New Beginnings of Central Florida celebrated its 13TH annual Gala at the Clermont Arts Center with over 450 people attending. The 2023 Dancing Under the Stars Gala had eight community leaders showcasing their best dance moves to electrify the audience. The dancers sought online votes to help raise money for New Beginnings Village with 6 homes being built for homeless families.

Before the dancers took the stage, dinner was provided by Carrabba’s Italian Grill. A Candy Bar was provided by Eileen Scates Realty. Crumble Cookies & Nothing Bundt Cakes provided special desserts. Everyone came together to have fun and to generously support the need to house and provide local homeless families a path to self-sufficiency.

With dozens of big gift baskets and artwork provided by local businesses, the silent auction drew big results. The exciting Live Auction included lavish vacations to Los Cabos in Mexico; Tuscany, Italy; a ski resort in North Carolina and a Will Package provided by the Pamela J Helton Law Firm. With live music and entertainment, there were so many extra surprises, including a $100 Lottery Tree, everyone was excited

Gala Dance Competition: The dancing community leaders included Dr. Junita Benedict of Athena Pelvic Therapy; Banks Helfrich-State Representative Candidate; Pat Caracciolo, owner of Pat the Dog Pet Resort, Clermont Mayor Tim Murry, Groveland Mayor Evelyn Wilson, Shauna Vaughan of Precision Integrative Medicine; Heather Krukoski Case Manager at Woodwinds Apartments, and Wade Boyette of BCN Attorneys at Law. Not only were they in the dance competition they were also seeking votes from the community to win the People’s Choice Trophy. 

Jubilant congratulations and applause were shared all night with the New Beginnings dancers and alumni dancers, Congratulations to Wade Boyette and his dancing partner Salena, who won first place for both the People Choice Trophy and the Judges Mirror Ball Trophy. The competition was so strong, that there were a few ties by the judges.

People Choice Trophies awarded to:

  • First Place: Wade Boyette
  • Second Place: Heather Krukoski
  • Third Place: Dr. Juanita Benedict

Judges Trophies awarded to:

  • First Place: Wade Boyette Team
  • Second Place — Tie: Tim Murry Team
  • Second Place — Tie: Heather Krukoski Team
  • Third Place Tie: Pat Caracciolo Team
  • Third Place Tie: Shauna Vaughan Team

Former New Beginnings Gala Dance winners were this year’s Judges. They included David Helton of The Pamela J. Helton Law Firm, Gary Schindele of Paladin Health Care, Kalena Meyers of Montverde Academy and Kristin Jamieson of Jamieson Mortgage Team.

Extra entertainment was provided by previous winning alumni dancers that included Gary and Cynthia Schindele, Dr Chris Tran, and Denise Caldrone.

Internationally award-winning Alberto Hoyas of Life Dance Mastery coordinated the dance contest. Instructors included Eugee Parkhimovich, Anna Lukashova, William Proper, Selena Hoyas, James Bartlett, Jazmyn Durgin, and Valiant Ray.

New Beginnings Executive Director Steve Smith shared, “Linda and I are sincerely grateful for the Presenting Title Sponsor Harper Family Charitable Foundation, along with United Health Care, PNC Bank, Life Wealth Group, The City of Clermont, and others who sponsored this year’s gala. We appreciate the many companies who purchased the table sponsorships and the many volunteers. who participated.  With everyone coming together the Gala was a huge success. Many guests said it was a wonderful event.  Look forward to coming back next year. “

New Beginnings of Central Florida is dedicated to helping the homeless and less fortunate in central Florida to transform their lives through counseling, life, and computer skills with job training that leads to a sustainable wage job and an affordable home.

New Beginnings of Central Florida, is a 501-C3 non-profit faith-based ministry. They seek volunteers, donations, and community empower people to live a responsible life being self-sufficient.

For more information, call 352-404-6946 or visit their Thrift Store at 415 Citrus Tower Boulevard in Clermont, FL 34711. Visit: and follow them on Facebook at:

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