A Dream Realized

Champagne has long been an elegant highlight of many celebrations. Combine the venerable “bubbly” with community-minded “dreamers” and you have the annual Champagne Dreams Gala signature fundraiser for the Transitions Life Center & Community, or TLC.

The Casino Night-themed event on November 9th at Hilton Ocala featured a number of raffles, including one in which a guest could purchase a champagne glass for a chance to win a week’s stay at a luxurious condominium.

The Pimlico Ballroom was filled with gaming tables, slot machines and a spinning wheel with real money in each landing spot. The hallways were chock full of opportunities to bid in a silent auction, purchase a bottle of wine for $25 that had a much higher value, purchase tickets for a chance to win a basket full of goodies and much more. A live auction featured three jerseys signed by Heisman Trophy winners Danny Wuerffel, Steve Spurrier and Tim Tebow.

Entertainment was provided by Charlie De and Ron Hackling, along with performance artist Dale Henry, who painted four canvases that were then auctioned off.

The event this year was made even more special as guests acknowledged the recent grand opening of the nonprofit center’s new Carmen and Carlos Pascual Community Center, which is phase one of a multi-purpose campus at 3360 Gainesville Road, Ocala. Land for the 22-acre campus was donated by the City of Ocala. Funding for the on-going Partner for Potential Capital Campaign comes came from private and business donations, grants and fundraisers such as the gala, an annual golf tournament and more.

TLC provides a safe, caring and enriching community for intellectually disabled adults through weekday activities and social opportunities.

“To be inside our own building is an overwhelming, wonderful feeling,” said TLC Executive Director Lucy Johnson.” Our members really feel at home, so it gives them a sense of belonging. Anybody will tell you that when they walk in, the warmest feeling they have is happiness. It’s really bright and lively.”

Many members of the Paglia family have been instrumental in bringing the TLC campus dream to reality. Among them are Michael D. and Linda Paglia.

“Having three special needs children, we always asked ourselves the reason behind it,” said Linda. “We always knew there was one, but it took us a while to figure it out. Then our son Matthew was getting ready to graduate and there were very limited options.”

They said they found inspiration and began talking to others and then put together a board of directors.

“We took a step out in faith,” Linda said.

“We found our reason, why we were blessed,” Michael added. “You have the dream and you think that someday this could happen and now it’s here. So many people have come out of the woodwork to help. All kinds of people. It’s truly amazing.”

To learn more about the Transitions Life Center, visit www.tlcocala.org

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