Music Scene: Becky Sinn

Local Musician, Becky Sinn discusses the inspirations behind her original brand of music.


Tell us about the evolution of “Becky Sinn” as a persona.

Becky Sinn was a stage name given to me by a local music legend, Chris Morgridge. I used to sing backup for him during his shows at O’Malley’s Alley. He would introduce me by saying, “If singing is a sin, Becky is the worst sinner I know.” The name stuck and Becky Sinn evolved over the years as a way for me to be a little darker and funnier than I would’ve been otherwise. I was once a very shy artist and performer. Having a stage name was like having an alter ego that could get away with saying or doing things I wouldn’t normally be brave enough to say or do.

Tell us about the very first song you ever wrote.

It was a percussive, rhythmic, strummy song, it almost sounded Celtic. I think it was called Widow. I was only 15 or so when I wrote it.

How has your songwriting process changed since that first song?

Back then, writing was about discovering guitar chords. As I was learning, I would come up with little chord progressions first and then write lyrics. Now, it’s the opposite, I will often come up with a concept and lyrics first, then fill in the music.

Who are some of the artists that have heavily influenced your sound? What was it about them that drew you in?

Growing up, my parents listened to old country and golden oldies, so I was more influenced by them than I realized as a kid. I do a lot of covers of that stuff now, but, when I first started playing guitar, I was obsessed with Nirvana. I loved the quality of Kurt’s voice and the hooky pop sensibility of the music. It was so raw at times but also so catchy and melodic. My dad showed me my first chords on his guitar, but it was Kurt Cobain on MTV’s Nirvana Unplugged that showed me what I really wanted to play then I learned tablature from guitar magazines. Vocally though, as bad as I wanted to be a singer for a metal or grunge band, my voice was too pretty. My biggest vocal influence was Björk. She has such a powerful and unique voice. Singing along with her as a budding artist definitely developed my vocal range and influenced my style. I also listened to a lot of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald in high school and sometimes hear a touch of them when I sing with my jazz band Swing Theory. All of those women have powerful, almost other worldly voices. I couldn’t help but be drawn to them.

Your latest album Lamb and Lioness delves into the varying stages of emotional connection between two people. Do you find that each songwriting phase has a theme that surfaces during the creative process or do you mentally determine the theme when sitting down to write?

Those songs poured out. Most of them started as little private jokes or funny ideas. The theme of love just surfaced. It was a body of work that spanned a relationship, the songs are these messages to my love who didn’t quite love me back the way I wanted.  It’s so beautiful and funny and heartbreaking because I was writing from experiences that were happening to me. Themes just kind of evolve naturally as I go along sometimes. It’s way tougher to choose a theme and write in it.

in each song, there are hints of theatricality woven throughout your album From the cover art to the songs themselves. Does the theater have an important part in your creative process?

I am a dramatic person. I am easily moved. I love grand, sweeping, breathtaking romance. I love comedy and tragedy. A breeze or a tender moment may move me to tears. I have always loved live music and art and theater. It’s just a part of my being. I have been very fortunate to always be surrounded by some form of the arts. So yes, there is always a little element of theater, mostly due to the amazing community of artists, musicians, and performers that I am honored to call my friends.

The cover for your album is truly a work of art. How involved are you in that process and what goes into deciding what will be on the cover?

Thank you! The cover photo of me was taken by my longtime friend, independent filmmaker and photographer Erica Summers. I told her I wanted to do a photoshoot inspired by Norma Jeane’s playboy shoot, but not nude, I wanted to be covered up with the red sheets. The collage was created by me. This album was all about epic romance. The most romantic era for me, and my most favorite, is the Victorian Era. I collect antiques and Victorian trade cards and valentines. It’s an aesthetic I have always been drawn to. All of the images in the collage are scans of real antique Victorian ephemera from a website called The Graphics Fairy. There are little tributes to my relationship all woven in the cover art, especially Paris and Coney Island references. I knew I wanted it to be a Victorian collage early on. It took quite a while to move all the pieces into the perfect places, but I designed it myself in Photoshop.

During your sets, you mix up both original songs and covers. How do you go about choosing which covers you will perform?

The covers I pick are just songs I love. As far as choosing what to play, it’s all about reading the room. I try to tailor my sets to the venue. At places that are a little edgier, I feel a little freer to play some of my more scandalous originals and covers. Family-friendly places tend to steer me towards those oldies and classic country songs I was talking about earlier.

In an age of digital media where everyone is clamoring to be seen and heard, do you feel the internet has helped or hindered your ability to get your music out there?

I feel the internet has definitely helped my music get heard. I feel so blessed to live in this miraculous age where I can be my own manager/marketing director/promoter and just do it all from the convenience of my home with a phone or laptop. It’s like living sci-fi. The internet is infinite and there’s room for all of us. I think you can be seen as much or as little as you want, you just have to be willing to put the work in with the tools you have at your disposal. I love it.

What is it that you love most about the Ocala music scene? What do you wish you could change about it?

I love that there is one! Ocala has always had a great scene. It was here long before me and will be here long after I am gone. I think now is a particularly exciting time for arts and music in Ocala because we have organizations like The Insomniac Theater, The Reilly Arts Center and The Magnolia Art Xchange trying to make a difference in the arts community. Not to mention, there are tons of locally owned businesses that are all doing their part to support local art and music. There are so many inspiring community art events and performers in the area. The only thing I would change is to have more time in the day so I could attend more events and see more of my fellow performers in town. The art and music scene is thriving and very exciting these days. I wouldn’t change it, I just want more.

What projects do you currently have in the works that we can look forward to in the near or distant future?

I have lots of shows coming up with my band Swing Theory. Keep an eye on our website for our events calendar at I am booked for the rest of the year with lots of solo shows too, watch on Facebook and Instagram for my upcoming Becky Sinn solo shows. There is a long overdue album of Dr. Sinn’s Freak Island Musical Sideshow Greatest Hits that needs to happen (That’s my sexy clown band for those of you who don’t know). I am also starting to write some new songs so hopefully a new Becky Sinn album will be in the works eventually as well.

Into The Wetlands

By Carey David

Water, water, everywhere…and not a drop to drink— but plenty to recharge—and the City of Ocala is doing just that with their Wetlands Groundwater Recharge Park initiative. The park is the city’s plan to make the best use of its water resources. But first, you might ask what is recharge water? Recharge is the water that drains through the soil to refill the groundwater and helps replenish the aquifer below. There are some interesting facts that you may not be aware of when it comes to water. Knowing these few simple facts will help you understand the how and why behind the Wetlands Groundwater Recharge Park project.

Florida is the national leader when it comes to water reuse. With the Recharge Park groundbreaking in June of 2018, the project is well underway. The project site is a 60-acre, city-owned parcel that is adjacent to the old Pine Oaks Golf Course location in Northwest Ocala. Once up and running the park will receive treated wastewater from two of the city’s water reclamation facilities and stormwater from the Old City Yard Drainage Retention Area. Up to five million gallons per day of recharge water will be added to that which was previously extracted from the Upper Floridan Aquifer, increasing the water flow at Silver Springs. At the groundbreaking ceremony, Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn said, “The Wetland Groundwater Recharge Park allows the city of Ocala to efficiently use its water resources. By developing this park, the city will create a wetland ecosystem, improve water quality, boost regional groundwater supplies and provide numerous recreational opportunities for the community.” Sentiments were also shared by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Secretary, Noah Valenstein. “The Ocala Wetland Groundwater Recharge Park is a great example of how partnerships between state, regional and local governments can benefit our environment and our communities. Working in this spirit of collaboration has not only allowed us to break ground on this important project but has helped us leverage more than $190 million in state funding over the last seven years into an investment of more than $360 million to protect and restore Florida’s iconic springs.” So, we are not only making a positive ecological impact on our community but the entire state of Florida!

During the evaluation, design, and permitting phase in 2017, the city established the following project goals:

• Replenish the aquifer with treated reclaimed water and stormwater, removing nitrogen and phosphorus to provide benefits to the Upper Floridian Aquifer and Silver Springs.

• Create a setting to attract wildlife and improve the natural value of the area.

• Continue to involve our community to assist in developing an educational facility with learning opportunities, and park facilities.

That is the “how” which is well underway. The “why” has to do with the city’s ability to remain in compliance with regulations to reduce spring flows from both the Upper Floridian Aquifer and Silver Springs. The City’s plan for the Recharge Park creates a system improves water quality and gives the aquifer the boost it needs to increase groundwater supplies. Wetland parks of these types in other communities have been known to enhance neighborhoods and some have seen an increase in property values. Those living near the park have echoed this positive position. A win-win situation for our ecosystem and property owners!

I recently had the opportunity to visit with Rachel Slocumb, the City of Ocala Water Resources Conservation Coordinator to bring me us up to speed on this project. The park is nearly done! Most of the construction has been completed. Funding has been secured for the pavilion and planting of the wetlands lays just ahead. The expected completion date is currently set for the spring of 2020. In Rachel’s words, here is what you can look forward to.

“The Wetland Park will feature two and a half miles of eight-foot-wide asphalt trails that are coupled with 1,500 feet of scenic boardwalks that will cross the open water ponds. These trails will be lined with educational kiosks that will explore many of the natural benefits of the park and the wildlife that will soon call it home. The park will also become a home to a variety of wildlife. Most excitedly, this park has the potential to become a true birding destination. It is already home to a vast range of bird species that includes, but isn’t limited to: Red-headed, Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers, Killdeer, Red-shouldered Hawk, and during migration, Hooded Mergansers. Another critter that already lives on the property is Sherman’s Fox Squirrel. These large rodents can reach lengths of up to 27.6 inches and are distinguished by their dark coloration with white ears and a white snout. They are a Florida Species of Special Concern and their major cause of population reduction is loss of habitat. The Wetland Park will provide them an oasis.”

The Wetland Groundwater Recharge Park will not only be giving back three to five million gallons of water a day to the aquifer but will also be giving Florida species another home to thrive in and the opportunity for us to enjoy and learn about them.

For more information about the park, you can visit the City of Ocala website at

A Gift For Every Friend

by Kaitlyn Butler

The holidays are a magical time in Ocala. The downtown square is illuminated with lights, the weather is crisp, and there’s a holiday party at every turn. With these parties come the expectation of festive décor, gifts, and goodies for guests.

Those fortunate enough to live in and around Ocala can find all that and more at the local shops present in downtown. While many shoppers take on chain stores with massive crowds, the best gifts can be found tucked away in standalone shops. Shopping local allows shoppers to find unique, personalized gifts while supporting local families and keeping dollars in Marion County.

According to the National Retail Federation, the 2019 forecast predicts that holiday sales will be up 3.8–4.2 percent, resulting in more than a $2 billion increase. What does that mean for Ocala businesses? In short, consumer confidence is up and Americans are more likely to spend in-store and online this year.

Consider using your spending power at local businesses for everyone on your shopping list.

For the Sentimental Friend:

Visit downtown Ocala’s Gallery on Magnolia. Step inside this boutique to discover silk pajamas, jewelry, and, most notably, the artwork of Houston Llew. Llew’s pieces, coined “spirit tiles,” are the perfect gift for your sentimental friend. Each displays a glistening scene paired with a synonymous quote. The tiles begin with wood and are wrapped with copper and a glass infusion, then fired to create a work of art. Each tile depicts a scene for every occasion, ranging from the birth of a child to the love of a horse.

Brick City Center for the Arts is an art gallery and gift shop with handmade jewelry, ceramics, photography, vintage Ocala postcards, prints, and more. Many of the pieces are the work of local artists, which adds another level of personalization to each gift. Don’t forget to strike a pose with The Brick neon sign, an iconic Ocala photo opportunity!

For the Foodie Friend:

More than a quaint downtown café, Stella’s Modern Pantry offers more than gourmet lunch options. Here you can find gifts ranging from novelty aprons to a vinrella, an umbrella in a bottle, which gives the appearance of a wine bottle. Stella’s also boasts a large variety of rare sauces, waterproof playing cards, designer mugs, perfumes, and Paddywax candles.

Ocala’s Chocolate and Confections looks like a shop plucked right out of a Hallmark movie. This shop offers gourmet, exotic and custom chocolate made fresh daily. Pick a few of your favorites or ask them to create a custom holiday basket for parties or corporate gifts!

For the Wino Friend:

The Corkscrew Winery and Brewery is just steps from Stella’s and is the perfect place for an experience gift. This winery offers a winemaking class where guests can make their own wine to take home and enjoy for years (maybe months) to come!

Just around the corner from The Corkscrew Winery and Brewery, you’ll find The Keep Downtown, a premier wine and beer destination. On the first floor, you’ll find a retail space that boasts a wall of premier wines and champagnes, which can be included in custom gift baskets for corporate and personal gift-giving. Upstairs you’ll find the red-carpet lounge, which is available for private holiday parties and features a full menu with wine tasting.

For the Fit Friend:

If cycling is a passion, Brick City Bicycles is the perfect place to find custom bikes and gear. With so many trails around Ocala, this gift is sure to be one that brings adventure for years to come.

The holidays are a time when eating well is part of the culture, but it’s also a time of resetting and starting fresh goals. That’s where Zone Health and Fitness comes in; the gift that keeps on giving is a personal training package. With two locations in Ocala and childcare available, they make it easy to hit New Year’s goals.

For the Artsy Friend:

Marley Mae Market is a one-stop-shop for everything eclectic and cool. This shop carries everything ranging from pop culture coloring books to all-natural beauty products. Want stocking stuffers in the form of earrings depicting Justin Timberlake’s face? This is the place to shop.

For the Fashionable Friend:

Looking to snag a leopard top for your friend who knows animal print is all the rage? Ivy On The Square Boutique is a cute southern boutique that carries off the shoulder rompers, light kimonos, trendy jewelry, and so much more. Just across the street from Ivy On The Square restaurant, it’s worth making the trip to shop, munch, and call it a long lunch!

Searching for a fashion piece that’s truly unique? Pink Hanger Collection is a fun, vibrant boutique with new arrivals every day. It’s stocked with cutout sweaters, trendy crossbody bags, and coats that will have everyone asking for outfit details.

For the Refined Friend:

At Agapanthus you’ll find PANDORA jewelry, Juliska holiday dishes, Longchamp crossbody bags, University of Florida décor and more. This shop offers custom engraving on a large variety of fine goods, which always elevates the significance of a gift. Not to mention, Agapanthus is home to Breeze Day Spa, with gift cards available for services ranging from blowouts to lash lifts.

Shannon Roth Collection is a luxurious lifestyle store with home décor, gifts, clothing, and postcards. The shop is also home to Olivia & Co. Kids, a premier baby boutique, so you can shop for the whole family in one stop. Don’t forget to take a photo in front of the famous blue doors while you’re there!

For the Festive Friend:

No party is complete without a gorgeous floral centerpiece. The Graceful Gardener is a floral design boutique that features event design, cut floral arrangements, garden gift retail and more. While you’re there, book a workshop to design your own arrangement with friends.

Ocala is comprised of these and so many more local shops. Take a day to enjoy the cool, crisp air, duck into a local restaurant for a bite to eat, choose a unique gift that loved ones will treasure for years to come, and shop local!

Apple of My Pie

By Robin Fannon of RSVP Robin

The expression “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away” is not entirely just a cliché. If you omit the cheddar cheese or ice cream (see more on this below) an apple packs a powerful nutritional punch. These heart-healthy, cancer-fighting, liver cleansing powerhouses are a dieter’s dream. Most of the nutrition is actually in the peel. However, many commercial growers rely heavily on pesticides, so if you want to eat the peel don’t panic, just go organic.

I find that after indulging in summer’s wide variety of available fruit, there is something very refreshing and healthy about a big, crisp apple. Apples are the quintessential fall fruit and they lend themselves to many of the fall recipes we depend on during this season. Their versatility is endless, from breakfast cereals to main course dinner recipes, and everything in-between. Apples are definitely essential for anyone’s fall baking repertoire.

A favorite snack in our house is a rich wedge of sharp cheddar cheese accompanied by crisp, tart, sweet apple slices. A thick slice of cheddar melted on top of a piece of apple pie is not too bad either! For a long time, this was the preferred way to eat apple pie in many parts of America, especially in states famous for their cheese making like Wisconsin and Vermont. There is also the option of baking the cheddar into the piecrust. Yum! It wasn’t until the 1800s that the French term “á la mode” became popular in this country. There is however no evidence that the French actually topped their tartes aux pommes with ice cream. At any rate, many American families have their own apple pie recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation. How does your family enjoy eating apples?


Classic Apple Pie

For the crust:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

4-8 tablespoons ice water


1. To make the dough for the pie crust, mix 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon each salt and sugar in a medium-size bowl. Cut 2 sticks chilled unsalted butter into pieces. With a pastry blender, cut in butter, working until mixture resembles coarse meal.

2. Add 4 tablespoons ice water; work with hands until dough comes together. If dough is still crumbly, add more ice water a tablespoon at a time (up to 4 more tablespoons). Do not overwork.

3. Divide dough in half, and flatten halves into disks. Wrap disks separately in plastic; refrigerate at least 1 hour.

4. To form the pie shell, roll one of the dough disks on a floured surface into a 14-inch round. Wrap around rolling pin and carefully unroll over a 9-inch pie plate.

5. Fit gently into bottom and side of plate. Use kitchen shears to trim dough to a 1-inch overhang; fold under, and seal to form a rim.

6. Roll our second dough disk into a 14-inch round. Set aside.

For the apple pie:

4 lb. (2 kg) Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered and cored

Grated zest of 1 lemon

Grated zest of 1 orange

2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbs. fresh orange juice

1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) sugar, plus 1 tsp. to sprinkle on top

1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) all-purpose flour

1 tsp. kosher salt

3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp. ground allspice

1 egg beaten with 1 Tbs. water for egg wash


1. Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).

2. Cut each apple quarter in thirds crosswise and combine in a bowl with the zests, juices, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.

3. Fill the prepared pie crust with the apple mixture. Brush the edge of the bottom pie crust with the egg wash so the top crust will adhere. Top with the second crust and trim the edges to about 1 inch (2.5 cm) over the rim. Tuck the edge of the top crust under the edge of the bottom crust and crimp the two together with your fingers or a fork. Brush the entire top crust with the egg wash, sprinkle with 1 tsp. sugar and cut four or five slits.

4. Place the pie on a sheet pan and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until the crust is browned and the juices begin to bubble out. Serve warm. Makes one 9-inch pie.


French Apple Cake


1 cup all-purpose flour

¾ teaspoon ground cardamom

¾ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature

¾ cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons Calvados (apple brandy)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¹/ cup well-shaken buttermilk, at room temperature

3 medium apples

1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing the pan

1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF

2. Place a piece of parchment paper into an 8- or 9-inch cast-iron pan and grease it with butter.

3. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

4. In a separate large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Whisk in the granulated sugar, calvados and vanilla extract. Pour in the buttermilk and whisk to combine.

5. Peel, halve, and core 2½ of the apples, then cut them into ½-inch-thick cubes.

6. Reserve the remaining half apple, unpeeled, and cut it into ¼-inch slices, for the top.

7. Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined, then gently fold in half of the melted butter.
Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and melted butter.

8. Gently fold in the cubed apples, reserving the slices. Transfer the batter to the pan and arrange the apples slices in a circular pattern on top of the batter. Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.

9. Bake until the cake turns a deep golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes. Transfer the skillet to a cooling rack and let it sit for 5 minutes.

10. Dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar
before serving.


Crisp Apple Chips


2 apples

2 tablespoons granulated xugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 200ºF. Line two sheet pans with silicone mats or parchment paper.


1. Core apples if desired, then slice thinly with a mandoline. Lay slices side-by-side in an even layer on the mat or parchment, then sprinkle sugar and cinnamon evenly all over apple slices.

2. Bake apples for about 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours, until apples are no longer gummy and are dry to the touch. The apple slices will get crispy as they cool.

The Guest House


by Melissa Deskovic

Local residents Judy Crane and John West help those struggling with addiction overcome the odds and find a new way of living at their first-class facility.

Behind every person you meet is a story. A long winding tale paved with the decisions that have led us to our current state. Good, bad, or indifferent these narratives shape everything about us—how we think, feel, and act—it all starts with the experiences we process. The 13th-century poet Rumi once wrote: “This being human is a guest house / Every morning a new arrival / A joy, a depression, a meanness / some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor / Welcome and entertain them all!”  These words, written centuries ago, are at the core of The Guest House philosophy. A place where mindfulness is encouraged and experiences are embraced in a manner that facilitates the recovery process.

Founders Judy Crane and John West both know the hold that trauma and addiction have on the human psyche. For over 20 years Crane has been helping those in the Ocala area overcome trauma and addiction through proven techniques with her brand of world-class trauma treatment. Spending decades as a Certified Addiction Professional, a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, a Certified Hypnotist, and author, Judy Crane brings to the table a wealth of knowledge and compassion for each individual client to ensure they are on the best path to recovery. Known as an expert in the field of trauma and recovery, her work has garnered accolades and industry awards for her contributions to the field. Her book, “The Trauma Heart”, gives readers a first-hand look at the varying traumas she has treated, how her clients were able to overcome their own addictions, and the things she is learned along the way.

It was through her work that she met, and eventually partnered with, Co-Founder John West. Born to actor J.T. Walsh, West found himself initially drawn to the arts and entertainment industries, establishing for himself a life in Hollywood working as a producer. Yet, when his father unexpectedly passed away, the trauma of such a sudden loss sent West into a downward spiral. It was only after the intervention of family and friends—and help from Crane—that he was able to overcome his addictions and find himself back on a path of healthy living.  This experience opened his eyes to see how powerful and lifechanging the road to recovery can be for those who need it. Experiencing first hand how trauma and addiction can affect not only yourself but those around you, West made the decision to put his own journey to use helping others find their road to recovery as a Sober Companion and Interventionist. It was then that West devoted his time to helping Crane on her quest to provide a safe and stable environment where others suffering from trauma and addiction can find the help they need. Together, they established their world-renowned program right here in Central Florida.

The Guest House, a top-notch, private, luxury facility that focuses on unraveling the tangled web of trauma and addiction has more than 50 acres at their disposal and boasts a 27-room inpatient home where clients and industry leaders from all over the world are able to put aside their worries and focus on the process of recovery.

The Guest House hosts a holistic program that treats the whole person and the whole problem. Trauma, which often resides in the nervous system, is often just as much a medical issue as it is a mental health issue. At The Guest House, they treat these issues with proven therapeutic techniques via a myriad of modalities that are all based on scientific analysis. This approach allows them to dig into the source of the issues, fixing the addiction and mental illness at its core.

Tom Pecca, a Senior Clinical advisor at the facility explains, “Many of the addictions and mental health issues that occur—occur as the coping mechanisms of an original issue. They’re the symptomology for something that happened before.”  Traumatic events, detrimental life experiences, neglect, or even natural experiences such as the deaths of parents—while some may not consider those traumatic, their experiences can still alter the way that we approach life and they can influence who we are, who we become, and what we believe. Those experiences and how we process them can create an issue in our nervous system that controls the impulses. It creates the opportunity for “I need something to make me feel different” type of scenarios. Many times you may not even know that it is happening until one day you are sitting in a situation and find yourself wondering how you got there.  At The Guest House, Crane, West and their team are there to help you uncover your traumas, learn your triggers, and help you find holistic ways of coping.

Since everyone experiences and processes trauma differently, the methods used during recovery are as varied as the traumas themselves. “What’s different than others in our industry is that we work on the core issues,” Pecca elaborates. Using experiential therapy allows Crane and her team to use a relaxed setting to get clients to open up and, without thinking, simply react to the situations placed in front of them. “Because trauma resides in the oldest part of the brain — the part that runs on instinct which doesn’t respond well to talk— so talk therapies will only get you so far,”  Pecca explains. “When people are at play—whether it’s a group activity, art, or music, or interacting with animals—they are their natural selves.”  It is in those moments of adventure therapy, music, cinema, meditation, and art that clinicians are able to get to the core of the issues. This type of experiential therapy program gives the team at The Guest House the ability to help clients identify their actions and show them how their trauma affects their decision-making process. From there the team can show them how to overcome those negative patterns. With activities curated from some of the most widely used and proven methods of therapy, the goal of The Guest House is to bring each person back to a place of peace in every aspect of mind, body, and soul.

Their methods are in such high demand that Crane has been asked to instruct others in the same industry to implement The Guest House methods in their own practices. Those seeking recovery travel from all corners of the world to Central Florida to take part in The Guest House’s top quality treatment.  While some may need inpatient care, others may benefit from the facility’s outpatient services. Yet, before the journey can begin, one must make the decision to seek help. So how does one determine if they need help? The signs may not always be as obvious as an addiction; yet, if left untreated, can spiral into something more difficult to process.  When trying to determine if you or someone you love needs help, the line can be somewhat blurred. “You want to look at how you’re functioning and how it’s working for you. When the activity in question becomes detrimental—when it starts to impact your relationships—when it starts to impact who you are as a working person—when it stops working—that’s when you seek out help.”

If you or someone you love is suffering from mental illness or addiction there are those who are standing by ready to help. Judy Crane and John West have dedicated their lives to building a safe space where people from all over can come and receive the treatment and healing that they deserve. Their goal is to help others find peace and balance, to help others overcome their traumas and create a life filled with joy and love. While the road may twist and turn and have its ups and downs, The Guest House is here to help guide you on your journey towards healing.

For information about availability, costs, insurance, and other admissions options—or for general inquiries about treatment or The Guest House facilities, feel free to contact them at 855-483-7800.

Charity Register

The definitive guide to Marion County’s charitable organizations presents numerous opportunities to give back to our community — particularly to those in need. These pages are created to help our readers connect with trusted, local nonprofit organizations deserving of our gifts of time and treasure.



EARS Endangered Animal Rescue Sanctuary
P.O. Box 306, Citra, FL 32113
352.266.2859 |
Susan Nassivera
Mission Statement: Preserving with dignity.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020:
Always improving and adding larger turnouts and new enrichment for our animals.
Greatest need: Turnout area for every cat so they do not have to take turns going out.
Signature Event: Hot Cars and Cool Cats held on November 16th 2019,
April 18th, 2020, and November 21, 2020. See website for locations and
more information.

Forest Animal Rescue
640 NE 170th Court,
Silver Springs, FL 34488
Lisa Stoner, vice president
Mission Statement: Forest Animal Rescue is a nonprofit wild animal sanctuary and educational facility, dedicated to the lifetime care of non-releasable wild animals to prevent them from being destroyed — and the rehabilitation and release of native wild black bears.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We are continuing to expand and improve our facility. After moving our entire operation to Marion County and building from scratch, there is much to do. We greatly need assistance with expansion through funding, volunteers, and interns (interns may become eligible for permanent employment).

Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, Inc.
3251 NE 180th Ave., Williston, FL 32696
Mary Jo Brandt
Mission Statement: Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, Inc. was created for the charitable purpose of rescuing, raising, training, and then donating medical service dogs to mentally and/or physically impaired individuals to provide aid and independence while improving the quality of life for both the recipient and dog. In addition, it is our goal to promote education about service dogs and pioneer research studies to further advance service dog training. We also strive to raise public awareness regarding the laws pertaining to service dogs and lessen the dependency of the disabled on the government, communities, caregivers, and families.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We will soon launch a campaign for funds to develop a 68-acre property that we have recently purchased in Levy County into a state-of-the-art training campus that will enable us to change and save more lives. Watch for the launch of our campus campaign!
Signature Event: Celebrating 10 years of being a nonprofit! Event TBA.

Have a Heart for Companion Animals, Inc.
P.O. Box, 831413, Ocala, FL 34483
352.687.4070 |
Marilyn Marinelli
Mission Statement: Have A Heart for Companion Animals Inc. operates as an information and referral center for those who are looking for help related to animal issues. Emphasis is placed on animal welfare education through brochures, website articles, and telephone counseling.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Our long-term goal is to build a no-kill animal rescue shelter and sanctuary.

Humane Society of
Marion County
701 NW 14th Road, Ocala, FL 34475
352.873.7387 |
Roseann Morton, president
Mission Statement: The Humane Society of Marion County is a nonprofit, no-kill shelter dedicated to the care and protection of animals in Marion County, Florida. Our mission is to prevent cruelty, suffering, and overpopulation of animals.
Signature Events: Celebrate the beginning of summer with an old-fashioned cookout at the Dog Days of Summer 2020 event. Enjoy an evening of high-stakes casino fun where the proceeds go directly to benefiting the animals at HSMC during the Casino Night 2020.

Patriot Service Dogs
10545 SE 42nd Court, Belleview, FL 34420 | 352.514.9903
Lee Conger, president and lead trainer
Mission Statement: To enrich the lives of disabled military and veterans in our communities by placing a well-trained and lovingly raised service dog with them and educate the public about the rights of service dog trainers and teams, while focusing on giving disabled veterans back some of their independence lost while preserving ours.
Signature Event: Cheers to Patriot Landing! (Dinner Dance). Come enjoy an evening of music and food with the chance to meet our newest puppies in training! Get ready to be charmed! February 29th from 6–9 p.m. at Whispering Oaks Winery, Oxford, FL.

Perpetual Care
1200 NW 73rd Terrace, Ocala FL 34482
888.355.7091 |
Virginia Kilmer |
Mission Statement: Perpetual Care educates pet owners and assists them with life care and estate planning for their pets in the event that they are no longer able to care for them due to disability or death. When necessary, Perpetual Care also rescues and finds or provides a home for orphaned pets at our Life Care Center.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Perpetual Care would like to expand the capacity to help more pets by expanding the current facility or find a new facility with more space for animals.

VOCAL (Voices of Change Animal League)
6393 SW 52nd St., Ocala, FL 34474
352.289.0800 |
Mission Statement: Our mission is to solve the homeless pet problem through prevention, community outreach, adoption and collaboration.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Our goal for 2020 is to continue to expand and grow several successful programs. These programs include trap-neuter-return of feral cats, pet food and resources for the public, rescue and adoptions of animals exclusively from Marion County, and providing food and pet items through our warehouse to over 80 other rescues, food banks, and shelters.
2020 Special Event: Come support us our fifth annual Furball on February 8th, 2020!

Addiction/Substance Abuse

Christian 12 Step Ministry, Inc.
415 NW First Ave., Ocala, FL 34475
Renee Arnett
Mission Statement: We exist to give hope in Christ, show love through support, and encourage change through Bible-based recovery from substance abuse, emotional strongholds, and codependency.
2020 Goal: Fundraise with an eye toward making our program available globally.

The Centers, Inc.
5664 SW 60th Ave., Ocala, FL 34474
352.291.5555 |
Kristina Donohue
Mission Statement: Our mission at The Centers is to strengthen lives with compassionate healing.

Phoenix Houses of Florida
15681 North U.S. Highway 301, Citra, FL 32113
Maria Alvarez, president and CEO
Mission Statement: We are passionate about healing individuals, families, and communities challenged by substance use disorders and related mental health conditions.


Fine Arts For Ocala, Inc. (FAFO)
120 SW Fifth St., Suite 106,
Ocala, FL 34471
352.867.0355 |
Maggie Weakley |
Mission Statement: Formed in 1972 with a simple mission to promote the appreciation of the fine arts and to enhance art education within our community. FAFO continues to support art education through scholarships and various community programs.
2020 Event: FAFO’s Symphony Under The Stars on Mother’s Day, May 10th, 2020 at the Ocala Golf Club.

Magnolia Art Xchange, Inc. (MAX)
531 NE First Ave., Ocala, FL 34470
352.629.8414 |
Jessi Miller
Mission Statement: To repurpose historic Ocala Union Station and further develop the downtown cultural campus by providing studios, instructional spaces, and exhibition opportunities for visual artists in a collaborative hub that encourages professional development.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: MAX is Ocala’s first art incubator and we have our first artist residents in studios with a grand opening on November 7, 2019. We will have a second call for resident artists and members early in 2020. Please visit our website for the latest project information.
Marion Cultural Alliance
23 SW Broadway St., Ocala, FL 34471
352.369.1500 |
Jaye Baille |
Mission Statement: Marion Cultural Alliance champions, convenes, and creates opportunities for artists and arts organizations.

Ocala Film Foundation
2008 SE 37th Court Circle,
Ocala FL 34471
Laurie Zink |
Mission Statement: The Ocala Film Foundation leads our community in creative and cultural discovery through the medium of motion pictures. Our efforts support the cultural and economic well-being of the region, in addition to providing student scholarships and classroom grants to students and teachers of digital media and technology.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We will be unveiling two new plaques to be added to the Walk of Fame. Date TBA.

Ocala Symphony Orchestra – Reilly Arts Center
500 NE Ninth St., Ocala, FL 34470
Willliam Nassal, president
Mission: Our mission is to create cultural experiences and opportunities for our community through music.

Reilly Arts Center
500 NE Ninth St., Ocala, FL 34470
Megan Whittaker
Mission Statement: To provide cultural experiences for the community through arts and entertainment.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We are continuing to focus on providing high-quality programming, an excellent customer experience, and community impact, especially in our downtown and arts community overall.

The Marion Players, Inc. DBA Ocala Civic Theatre
4337 E. Silver Springs Blvd.,
Ocala, FL 34470
Marilyn Price
Mission Statement: To uplift, inspire, and entertain by providing quality theatrical experiences and performing arts education.


Black Nurses Rock,
Ocala Florida Chapter
P.O. Box 5544, Ocala, FL 34478
352.208.9412 |
Bridget Boynton
Mission Statement: To assist dedicated, driven, and determined nurses to grow professionally while addressing healthcare disparities in the Ocala and Marion county area.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: To continue getting out in the community to educate and bring awareness about health-related topics and continuing to help aspiring nurses become nurses.

Liberation Ocala African American Council, Inc.
P.O. Box 2693, Ocala, FL 34478
352.875.5071 | Oscar Brown
Mission Statement: Initiate and facilitate programs and activities for the enhancement of the quality of life for African Americans in Marion County.

Disabled Resources

ARC Marion, Inc.
2800 SE Maricamp Road,
Ocala, FL 34471
352.387.2210 |
Leah Craig |
Mission Statement: ARC Marion’s mission is to create opportunities for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live, work, and play to the fullest of their capabilities in Marion County.
Signature Event: Ocala Bike Fest in the spring (March–April). Dates TBA.

Center for Independent Living of North Central Florida
3445 NE 24th St., Ocala, FL 34470


Tony Delisle, director
Andrea Melvin, office manager
Mission Statement: Our mission is empowering people with disabilities to exert our individual right to live as independently as possible, make personal life choices, and achieve full community inclusion.
Signature Event 2020: The Amazing Give Charity Fundraiser, to be held in March. The Amazing Give will raise money for local nonprofits, like the Center for Independent Living of North Central Florida, through a single online donation platform. This will provide an easy way to connect donors to the charitable causes they care about most and encourage them to take action.

Champions for Champions, Inc.
240 SE 17th St., Suite C, Ocala, FL 34471
352.585.9158; 352.462.0380
Maria C. Roman or Don Nottingham
Mission Statement: The purpose of Champions for Champions, Inc., is to enrich and empower families’ lives and values through providing and facilitating educational, sports, arts, social and life skills programs for people with disabilities.
Signature Events: Night of the Brightest Stars: A Christmas Gala held on December 7, Saturday at One Health Center.
Fifth Annual Champions Celebrity Night Dinner and Auction at Southeastern Auditorium: March 20, 2020. Tickets will be on sale soon.
Fifth Annual NFL Caring For Kids Clay Shoot at Robinson Ranch on March 21, 2020.
Celebrity Champion Waiters at Celebrity Restaurants — Various times.

Florida Center for the Blind, Inc.
1411 NE 22nd Ave., Ocala, FL 34470
352.873.4700 |
Mandy Intravaia
Mission Statement: The mission of the Florida Center for the Blind is to provide services, at no cost, to individuals who are visually impaired, empowering them to live safely, productively, and independently.

Kenny’s Place Nursery
7677 SE 41st Court, Ocala, FL 34480
Brandy Evans, director
Mission Statement: Our mission is to create a positive, caring, and accepting environment for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Marion Therapeutic Riding Association (MTRA)
6850 SE 41st Court, Ocala, FL 34480
352.732.7300 |
Pam Morrison
Mission Statement: MTRA strives to offer the miraculous benefits of therapeutic horseback riding and equine facilitated learning to persons of all ages and capabilities that are physically, mentally, or emotionally challenged.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: To increase funding for the growing veterans program, Freedom Reins, and the Equine Experience program for foster children and at-risk youth.
Upcoming Events:
November 30th: Holiday Market and Antique Cars show
January 19th: Florida Mini Match
February 24th: Fourth annual Golf Tournament
March 1st: HITS Family Fun Day
March 21st: Poker Run

Stirrups ‘n Strides Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc.
4246 W. Hwy 318, Citra, Florida 32113
352.591.1042 (office) or 352.427.3569 (Betty cell)
Gail McDaniel, program manager
Betty Gray, executive director
Mission Statement: To provide therapeutic horseback riding and carriage driving to anyone with physical, mental, or emotional challenges and to improve their quality of life with opportunities for emotional, educational, and physical growth through horsemanship and competition.
Signature Event: “Goin’ for Gold” charity fundraiser at Golden Ocala held on December 8th at 5–9 p.m. For more information, contact Betty Gray. This is our biggest event of the year!
We are so thankful for every bit of community support and assistance we are receiving toward ultimately reach our goals.

Transitions Life Center
NEW FACILITY at 3360 NW Gainesville Road, Ocala, FL, 34475
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 236, Ocala, FL 34478
352.877.8999 |
Darren Ritch, president
Mission Statement: The Mission of Transitions Life Center (TLC) is to provide a safe, caring, and enriching community for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


Ambleside School of Ocala
507 SE Broadway St., Ocala, FL 34471
Emmy Lilholt
Mission Statement: It is the mission of the Ambleside administration and faculty to provide what Charlotte Mason called “a living education,” where each child is guided and empowered to author a full and free life, a life rich in relationship to God, self, others, ideas, and all of creation.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We will build out the high school building to accommodate our high school students.
Signature Event: Annual Father-Daughter Dance on February 7th and 8th, 2020 at Circle Square Cultural Center.

Cornerstone School
2313 SE Lake Weir Ave., Ocala, FL 34471
Matt Young, marketing coordinator
Mission: In an ever-changing world, our mission is to prepare students for success with a comprehensive educational program of an innovative curriculum; inspirational teaching that develops a passion for learning; and the Cornerstone values of acceptance, integrity, and mutual respect.
Signature Events: Marion County Chili Cookoff on November 2nd at the Livestock Pavilion.
Ocala Derby Party on May 2nd: Ocala’s premier Kentucky Derby party is an evening full of big hats, mint juleps, and exciting entertainment. There will be live music, live and silent auctions, a Best Hat competition, signature cocktails, hand-crafted hors d’oeuvres and multiple big screen TVs showing all of the coverage of the race.

Grace Christian School
4410 SE 3rd Ave., Ocala, FL 34480
352.387.3090 |
Kristin Dean |
Mission Statement: To prepare our children for life, to honor and glorify God in a Christ-centered environment of academic excellence.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Students at Grace Christian School are taught the importance of giving back to the community through service learning. Each year our school participates and donates to local charities.
Signature Event: Our Annual Mother-Son Dance is held each spring. Proceeds from the event are donated to a charity as part of our “Grace Gives Back” program.

Public Education Foundation of Marion County
1239 NW 4th St. Ocala, FL 34475
352.671.4167 |
Meghan Magamoll
Mission Statement: To financially and materially support Marion County Public Schools, its students, and teachers.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We are recruiting mentors for our Take Stock in Children program.
Signature Events: Xglosive Tennis for Take Stock in Children – November 8th, 2019 at the Fort King Tennis Center from 6:30–9:00 p.m. This is a fun family friendly glow in the dark tennis-themed event! For more information visit or call 352-671-4167.
Sneakers and Smores 5K Run and Walk – Saturday, January 18th at the Country Club of Ocala.
The Memorial Golf Tournament – Saturday and Sunday, January 18th and 19th at the Country Club of Ocala.
Moot Thomas Golf Scramble – Monday, January 20th at the Country Club of Ocala.
Event information at or call 352-671-4167.

R.A.M.A.L. Educational and Social Services, Inc.
1636 SW 31st Ave. Ocala, FL 34474
352.873.1319 |
Barbara J. Brooks, Ph.D.
Mission Statement: To provide information, training, and life coaching which will empower, inspire, and motivate individuals to improve their lives and the community in which they live.

St Johns Luthern School
1915 SE Lake Weir Ave Ocala Florida 34471
Mission Statement: Saints Alumni & Friends come together to foster continued excellence in academics, athletics, social, and spiritual growth, and Christian Service as exemplified in the founding and continuing mission of St. John Lutheran School.


Howard T Odum Florida
Springs Institute
23695 US-27, High Springs, FL 32643


Tessa Skiles, Outreach director
Mission Statement: The mission of the Florida Springs Institute is to provide a focal point for improving the understanding of springs ecology and to foster the development of science-based education and management actions needed to restore and protect springs throughout Florida.
Silver Springs Alliance, Inc.
550B Midway Drive, Ocala, FL 34472
John Dunn, vice president
Mission Statement: Silver Springs Alliance’s focus is on restoration and prevention of the further deterioration of the Silver Springs ecosystem.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Our current project is to help restore the natural functioning of Silver Springs and the Silver River by removal of the Kirkpatrick Dam.


Florida Thoroughbred
Charities, Inc.
801 S. W. 60th Ave., Ocala, FL 34474
352.629.2160 |
Lonny Powell |
Mission Statement: Florida Thoroughbred Charities is administered by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association with the mission to fund charitable organizations within the Thoroughbred industry, the City of Ocala, Marion County, and the State of Florida.

Horse Farms Forever
P.O. Box 5279, Ocala, FL 34478-5279
859.553.5510 |
Sara Fennessy, director of
community affairs
Mission: To inspire the conservation of horse farms through education and awareness so as to preserve natural pasture land focusing on horses and their habitats, and to protect the soil and water on which they depend, while minimizing land use conflicts in Marion County.

Horse Protection Association
of Florida
20690 NW 130th Ave., Micanopy,
FL 32667
352.466.4366 |
John Sturm |
Mission Statement: Equine rescue, rehabilitation, education and adoption services. Assistance to law enforcement and animal agencies with cruelty investigations and the care and placement of horses. Promote horse care and humane, natural methods of training for horses.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Acquire a farm that is suitable for Horse Protection programs (rescue, training, adoption, sanctuary). Increase donations to $500.000 annually in order to help a greater number of horses in need in Marion County and to be able to accept horses at Marion County Animal Services needing placement.

Marion Therapeutic Riding Association (MTRA)
6850 SE 41st Court, Ocala, FL 34480
352.732.7300 |
Pam Morrison
Mission Statement: MTRA strives to offer the miraculous benefits of therapeutic horseback riding and equine facilitated learning to persons of all ages and capabilities that are physically, mentally, or emotionally challenged.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: To increase funding for the growing veterans program, Freedom Reins, and the Equine Experience program for foster children and at-risk youth.
Upcoming Events:
November 30th: Holiday Market and Antique Cars show
January 19th: Florida Mini Match
February 24th: Fourth annual Golf Tournament
March 1st: HITS Family Fun Day
March 21st: Poker Run


Crossroads Alliance and Ministries
P.O. Box 1000, Silver Springs, FL 34480
352.209.8777 |
Darlene Kelly
Mission Statement: Crossroads Alliance and Ministries is changing lives through compassion for people in need.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: CAM Honduras: CAM’s investment in this life-changing ministry involves developing campuses where a church, school, agriculture center, and trade and Bible school help those in the community rise out of their cycle of poverty. CAM is hopefully securing a school bus, or two, and will have this ministry in self-sustaining status by the end of 2019.

Faithfully Guided
Health Center
40 SW First Ave.,
Ocala, FL, 34471
Ashlee Seek
Mission Statement: Our mission is to provide faith-based, lifestyle health care.

FLIP FLOP Support Groups, Inc.
1629 NW Fourth St., Ocala, FL 34475
352.361.1206 |
Jacalyn Brown
Mission Statement: Facilitating the success of families with loved ones in prison, families with loved ones out of prison, utilizing tools to show them that their challenge is unique but not uncommon and can be conquered through networking, self-improvement, and support in a spiritually-based setting.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We are currently working towards a partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Marion County to identify, assess, and provide aid for children of incarcerated individuals.

Frank DeLuca YMCA
Family Center
3200 SE 17th St., Ocala, FL 34471
Kelli Garcia |
Mission Statement: Our mission at the Frank DeLuca YMCA is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build health, spirit, mind, and body for all.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We believe everyone deserves the YMCA. That’s why we offer financial assistance to individuals and families. In 2019, our goal is to raise $500,000 so that we can continue to support our neighbors in need.

Harvest International, Inc.
3711 NE 42nd Lane, Ocala, FL 34479
352.622.1818 |
Pam Barrett
Mission Statement: Physically and spiritually touching lives.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We would like to have 1,000 Buckets of Love ready for the 2019 Hurricane season.

Interfaith Emergency Services, Inc.
435 NW Second St., Ocala FL 34475
352.629.8868 |
Sonya Tyler |
Mission Statement: Interfaith Emergency Services is a community of faith, called by God to offer emergency assistance without judgment to all persons in Marion County.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: To double the number of people receiving free medical, dental, and mental health services while we continue to provide for those who struggle to have their basic needs.

Love INC of the Heart of Florida
15797 S. US Highway 441, Summerfield, FL 34491
Barbara Briggs
Mission Statement: To mobilize local churches to transform lives and communities in the name of Christ.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Expanding our mission of improving the overall health status of Marion County residents by providing quality primary medical, dental, behavioral, maternity, and pharmacy services to all residents, but in particular to those residents who would not otherwise be able to access the services due to financial limitations and/or lack of health insurance.
Soon we will be moving many of our services to our new building providing the ability to see more patients as well as a one of a kind “One-Stop” Medical Home for patients.

My Life Counsel
24 NE 14th Ave., Ocala, Fl. 34470
Scott Inman, M.A., founder and
executive director
Mission Statement: Our mission is to renew faith, hope, and intentionality in individuals, marriages and families.

Pay It Forward Outreach Corp
2203 SE 28 Place, Ocala, FL 34471


Rev. William Bender, president
Mission Statement: To empower the family unit through educational growth and emotional support so the family will gain stability and self-worth through the Gospel.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Our goal this year is to obtain a larger facility, around 10,000 square-feet. With 3,000 square-foot for conference and media rooms, we can expand our educational health and financial teaching programs. We believe education is the next step to freedom and breaking the generational assistance given through the government. Sustainable living not only through a sustainable and secure home but also through education.

Redeemer Christian School
155 SW 87th Place, Ocala, FL 34476
Lisa Villella, office manager
Mission Statement: Our mission is to serve students through a rigorous, biblically integrated program of instruction, educating them to live in a community with grace and excellence.

Unlimited Discipleship Ministries, Inc.
4560 SE 120th St., Belleview, FL 34420
352.427.8607 |
Mike and Wendy Behar
Mission: Our mission is to assist men and women in the preparation, restoration, and growth in their marriage.

Wear Gloves, Inc.
1469 N. Magnolia Avenue, Unit B, Ocala, FL 34475
352.342.5487 |
Ken Kebrdle |
Mission Statement: Serve those that God puts in our path, teach others to love like Jesus, and advocate for the most distressed in our community.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We would like to open a bakery and be able to employ those in need to earn what they need.

Family and Community Services

911 Cell Phone Bank
626 S. Pine Ave., Ocala, FL 34471
Bob Mikler
Mission Statement: Since 2004, the 911 Cell Phone Bank has provided more than 100,000 devices to vulnerable and needy residents in communities nationwide — all at no cost. Over the years we have given emergency cell phones to victims of abuse and senior citizens, tablets to women’s shelters, laptops to law enforcement and smartphones to teachers for use in high school app development courses.

Altrusa International Foundation of Ocala
P.O. Box 4228, Ocala, FL 34478
Colleen M. Duris, president
Mission Statement: Altrusa International strives to improve our community by providing services, developing leadership, fostering international understanding and encouraging fellowship through a network of dedicated volunteers.
2020 Signature event: Altrusa Trivia Night on March 7, 2020.

Creative Services, Inc.
1910 S. Pine Ave., Ocala, FL 34471
352.355.2928 |
Chris Azar |
Mission Statement: Creative Services Inc. aids, comforts, and empowers victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Creative Services, Inc. strives to meet the needs of those Marion County residents seeking safe and secure emergency shelter, as well as continuing to aid, comfort, and empower survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault along their personal journey of healing and recovery through counseling and advocacy. Creative Services, Inc. is honored to serve our community by continually expanding the capacity of our certified Domestic Violence Shelter, and providing survivors with advocates.

The Genesis 7 Project
Robert & Xochi Smith
Mission Statement: To awaken the potential, purpose and promise of today’s youth through community and spreading love.
Goal and Objective: Many of today’s youth are living unsupervised, in shelters, on the streets or with parents/guardians in crisis. The Genesis 7 Project is a faith based, 501(c)(3) that enables the community, churches, and local businesses to share Christ’s love to these children, teens, and families in our community. Our program collaborates with parents, schools, churches and community leaders to thoroughly support today’s youth and together help provide greater opportunities for them.
Signature Events: Christmas Community celebration “The Gift”.
College Tour Fundraiser.
Graduate Celebration.
“The Center” Summer block party.
“Stock The Rock.”

Help Agency in the Forest
16890 E Highway 40 Silver Springs, FL 34488
(352) 625-1900
Mission Statement: Providing
assistance to those in need in the Marion County area.

Ignite Community Counseling & Resource Center
3561 S. Pine Ave., Ocala, Florida
Mission: Mental health organization offering mental health services for trauma, addiction, anxiety, depression, spiritual issues and much more. We specialize in igniting hope and empowering lives.

Kiwanis Foundation-
Ocala Chapter
PO BOX 682, Ocala, FL 34478
Nick Navetta
Mission Statement: The Kiwanis Club of Ocala is dedicated to serving the local community, especially children, through various service and fundraising projects. Our club has been in service to Ocala and the surrounding area for more than 90 years. We are part of KIWANIS INTERNATIONAL, an International organization serving local communities for over 100 years.

Law Enforcement Agasint Destructive Decisions
Lynn Nicely | 904-826-7288
Mission Statement: To save the lives of our young people from distracted driving.

Ocala On Top of the World
Lions Club
P.O. Box 772733, Ocala, FL 34474
Estelle Michaelson
Mission Statement: To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace, and promote international understanding through Lions Clubs.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Establish Lions Quest, a social and emotional learning process in at least one school or other early learning center in Marion County.

Unity Family Community
Center, Inc.
20030 NE 23rd PL, Williston, FL 32696
352.529.2030 |
Keila Legall |
Mission Statement: To improve the quality of life of families and individuals by providing services and opportunities designed to create a culture of C.A.R.E.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Our goal for 2019–2020 is to implement an after-school program (S.W.A.G. 2.0) at no cost in Marion County. Also, to increase our capacity, UFCC is developing a capital campaign to construct an administration building with an estimated cost of $250,000.
United Way of Marion County
1401 NE 2nd St., Ocala FL 34470
352.732.9696 |
Scot Quintel |
Mission Statement: Uniting local resources to help our neighbors.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: United Way of Marion County and its partners are working to build a prosperous community by focusing our efforts on three key goals by 2022: First, increase the early childhood literacy rate by 10 percent. Second, help an additional 600 individuals achieve financial stability. Third, provide permanent housing for 375 individuals.
Signature Event:2020 Community Care Gala on January 30, 2020 at On Top of the World, Circle Square Commons. Join United Way “Under The Big Top” for an unforgettable evening of entertainment, upscale American fare, and sideshow acts that will amaze and astound! It’s the greatest show in Marion County! Proceeds will support United Way’s Community Care Fund. Tickets are $100. For more details visit

Xtreme SOULutions
P.O. Box 5487, Ocala, FL 34478
352.694.4888 |
Shirley Beattie
Mission: We empower people to create a future for themselves and their children, building a strong community with moral values, financial stability, and hope for generations to come. We are committed to partnerships that will lead the way in successfully building up those who are prepared to do their part in positive growth and development and to help break the cycle of government welfare assistance and poverty.


Believe in Santa Foundation, Inc.
11150 N. Williams St., Suite 108, Dunnellon, FL 34432
561.509.5776 Ext. 1225
Keith Carson
Mission Statement: The Believe in Santa Foundation is a public service all-volunteer organization focused on improving life. Without any expectation of compensation, the foundation is dedicated to serving all children in need. We put people before profits, regardless of race, creed, color, or sexual orientation.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We are in the planning stages of building a North Pole in this area to serve special needs, terminally ill, and other children in need. It will be open year-round.

College of Central Florida Foundation, Inc.
3001 SW College Road, Ocala, FL 34474
Dawn Gonsalves |
Mission Statement: The College of Central Florida Foundation’s mission is to identify, solicit, and acquire restricted and unrestricted resources to support the college in providing educational services to Citrus, Levy, and Marion Counties.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: “Reaching Higher” Campaign—This is a $20 million comprehensive campaign to raise resources for: Health Sciences, scholarships, Appleton Museum of Art, and Agri-business and Equine programs at CF.

Community Foundation for Ocala Marion County
324 SE 24th St. Ocala, FL 34471
Lauren Deiorio
Mission Statement: Connecting the charitable interests of the donor to build a better community.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: The Community Foundation is working towards the establishment of a Nonprofit Resource Center.

Marion County Sheriff’s Office Foundation
P.O. Box 1987, Ocala FL 34478
Gary Skogsbergh Sr., president
Mission Statement: We pledge to serve as a nonprofit organization for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office by engaging in fundraising activities to support community programs, the Sheriff’s Office budget, and volunteer functions.

Ocala Lions Club Charities Foundation
P.O. Box 801, Ocala, FL 34476
352.854.6715 |
Audrey Hall
Mission Statement: The Ocala Lions Club is a collegial, congenial group, dedicated to the proposition that collectively we can do more than we can as individuals. Our focus is on the preservation and enhancement of sight and hearing.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Our goal is to be able to expand our outreach and provide services to even more people in need.
Signature Event: The Ocala Lions Club Jerry Cullison Memorial Golf Tournament, which is played at Ocala Golf Club on the first Saturday of December every year, which is December 7th this year. This will be our 26th annual tournament. It is limited to 31 foursomes because we have hole-in-one prizes on every par 3, which include a car, a boat, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, and $10,000. We provide coffee and doughnuts, drinks and lunch, and have door prizes including a big screen TV.

Ocala Rotary Foundation, Inc
P.O. Box 104., Ocala FL 34478
352.732.7080 |
Jonathan Dean
Mission Statement: To receive and administer funds for scientific, education, and charitable purposes.

QuitDoc Foundation
807 B SW Third Ave., Ocala, FL 34471
352.359.5383 |
Barry Hummel |
Mission Statement: To improve overall community health and wellness by reducing the number of deaths in the United States from tobacco addiction and curtailing tobacco use within youth and adult populations through research, education, and prevention.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We are currently working on a youth online cessation support video series on tobacco health and tobacco-free policies for county parks.

Homelessness /Poverty

Brother’s Keeper (Blessed Trinity Catholic Church)
320 NW 10th St., Ocala 34475
Office 352.622.3846
Thrift Store 352.732.7988
Soup Kitchen 352.789.8139
Jason Halstead |
Mission Statement: Brother’s Keeper, in cooperation with the pastor of Blessed Trinity Catholic Church and community agencies, is committed to assist the poor and needy of Marion County and other areas without regard to race, creed, or ethnic origin.

Deliverance Outreach Ministries
821 NE 36th Terrace, Suite 10,
Ocala, FL 34470
352.209.8777 |
Felicia Miller |
Mission Statement: Our mission is to help people with their needs and conduct humanitarian outreach.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: To continue to help as many non-insured and homeless citizens as possible.

Habitat for Humanity of Marion County, Inc.
P.O. Box 5578, Ocala, FL 34478
352.351.4663 |
Tori Arens |
Mission Statement: Putting God’s love into action in Marion County by strengthening communities, building hope, and providing dignified housing solutions through partnership and empowerment.
Signature Events: Seventh Annual Habitat Ocala Strawberry Festival on March 7th, 2020. Featuring live music, food and drinks, vendors, pet contest, car show, pie eating, kid zones and strawberries! Event details: Also, the Fourth Annual Strawberry Jam 5K, winding through beautiful Ocala neighborhoods. Details: Then don’t miss Hookin’ for Habitat Fishing Tournament on March 14th, 2020. For more information:

Helping Hands Foundation, Inc.
101 NE 16th Avenue
Ocala, FL 34470
(352) 732-4464
Mission: Helping Hands is a nonprofit charity, serving the people of Ocala/Marion County. It was established to provide shelter and related assistance for the homeless, and others who are in difficult situations. Besides shelter, we assist our residents with jobs, food, clothes, medical, dental, transportation, counseling, Bible study and fellowship, and other needed services.

Marion County Homeless Council, Inc.
108 N. Magnolia Ave., Suite 202,
Ocala, FL 34475
352.732.1369 |
Angela Juaristic |
Mission Statement: Eliminate homelessness in Marion County by providing housing assistance while serving as the Continuum of Care (CoC) lead agency.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: In 2019–2020, we hope to increase the number of families that remain housed through prevention. We welcome donations including monetary (which is used to pay for items not covered by grants such as baby formula, work boots, uniforms, bus passes to work, and basic necessities) as well as donations of sunscreen, hats, mosquito repellant, rain ponchos, zip lock baggies or pencil cases to product documents and small hygiene products. Every item donated is distributed to homeless individuals and families encountered and needing protection from the Florida elements.

Ocala Housing Authority
1629 NW Fourth St., Ocala FL 34478
352.369.2636 |
James Haynes
Mission Statement: The Ocala Housing Authority is committed to providing and expanding safe, decent, and sanitary housing in the most efficient manner, to the residents of Marion county; to provide economic opportunities and housing free from illegal discrimination; and to build better neighborhoods by providing comprehensive opportunities for our residents through partnerships and networking within our community.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We are working towards increasing our rental housing stock and expanding homeownership opportunities for low-income families.

Project Hope of Marion County
830 NE 28 St., Ocala FL 34470
Mike Amsden
Mission Statement: Our mission is to support homeless families in Marion County progress out of homelessness by providing transitional housing as well as programs that encourage self-sufficiency.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Expansion of units available for transitional housing.

Open Arms Village, Inc.
1839 NE Eight Road, Ocala, Fl. 34470
Michael Patrick Smith
Mission Statement: Open Arms Village exists to create a safe and healthy residential community that treats homeless men with dignity. We provide a full array of programs and services that men can use to move themselves towards independence.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: With our continuing success, we are working to create a greater community awareness! Many of our men are available to speak with your church, club, or civic organization. The stories are amazing and will certainly encourage needed growth of our donor base.

The Salvation Army
Marion County
2901 NE 14th St Ocala Florida 34470
Mission Statement: The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
Saving Mercy
3601 W. Silver Springs Blvd.,
Ocala, FL, 34475
352.629.6902 |
Mark Lindsay |
Mission Statement: We are hope and help for the homeless in Marion County.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: The Mercy Inn & RV Park will be working to develop and provide affordable housing options, case management, and wraparound support services for the homeless at our newly acquired property at 3601 West Silver Springs Blvd (formerly the Motor Inns & RV Park).


Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC)
15 SE Osceola Ave., Ocala, FL 34471
Laurie Zink |
Mission Statement: The Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) pioneers technologies aimed at leveraging and extending human capabilities. IHMC faculty and staff collaborate extensively with industry and government to develop science and technology that can be enabled with respect to society’s broader goals.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Continuing to offer our evening lecture series to the community at large and to expand our Science Saturday and Robotics Camp scholarship programs.

Public Policy Institute of Marion County, Inc.
The Enterprise Center, 3001 SW College Rd, Suite 202, Ocala, FL 34474
352.854.2322 ext. 1457
Toni James |
Mission Statement: To give the community a sense of hope and optimism by creating a broad base of community involvement in identifying, researching, and establishing dialogue on community-wide issues and then in recommending and helping to implement timely solutions.
Goal/objective 2020: The goal for 2020 is to run a study on all the issues related to healthy children — physical, mental, social, and educational.


Early Learning Coalition of Marion County
2300 SW 17th Rd Ocala, FL 34471
352.369.2315 |
Elizabeth Denola
Mission Statement: To provide leadership and foster partnerships to optimize a quality early-learning environment for our children through childcare, Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK), and parent education.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: In the fiscal year 2019–2020, the Coalition team will be implementing the Help Me Grow program in Marion County. This program helps to identify children in need of developmental, behavioral, or learning support, and connects them with community-based services at no cost. Services include screenings, information, resources and materials, referrals, and family networking opportunities. Two key partners are United Way’s 2-1-1 and Healthy Start of North Central Florida.

Friends of the Forest Public Library, Inc.
905 S. Hwy, County Road 314 A,
Ocklawaha, FL 32179
David Freudenburg
Mission Statement: The ongoing purpose of the Friends of the Forest Public Library to promote and develop the Forest Public Library facilities in Forest Corners and Marion County by enhancing community awareness, understanding, and use of the library in cooperation with the Library Board and the Library Director through supplemental financial assistance and direct voluntary support.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Promoting new members for bringing fresh ideas and talents, with hands-on abilities to continue to support the Forest community and library.

Friends of Freedom Public Library, Inc.
5870 SW 95th St., Ocala, FL 34476
352.438.2580 | Susan Sullivan
Mission Statement: To cooperate with and support the Freedom Public Library in the development and promotion of library services, resources, and facilities for the community and to encourage and receive gifts, endowments, and bequests to the library to provide supplemental financial assistance.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Creating awareness of the Freedom Friends’ work across the library’s service area.

Friends of the Marion Oaks Public Library, Inc. (FOTMOPL)
294 Marion Oaks Lane, Ocala, FL 34473
Irma McNeal, vice president
Mission Statement: The mission of the FOTMOPL is to promote the perpetual existence of the library by supporting it and cooperating in the development of services, resources, and facilities of the community.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Completion of library refurbishing and continued support of library in all its functions.

Friends of the Ocala
Public Library
2720 E. Silver Springs Blvd.,
Ocala, FL 34470
Bridget Kiefer, vice president
Mission Statement: To promote and develop the public library in Ocala by enhancing community awareness, understanding, and use of the library in cooperation with the library director through supplemental financial assistance and voluntary support.

Marion County Literacy Council
120 SW Fifth St., Ocala, FL 34471
352.690.7323 |
Yamila Acosta
Mission Statement: All adult citizens of Marion County should have a resource available to help them improve their literacy skills.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We are working towards more community partnerships to offer our programs to more potential students as well as growing our correctional institution programs, public school programs, and working with probation and parole.

The Friends of the Fort McCoy Public Library
14660 NE Highway 315, Fort McCoy, FL 32134 | 352.438.2560
Mary L. Thomas
Mission Statement: This corporation was formed for the advancement of education by distributing its funds for the promotion and development of the public library facilities in the city of Fort McCoy, Florida, as well as to encourage the use of such facilities.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We hope to secure grant funds to renovate our auditorium. (Our building was once used as a school.) If successful, we will have state-of-the-art equipment for presentations, which will make the library a much-needed venue for local clubs and classes.
Event: This past year the Friends of the Fort McCoy Library received a $7000 grant from Clay Electric and we purchased a wireless projector and large screen so community organizations will be able to use the library for meetings and presentations. We’re hosting a Community Celebration and Block Party at the library on November 2 from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. There will be free food, fun for kids, lots of organizations with information, and door prizes.


Friends of the Christmas Parade
5184 SE 20th St., Ocala, FL 34480
William Taylor
Mission Statement: To support the
Ocala Christmas Parade tradition for over 60 years.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We are working each year to make the event more enjoyable for the community.

Ocala Main Street
405 SE Osceola Ave. Ocala, Fl 34471


Jessica Marr, executive director
Mission: To create a thriving, unique, and livable downtown that enriches the community, embraces history, celebrates the arts, and promotes quality events to instill a sense of place in our community.

Health and Medicine

American Heart Association
1202 SW 17th St., #201-167,
Ocala, FL 34471
Kristina Donohue, regional director of Marion County
Mission: To be a relentless force for longer, healthier lives.
Signature Event: Marion County Heart Walk on September 2020.
Go Red for Women on March 5, 2020 at Circle Square Cultural Center.

Cancer Alliance
2020 SE 17th St. Ocala, FL 34471
Linda Koontz, director
Mission: Founded by H.U.G.S. Charities because Marion County needed a collective cancer care community that could collaborate, communicate, and educate together for the greatest impact.

Community Cancer Education, Inc., DBA 21st Century C.A.R.E.
2234 Colonial Blvd.,
Fort Myers, FL 33907
Liz Luna |
Mission Statement: Provide cancer education at the community level to patients, cancer care providers, and the general public; support cancer research and provide financial assistance to cancer patients in need.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We are planning a skin cancer screening in the coming year and are partnering with local retailers nationally to raise funds.

Estella Byrd Whitman Wellness & Community Resource Center
819 NW Seventh St. Ocala, FL 34475
Pamela Lewin, M.D.
Mission Statement: To provide accessible preventative primary care, medical, and dental services to the underserved and uninsured residents of Tucker Hill in the 34475 postal area, without regard to age, race, gender identity, disability, religion, or ability to pay.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We would like to become accredited to see medical, dental, and mental health patients in our facility.

Heart of Florida Health Center
203 E. Silver Springs Blvd., #101,
Ocala, FL 34470
352.877.7142 |
Heather James
Mission Statement: Our mission is to improve the overall health status of Marion County residents by providing quality primary medical, dental, and mental health services to all residents. In particular, to those residents who have financial and insurance limitations.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Expanding our mission of improving the overall health status of Marion County residents by providing quality primary medical, dental, behavioral, maternity, and pharmacy services to all residents, but in particular to those residents who would not otherwise be able to access the services due to financial limitations and/or lack of health insurance. Soon we will be moving many of our services to our new building providing the ability to see more patients as well as a one of a kind “One-Stop” Medical Home for patients.

H.U.G.S. Charities
P.O. Box 34, Ocala, FL 34478
Rhoda Walkup |
Mission Statement: The H.U.G.S. organization encourages heartfelt unconditional giving to benefit cancer patients and the fight against cancer through the creation and support of its community cancer alliance.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We hope to continue helping meet the non-medical needs of those facing cancer in Marion County and equipping them to get to treatment, nourishment, and shelter.
Signature Event: A silent auction on March 26, 2020 honoring the late David Tuck. Tickets and donations can be made at

March of Dimes
P.O. Box 3153, Harlan, IA 51593-0344
Tammy Dygert, executive director
Mission Statement: March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies.
Signature Event: Our 2020 Marion County March for Babies walk event is Saturday, April 25 at the Baseline Trailhead. This year marks the 50th anniversary of our walk events (and the 82nd anniversary of March of Dimes as an organization).

21765 SW 106 Lane Road, Dunnellon, FL 34431
352.469.6006 |
Justin Lamb, Advanced Imaging
Ocala Health
Mission Statement: The Michelle-O-Gram exists to provide breast imaging services for the uninsured and underinsured women and men in our community. We are celebrating our 10th Anniversary and are proud to have served nearly 1500 individuals, both women and men. Men do get breast cancer. The healthcare situation continues to change, referrals come to the Michelle-O-Gram via physician offices, free clinics, Heart of FL, American Cancer Society, Marion County Health Department as well as self referrals.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We hope to increase exposure in the community — after seven years we continually learn of those who have never heard of the Michelle-O-Gram.

AdventHealth Auxiliary, Inc.
1500 SW First Ave. Ocala, Florida
John Christman, auxiliary president
Jennifer Poole Wood, director
Mission Statement: As a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) service organization, the AdventHealth Auxiliary, Inc. is committed to supporting good health in our community. We actively sponsor programs and services which enhance the lives of our community residents in their homes and in the hospital. Utilizing the skills and dedication of volunteers and staff, the Healthy Home program provides the elderly patient after a hospital discharge, non-clinical services such as food, well-check telephone calls, transportation to their doctor and safe home modifications. These social determinants of health, when met, assist in providing for a healing home environment for our elderly neighbors. All services are provided free of charge. The revenue from the AdventHealth Hospital Gift Shop funds this nationally recognized volunteer program.

NAMI Marion County, Inc.
P.O. Box 5753, Ocala, FL 34478-5753
352.368.2405 |
Diana Williams |
Mission Statement: Educate, support, and advocate for people diagnosed with mental illness and their family and friends.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: NAMI Marion County will be initiating mental wellness screenings in outlying areas of Marion County to enable people to identify if they have a problem; we will also provide telehealth counseling for those people via Meridian Behavioral Health Services. In addition, NAMI Marion County is working with the Marion County Mental Wellness Coalition to develop a plan to have a clubhouse-type of walk-in center for referred people with mental illness.

Ocala Royal Dames for Cancer Research, Inc.
P.O. Box 6163, Ocala, FL 34478
Joan Audette
Mission Statement: To ensure strong local and regional effort in the fight against cancer through funding research and education.

Three Angels Clinic
4817 NE Second Loop, Bldg. B, Ocala FL, 34470 | 352.509.6350
Dr. Kevin Barret, executive director/trustee
Mission: A private, independent, faith-based clinic priding itself on having a wonderful selection of experienced and caring medical professionals and volunteers dedicated to serving the sick in our community.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: For 2019–2020, we hope to increase community ownership through individual financial support and donations, increase the number of Marion County and Ocala residents served who have no medical provider or are uninsured, and obtain at least one hospital support for select patients to get labs, diagnostics, and pharmacy services.

Senior Care

Hawthorne Village Retirement Community
4100 SW 33rd Ave Ocala FL 34474
Mission Statement: Providing state-of-the-art treatment with the benefits of a not-for-profit provider. Our priority is to ensure every resident is treated with respect, love, and the best possible
care available.

Hospice of Marion County
3231 SW 34th Ave., Ocala, FL 34474
Cindy Moody
Mission Statement: We provide exceptional compassionate end-of-life care to our community.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Memorial Park for our Estelle’s and Monarch Center Campus: Set in the serene setting between Estelle’s House and the Monarch Center for Hope and Healing, the Memorial Park offers peaceful respite for meditation, remembrance, and celebration. This campus has recently been named the Helen “Mimi” Walker Campus. Our landscaped park features red brick paving stones and a granite memorial wall. Both may be engraved in memory or in honor of a loved one. The Veterans Circle of Honor is a tribute to either living or departed veterans who have served our great country. A brick paving stone may be engraved with an honoree’s name, branch of service, and dates of service. There are also five individual Branch of Service Monuments available for a name and military rank to be engraved.
Signature Events: November is Hospice Month—Join us for two veterans events: Nov. 1 we’re hosting nationally known author and nurse Deborah Grassman who’ll give a presentation in the Elliott Center from 8:30–10:00 a.m.; she’ll share her unique experiences caring for veterans over her 30-year career with the Department of Veterans Affairs. On Nov. 16, at the Memorial Park, from 10:00–11:30 a.m., Hospice of Marion County will hold a Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans ceremony with local dignitaries, high school choir, and color guard in attendance. All events are open to the public at no charge.

Marion Senior Services
1101 SW 20th Court,
Ocala, FL 34471
Cassandra Jackson
Mission Statement: Assisting the elderly, disabled, and disadvantaged residents of Marion County to maintain independent living status.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Gaining additional financial and volunteer support for In-Home Support services. We have over 800 seniors requesting additional support with their daily living activities and if we could address their needs, we could avoid those seniors becoming at risk for further health issues.


Special Olympics
Florida, Inc.
2800 S.E. Maricamp Road, Building #2, Ocala, FL 34471 | 352.988.7998
Sandy Hopkins, sports director of Marion County
Mission Statement: The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities for physical fitness.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: For 2019, our goal is to integrate health initiatives into schools, increase healthy athletes’ programs and see a wider influence within Marion County and the rest of Florida. We also have a newly added Young Athletes program for kids between the ages of two and seven.


Ocala Blue Star Mothers
8470A SW 92nd Lane, Ocala, FL 34481
Tina Shumway
Mission Statement: Our mission is to support our active duty military, our veterans, and the families of the fallen.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Provide items for veterans who receive services through the Gainesville VA Hospital in the form of new clothes and shoes as well as flip flops and other items requested by the hospital to help veterans who are going into transitional housing, i.e., dishes.

Veterans Helping Veterans
USA., Inc.
2730 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Suite 200, Ocala, FL 34470
352.433.2320 |
Hank Whittier
Mission Statement: To assist veterans and their families who need social services and information to improve their lives and to assist them in maintaining their independence.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Training and employment for veterans.

Women’s Charities

GFWC Woman’s Club of Ocala, Inc.
P.O. Box 4444, Ocala, FL 34478
Sonia Palmer, president
Mission Statement: Working together to strengthen our community and enhance the lives of others through community service.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Our goals for the coming year are two-fold: increase membership and fundraising. These would enable our club members to volunteer in more areas of need in the county and also to have more funds available for schools and other charitable organizations.

Our Hearts Align
179 NE 51st St., Ocala, FL 34479
Kara Mangum
Mission Statement: To provide physical and emotional comfort to moms, and their family, during and after a pregnancy loss. We provide this support through physical resources, personal support, prayer, and love.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: In the next year, we would like to develop additional resources to support the entire family unit during the loss of a baby. We want to not only support the mom but the father and siblings as well. We hope to do this by developing new books, print and digital resources, and community events.

PACE Center for Girls
328 NE First Ave., Suite 500,
Ocala, FL 34470 | 352.369.0571
Kim Vollmer Smith
Mission Statement: PACE provides all girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training, and advocacy.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Looking to procure the facility we are currently leasing.

Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.)
9145 SW 70th Loop, Ocala, FL 34481
Christy Cathcart
Mission Statement: P.E.O. is a philanthropic organization where women celebrate the advancement of women; educate women through scholarships, grants, loans and stewardship of Cottey College; and motivate each other to achieve their highest aspirations.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We continually raise money to support all of our funds that support women’s educational goals.

Women Veterans In Crisis (WVIC)
2730 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Suite 200-6, Ocala, Florida 34470
352.533.2789 |
Mitchell Coulton, executive director
Mission Statement: First in the nation to expand community-based resources to provide comprehensive mental health and social services to women veterans and their children, doing so with compassion, respect, excellence and integrity.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: WVIC’s current project is the establishment of a facility with 120 apartment-style rooms together with 100 transitional and permanent supported housing cabins (1- and 2-bedroom homes) on a 111-acre campus. On-site capacity will be roughly 180 women and 40 dependent children. The treatment campus is designed to mirror an Ocala horse farm. This approach reflects the movement away from institutional-looking facilities and takes advantage of Ocala’s beautiful rolling hills and pleasant climate. We are currently working with congress to provide legislation which will bring this project to fruition. To donate to this cause, please visit our website at


Arnette House, Inc.
2310 NE 24th St., Ocala, FL 34470
352.622.4432 |
JP Leard |
Mission Statement: To provide safe and effective programs to strengthen youth and families.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We are currently working on building the Sara Arnette Aquatic Center. We have completed stage one and are looking forward to starting stage two.

The Boys & Girls Club of
Marion County
800 SW 12th Ave., Ocala, FL 34471
352.690.7545 |
Aaron McGlon
Mission Statement: To enable all young people, especially those who need it the most, to become caring, productive, responsible citizens.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: World Class Club Experience. We want every young person to want to be a member of the club and every parent to want their kids to be members.

Children’s Home Society
of Florida
226 NE Sanchez Ave., Ocala, FL 34470
352.732.1412 |
Christy Gibbons, program director
Mission Statement: Building bridges to success for children.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Expansion of the Mid-Florida Community Counseling Program in Marion County to include tele-health services which will alleviate delay to services and provide the opportunity to serve more individuals.
Covenant Children’s Home
11350 N. Covenant Path, Dunnellon, FL 34434
352.489.2565 |
Debbie Davis
Mission Statement: Covenant Children’s Home exists to provide children a home where a Christ-centered environment promotes health, hope, healing, and a brighter future in the lives of children who need the care and support of a loving community.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We are in the process of breaking ground on our second home, with the goal of building a total of five homes on our 24-acre campus.

Episcopal Children’s Services
8443 Baymeadow Road, Suite 1, Jacksonville, FL 32256
904.726.1500 |
Debbie Moore
Mission Statement: Creating
opportunities for children to reach
their full potential.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Male Involvement Initiative — ECS is continuously striving to increase male involvement for our children through, not only our parents, but father figures and positive role models within our community. They are important influences on the school readiness of children and the well-being of families, overall. This initiative requires a lot of community involvement to be successful.

Florida Kids Helping Kids
3560 SE 137th Lane, Summerfield, FL 34491 | 352.347.0883
Gerri Gerthe |
Mission Statement: Kids Helping Kids, with the aid of adults, to become better citizens by teaching each other how to show compassion by helping other kids and our community in which we serve.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: We need volunteers for the Marion County Fair which will be April 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th located at the Marion Military Academy off of Baseline.

Francis Marion Military Academy, Inc.
5895 SE 83rd St., Ocala, FL 34472
Charles deMenzes
Mission Statement: Educate high school students in leadership, government,
and business.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Increase our student population
in college.

Hands of Mercy Everywhere
6017 SE Robinson Road,
Belleview, FL 34420
Diane V. Schofield
Mission Statement: To provide a Christian-based residential group home for teenage girls and pregnant or parenting teens in the foster care system.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Continued fundraising for the Grace House major remodel and the development of a vocational program for Independent Living Services and Training.

Junior Achievement (JA)
319 SE Broadway St., Ocala FL 34471
352.727.0178 |
Kristin Schreiner
Mission Statement: To inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: JA BizTown Mobile for 5th-grade students would combine in-class learning with a day-long visit to a simulated town. This popular program allows elementary school students to operate banks, manage restaurants, write checks, and vote for mayor. The program would help Marion County students connect the dots between what they learn in school and the real world.
Signature Event: The annual Celebrate Junior Achievement Breakfast – Impact the Future is an opportunity to learn about the work that Junior Achievement is doing in our own community, see and hear from some of the kids who have directly benefited from JA programs, and learn about our newest program, JA BizTown.

Kids Central, Inc.
901 Industrial Drive, Suite 200,
Wildwood, FL 34785
Debra Wise-Velez
Mission Statement: Protecting children, supporting families, and engaging communities.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Kids Central continuously works on keeping children from coming into the foster care system. Kids Central provides evidenced-based services to work in-home with parents who had a call to the child abuse hotline. These services assist in strengthening families and eliminating risks that brought them to the attention of the child abuse hotline.

Kimberly’s Center for
Child Protection
2800 NE 14th St., Ocala, FL 34471
Davis Dinkins
Mission Statement: Our community working together to protect, serve, and advocate for abused and neglected children.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Kimberly’s Center will work towards raising funds sustaining our new Trauma Intervention Program for its second year in 2019 — $87,000. In addition, we will move forward on planning stages for installing a playground on our property. Lastly, we will continue to educate the community on child abuse prevention and awareness.

Marion County
Children’s Alliance
3482 NW 10th St., Ocala, FL 34475
Monica Bryant
Mission Statement: To improve the lives of children in Marion County by providing resources that enable nonprofit organizations serving these children to operate more efficiently by providing safe and effective services of the highest quality.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: The Department of Children and Families verified 41 babies out of 154 that were exposed to substance abuse at birth. The Marion County Heroin and Opioid Task Force will be addressing this issue by collaborating with local, state, and regional agencies who serve pregnant moms and agencies that focus on family planning.

Marion County Junior Golf, Inc.
3130 E. Silver Springs Blvd.,
Ocala, FL 34470
Jason Lenhart
Mission Statement: We are organized to impact the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that provide character development, instill life-enhancing values, and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Continuing to provide a safe environment in which young people can excel in learning, experiencing life, and being involved in a sport that could result in educational advancements as they near the college time frame.

Project LIFT (Life Initiative For Teens) Dunnellon
20540 E. Pennsylvania Ave., D
unnellon, FL 34432
352.465.9009 |
Bob Zaccheo, founder and executive director
Mission Statement: Dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk teens and their families through substance abuse treatment, mental health counseling, mentoring, and vocational skills training.

Southeastern Youth Fair
2232 NE Jacksonville Road,
Ocala, FL 34470
352.629.1255 |
Sara LeFils, executive director
Mission Statement: To recognize the outstanding youth of Marion County through the Southeastern Youth Fair as a showcase for competition, exhibition, enhanced educational opportunities, and to promote self-esteem, personal growth, and development while aiding in the education of the Citizens of Marion County regarding the importance of agriculture and related industries in our area.
Signature event 2020: Southeastern Youth Fair 2020, February 21-29th.

The Pearl Project
625 NE 12th Ave., Ocala, FL 34470
Beth Willis
Joy Zedler, executive director
Mission Statement: To help children from hard places discover that they are precious.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: The Pearl Project’s goals are building a trauma informed community. We do this by working with foster, adoptive, and kinship families, as well as biological families. The Pearl Project has recently begun facilitating the study, “Making Sense of Your (Past) Worth” both in office, as well as in the Marion County Jail as part of the WEST program. We look forward to continuing this work in Lowell Correctional Facility. This is a great opportunity for anyone who needs to come to terms with previous hurt.
Signature Events: The Pearl Project hosts a caregiver training in Trust Based Relational Intervention each month on second Fridays at Ocala Police Department. These trainings are scheduled throughout 2020.
The Pearl Project hosts a twice monthly support group at the Frank DeLuca YMCA for foster, adoptive and kinship families. This group meets twice a month, on Sundays from 2–4, child care is provided.
Each spring, The Pearl Project hosts Empower to Connect Conference.

Voices for Children of North Central Florida, Inc.
P.O. Box 4062, Ocala, FL 34478-4062
352.484.0319 |
Sue Carpenter
Mission Statement: To support critical physical and psychological needs of children who have a Guardian ad Litem assigned to them. To support recruitment, training, and retention of volunteers who advocate for these children.
Goal and objective of 2019–2020: Expand the scope of our impact on the children who are in the judicial system and have a Guardian ad Litem appointed to their case; assist the Guardian ad Litem program in recruiting additional Guardian advocates; maintain our Normalcy program and increase our Christmas 4 Kids program.
Signature Event: Watch for our annual auction dinner in early summer, 2020.

Fabulous Fall

Story, Recipes, and Photography By RSVP Robin

Fall is the perfect time to focus on hearth and home. We can shift our focus away from outdoor activities and concentrate on fluffing our nests. It’s also a wonderful time to reflect on the past year and renew our sense of gratitude, restore our spiritual selves, and shed our souls of unnecessary debris. In other words, count our blessings!

In Florida, spring and summer tend to meld and become one long, hot season. Fall creeps in ever so slowly here. It begins with noticeably cooler morning and evening temperatures. All of a sudden we can wear long sleeves and sport jeans without melting. Our makeup stays fresh, and we relish the good hair days! We Floridians know how to look for the slow, subtle signs of the new season approaching.

In my years of planning events and weddings in Florida, the fall events were always the most enchanting. The obligatory floral centerpiece gives way for more creative elements. Birdcages, wrought iron, metal, heavier fabrics, rustic branches, and twigs can all come into play. Tabletop design and home décor are all about texture and layering. Warmer tones take over from their softer, paler cousins. Tawny browns, sage, and olive green, vibrant reds and oranges make a bold, yet cozy and comforting statement.

Our taste buds sense change in the air as well. Now is the time to indulge in heartier soups and stews, starchy root vegetables, and heavier protein choices. So dig out your fall décor, put on a pot of life-affirming soup, grab a soft throw, and make a mug of hot cocoa. However slow and subtle…it’s
fall, y’all!



Roasted Chicken

Prep it

1 whole 4-pound chicken

4 to 5 cloves whole garlic, peeled

1 Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped

olive oil

juice from 4 organic roasted lemons (cut lemons in half, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in 375°F oven for 20-25 minutes)

sea salt

freshly ground pepper

1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thickly sliced

approximately 8 baby potatoes, washed and sliced in half (optional)


Place chicken on a cutting board, breast side down. With a pair of kitchen shears cut down both sides of the backbone and remove.

You can discard the backbone or save it for stock. Spread the chicken on a flat surface and press firmly on breastbone to flatten it.

Rub It

Rub the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle it liberally with salt and pepper. Massage the butter, dill, and lemon into and under the skin. Pour the juice from 1 lemon over the top and sprinkle liberally with sea salt and pepper. You can put in the refrigerator and marinate this way for up to two hours. 

Roast It

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the fennel, potatoes and garlic in the bottom of a roasting pan and place the spatchcocked chicken flat on top of the veggies.

Roast chicken for 40 minutes. Baste the chicken with the pan juices (and/or chicken broth)  and return to the oven, rotating the pan to help with even browning. Roast for another 30 to 35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is browned and crispy.

Roasted Butternut Squash, Toasted Walnut and Fresh Fig Chutney


1 cup peeled and chopped butternut squash

1 cup chopped toasted walnuts

1/2 cup chopped fresh figs

1/4 Gorgonzola Cheese crumbles (optional)

2 tablespoons real maple syrup

1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Olive oil

Fresh cracked pepper and sea salt to taste


Place butternut squash on a small roasting pan lined with parchment paper, drizzle lightly with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.  Roast at 375°F for approximately 20 minutes until tender. Let cool.

Gently chop fresh figs into small ¼ inch pieces.

Toast walnuts in a small frying pan to release natural oils
(careful not to burn).

In a medium bowl, combine squash, walnuts, figs, and cheese. In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup and lemon juice. (add olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste) Drizzle mixture over squash mixture, tossing to combine. Cover and let stand for at least 20 minutes or up to 2 hours. Serve on baguette slices as a bruschetta appetizer or as an accompaniment to chicken or pork.

Creamy Polenta and Wild Mushroom Parfait


1 pound of assorted wild (if available) or
gourmet mushroom of your choice 
(Chantrelle, porchini, shitake)

1 tablespoon of unsalted pastured butter

1 tablespoon of olive oil

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs of your choice such as: thyme, rosemary, sage

One package of yellow corn grits or polenta (we recommend Bob’s Red Mill)

Freshly grated fontina cheese

1/4 cup of organic half and half

Sea salt and pepper to taste


Place butter and olive oil in a 12-inch frying pan and saute the mushrooms until soft and lightly brown.

Add herbs, salt, and pepper to taste.

Prepare the polenta as instructed

When a porridge consistency is achieved,
add half and half, cheese, salt, and pepper.
Stir to combine.

Layer the polenta and mushroom mixture in the vessel of your choice.  This can be made into individual servings (as pictured) or in a larger baking dish.

Keep warm until serving.

Healthy Yogurt Carrot Cake


2 large eggs

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/3 cup olive oil

2/3 cup maple syrup or honey

1/2 cup almond milk

1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tbsp cinnamon

3 tsp baking powder,
aluminum free

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups carrots, finely grated

1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

1/2 cup coconut flakes (optional)


In one large bowl, whisk the eggs for 10 seconds. Add yogurt, oil, maple syrup, milk and vanilla extract. Whisk well and set aside.

In another large bowl, add flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk well breaking any baking soda or powder lumps. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter or oil a 9×9 square or round baking dish and set aside. (If using walnuts and coconut do the following) Preheat large skillet on low heat, add walnuts and toast for a few minutes (until fragrant), stirring occasionally. Add coconut flakes and toast another minute, stirring frequently (careful not to burn).

Add dry ingredients to the bowl with wet, stir gently until combined (do not over mix).  Add carrots (and walnuts and coconut flakes, if using). Stir gently just enough to combine. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Top with your favorite whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


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