends and colleagues.
Throughout her childhood, Shelia remembers spending time at All Souls Church in Scott and at related events. Later, she attended the University of Central Arkansas – a place that remains a priority as a proud alumna and former member of the board of trustees. As owner and director of Little Rock School of Dance, Shelia developed the potential + character of students for more than three decades. She is renowned for her gracious spirit and steadfast leadership.
Shelia’s service to others is unparalleled with this simple philosophy, “Follow your passion and volunteer everywhere you can.” Her pursuit includes a tenure with Arkansas Easterseals as well as Junior League of Little Rock – both are impressive. Former Junior League of Little Rock President Tisha Gribble recalls, “I have respected ‘Miss Shelia’ ever since I was a little girl at her dance studio. She serves the community in so many ways and does so much good. I asked her to be my Junior League of Little Rock mentor and advisor during my term as president, she continues to inspire me.” Jennifer adds, “Throughout her years of involvement with CARTI and Festival of Trees, Shelia has recruited auxiliary members as well as sponsors and has stewarded many of our original volunteers who continue to serve today. This is a true testament to her leadership and commitment to making a difference in the fight against cancer.”
Despite her busy schedule – spending time with grandchildren, planning weddings and continuing projects she adores – Shelia remains optimistic and humble “My heart is so full of gratitude when I think about the blessings and opportunities I’ve been given over the years. I was raised in a small country town and it’s been the source of literally thousands of these opportunities. I’ve loved the life I’m given and want to live it to the fullest.”