Gala of Inclusion

By: Damon Modglin Last Updated: April 16, 2024

Paladin, Inc.’s work with the disabled community in La Porte County has always been about providing inclusive opportunities for its clients that they may not have received otherwise. Whether it’s helping clients find and prepare for employment, offering early education opportunities, or just having some fun, Paladin’s work has a significant impact on its clients and the community at large. This May, Paladin is hoping to further strengthen the relationship between the people it serves and the community with its inaugural Garden of Inclusion spring gala.

“We really wanted an event to invite everyone to see who we are and the great things we do – not just for people with disabilities but also for children and seniors in need of non-emergency medical transportation,” said Melissa Bohacek, development and marketing officer.

“The gala was inspired by how plants come together to make a garden,” added Paladin Client Bart Parker.

The upcoming gala on May 18 at Blue Chip Casino will give community members the chance to meet and interact with some of Paladin’s clients while also supporting Paladin’s mission. With a theme of inclusion, Paladin is making sure everyone can enjoy themselves with a buffet-style dinner, a silent auction, and a keynote address from professional motivational speaker and advocate Mark Hublar.

Hublar, an Indiana native, is an accomplished and award-winning speaker who promotes self-advocacy and equal opportunities for people with disabilities. Hublar’s new book, “A Miracle Named Mark,” details his life growing up with Down syndrome and the support he received in order to fulfill his potential. Twenty-five signed copies of Hublar’s book are available to purchase online at Paladin’s website now.

In addition to Hublar’s presentation, Parker says attendees should keep a special eye on the silent auction items.

“The auction items include a glassworks basket, Paladin shirts, and a basket of sports items,” said Parker. “The glassworks basket is composed of work the clients here created during art. Selling them helps us get money for more programs.”

Additionally, items donated by the community will be auctioned, including a hunting trip to Argentina. All of the money raised will be going back into Paladin’s programming focusing on individuals with disabilities, early childhood learning, and non-emergency medical transportation.

Tickets for the gala are available online beginning at $100. In addition to your own ticket to the event, higher tiers also cover the cost of tickets for Paladin’s clients and their service providers, making the event open to all.

“Part of tackling the stigma is getting people together and interacting. In order to help ensure that happens seamlessly, we tried to remove any financial barriers that would prevent folks from coming,” said Bohacek. “Not everyone has financial barriers, but we felt it was more important that those who do are able to come than it was to get the full price of the ticket.”

Both Paladin’s staff and clients are looking forward to the gala, and they can’t wait to see you there!

“It’s going to be really fun; I’m looking forward to it,” Bohacek said. “We want Paladin to be a place where people belong. We’re excited to bring them in and introduce ourselves.”

Tickets for Paladin’s Garden of Inclusion gala can be purchased online here. To learn more about Paladin and its programming, visit