The “BIG Dream Gathering” is coming to Valparaiso University on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 6:30 p.m.

These events provide a fun, safe and encouraging environment for people to think about their big dreams and ideas, write them down and then get help to make those dreams a reality.

“Some people come knowing exactly what their goals are, but most people come to figure that out,” said co-founder, Mitch Matthews.

The BIG Dream Gathering got its start in Matthews’ West Des Moines home in 2006, and now he travels across the country facilitating these inspiring events. Recently, Matthews has led BIG Dream Gatherings at the University of Wisconsin, Purdue, Truman State, the University of Iowa and The University of Northern Iowa.

Throughout the years, all sorts of dreams have been posted and a number of success stories have come from these events too.

One college student with dreams of becoming a photographer was able to score a Pulitzer-winning mentor. An elementary teacher was able to get the help she needed to send truckloads of school supplies to Africa. Others have started businesses and nonprofits, while others have decided to go after “fun” goals like family vacations or skydiving.

“It’s been incredible to see what happens when people have a safe environment to think about their dreams and then get some encouragement to go after them,” Matthews said. “That’s why we’re so excited to bring the BIG Dream Gathering to Valpo.

“We all know the value of setting goals, but we rarely get the opportunity to think about our dreams and goals or write them down. Plus, it’s amazing to see what happens when people start to help each other out.”

Valpo’s event will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 6:30 p.m., and is open to Northwest Indiana community members as well as Valpo students, alumni, faculty, and staff.  Participants are encouraged to arrive early, and a limited amount of Matthew’s best-selling book, “IGNITE,” will be given to the first attendees. Check-in is 6–6:15 p.m.

Matthews kick off the evening with a keynote address.  He will share the story of the BIG Dream Gathering as well as four key strategies for clarifying goals and building a plan to achieve them. Then everyone will have the chance to post some dreams of their own and encourage other dreamers too.

Visit the event Facebook page for additional information.

The event is open to the public and free to attend.