Dare to Dream 2020 Behind-The-Scenes

Dare to Dream 2020 featured a number of firsts for JA of Washington but most important of all, it demonstrated the dedication of our JA supporter family across the state. Despite the fact that we couldn’t gather in person, over 450 people registered and tuned in on the night of Saturday, September 26, 2020 for our virtual extravanganza.

Normally, it would be difficult to have JA supporters from Eastern Washington joined us for this event. We were thrilled that by going virtual, we could. And we saw so many people from across the state – and even some out of state! – tune in and support JA. With our generous sponsor support, a live and silent auction, and a “raise the paddle” portion we called “Fund a Future,” we exceeded our goal and raised $422,500!

The JAWA Events Team with Dare to Dream emcee Alyana Gomez.

So what went on behind the scenes? So much! First, we had the fortune to contract with PNTA/Seattle Lives, a virtual event services company. One of the first projects we worked on with them was filming the JA videos that we aired during Dare to Dream. It was a great day at our JA Education Center in Auburn as a small group of us gathered to shoot the videos including the film crew, Natalie Vega O’Neil (CEO/President of JAWA), Lisa Stirgus (Board Chair of JAWA), corporate sponsors, students, and more! Safety measures were high priority that day and everyone was masked and kept 6 feet apart as much as possible. The videos turned out wonderfully thanks in large part to PNTA and our willing JA supporters.

JAWA CEO & President Natalie Vega O’Neil being filmed.
JA student being filmed in JA BizTown.

Two days later, the film crew along with JA’s Director of Events Hilary Bhagat drove out to Spokane to film the feature Dare to Dream video. Aided by our colleague Janet Banaugh (Regional Program Director), we filmed in beautiful Manito Park and captured JA alumni Ducati Sanchidrian’s impressive and moving story.

JA alumni Ducati Sanchidrian being filmed.

Finding items to fill our live and virtual auction this year was also an interesting challenge! With travel so curtailed by the pandemic, not to mention dining out and any crowd-related activity, we had to really depend on JA staff and supporters to help source items. And they really came through! If you participated in the Dare to Dream auction, I’m sure you saw how many wonderful goodies we ended up listing: from wine packages to portrait photography services, to vacation getaways with long expiration dates. We were able to provide a great assortment of items for people to bid on.

Finally, the event itself was such a new experience for us all! Typically, we hold Dare to Dream on the T-Mobile Park field, but of course this year, it all had to be filmed and broadcasted live. A small group of JA staff were at the PNTA studios and it was very exciting and different! We also had auctioneer John Curley and our evening’s emcee Alyana Gomez from Q13 Fox, as well as celebrity bartender Abigail Gullo from Ben Paris Restaurant with us and we couldn’t have had three more professional, delightful people working with us on this event.

Auctioneer John Curley pointing out our amazing auction wine packages!


For more photos of the event day as well as a recording the hour-long show, visit our event page. We’re already looking ahead to next year’s Dare to Dream and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we’ll all be able to meet in person then! And of course, a deep heartfelt thank you to everyone for joining us for this unique event. We feel so honored that the support for JA shines through so powerfully especially in these critical times.

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