ENGLEWOOD — Kathleen Jarosik not only helped fight homelessness through a New Paradigm foundation fundraiser, she won a seven-day trip to Europe.

Jarosik’s name was picked out of the 275 participants who bought a $100 ticket for a trip for two to Ireland. The package included airfare, transfers, hotels, and most meals along with a guided tour from John Close. For 40 years, Close was a tour guide in Europe. Now he’s retired and lives here part of the year. He helped New Paradigm create the oversees fundraiser.

“It was the best $100 I’ve ever spent,” said Jarosik, who owns Xpertech Auto Repair in Englewood. “My brother Brian (Allen) has always taken me on vacation. We’ve been able to see lots of fun places. When I won this trip, I called him. I said, ‘We are going to Ireland.’”

Because of New Paradigm’s flexibility with the prize, Jarosik not only picked the month she wanted to travel, she paid to extend the trip three more days to include time in London. Close was their tour guide and driver. He made arraignments for stays in Galway and Jarlaith.

“He was so cool,” Jarosik said. “He knows his way around. He gave us so much insight and details. It made it really fun.”

During the 10 days, Jarosik and Allen stayed at the Salthill hotel in Galway, Ireland. They went to Kings Head, Cliffs of Noher Poulnabrone and Bunraty Castle, Westminster Abbey took selfies near London Bridge. They went to Hairy Lemon pub. They watched their first rugby match while Jarosik sampled different ciders including Kopparberg.

“I really like how there are so many ciders in Ireland,” she said. “The problem is you find a flavor you like and then return home and there’s nothing like it here.”

The pair toured the Hazel Mountain Chocolate in Galway. Jarosik said it was hard to explain how fun it was to see the chocolate being made because the great smell was wonderful.

“I really had an incredible time,” she said. “I’m a social person. I would at times leave my brother and wander around and talk to people. He’s real cautious. I’m outspoken. It was a really good time for both of us.”

Now, Jarosik said she’s buying a $100 ticket for the next trip, this time to Italy, sponsored by New Paradigm.

“People can buy a ticket even if they don’t live locally,” said Kathy Nelson, program director for the Paradigm of Catholic Charities in Englewood. “They can buy one and want to fly out of Canada or Michigan. They would just have to alter the tickets for a small fee. The person can also extend the stay by a few days as well. It’s really a big win for two people.”

The winner will be announced at the Feb. 2 Teach a Man to Fish gala to be held at the Englewood Elks Lodge 2378, 401 N. Indiana Ave.

This year’s gala is $65 a ticket and includes dinner, cocktails, a live and silent auction.

Last year, guests listened to testimony from Kenny Rivera, a single dad, who is raising his son while staying in transitional housing at New Paradigm Catholic Charities.

Proceeds from the Italy (Rome and Tuscany) tickets and gala sale help create a better quality of life for residents who are at risk of homelessness.

The New Paradigm of Catholic Charities works with parents and children to help transition them into permanent housing after a two-year stay in one of 15 properties in Charlotte County.

While the family lives in the transitional housing for two years, the parent(s) undergo budgeting lessons, parenting classes and have monthly inspections of the homes. Because the rent is low, parents are encouraged to attend college to better their career opportunities. They also can save up for a down payment on their own home.

Two years ago, New Paradigm partnered with Catholic Charities to expand services to all of Englewood and South Sarasota County. Kathy and her husband, David, owned a real estate agency and later created the New Paradigm Foundation to help individuals get back on their feet.

Much like New Paradigm’s mission in helping prevent homelessness, Catholic Charities oversees the operation of an emergency intake portal, the North Port Family Haven, for homeless families with children. Homeless families with children residing in South Sarasota County receive intake, stabilization, emergency housing, master care management and referral services.

Tickets are available to pay by check or credit card by calling 941-681-2194 or visit the website https://dov.regfox.com/fish2019. Those interested in purchasing tickets online can do so until Jan. 24. Tickets can be purchased at the office until Feb. 1. Office hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. 

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