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Oprah Winfrey Network auditions for My Time
Amanda Dunn and daughter Brenna, 11 months, wait outside the Interactive Neighborhood for Kids on Monday afternoon during a casting call for “My Time,” a show on the new Oprah Winfrey Network.

Moms and dads in Gainesville may finally be able to achieve their dreams.

More than 50 people showed up Monday to the Oprah Winfrey Network casting call at Interactive Neighborhood for Kids ready to share their dreams. Most stood in groups and waited anxiously for an interview.

“I own a business, but I’m at a place where it needs help to expand,” said Dianne Hadaway, a Gainesville resident who designs bags and accessories for her website “I also advocate for single parents and created my own website, but it’s at a standstill right now.”

When the 24/7 Oprah Winfrey Network debuts in January, “My Time” will feature parents who were unable to pursue a passion because kids, chores and full-time work got in the way.

“INK got the phone call out of the blue for (Oprah  Winfrey Network) to use a room, but I believe INK was picked because the point of INK is about making dreams come true,” said Tracy Whitmire, Gainesville’s tourism director. Producers also are holding casting calls this week in Athens and Atlanta.

The dream must be a goal that can be accomplished in six to eight weeks, and a celebrity coach will stay with the winners for the entire process. A filming crew will document the time and produce a one-hour show that will outline the background story, journey and conclusion.

“I think they’re planning to do five to eight shows, but they may not even know yet. It could be gauged on what they find,”

Whitmire said. “I hope they pick someone local. That would be fun. It would be great to see someone run a marathon or sing on Broadway or become a pastry chef.”

On Monday, residents from Gainesville, Lula, Buford and Dahlonega began lining up outside the building before 5 p.m.

“I’ve been doing mental health for 10 years, and I want to create a spiritual center that’s not based on a religion,” said

Rebecca Nix, a Gainesville resident. “I see that many of my consumers don’t have a traditional religion, and it’s a need in this area. People are lost and have no connection at all. I want to create social groups for people to get along with each other.”

Many professionals showed up with dreams of going back to college or creating a new business. After initial talks with the producers, they knew they didn’t fit the show’s description and left by 5:30.

“I’ve always wanted to write children’s books,” said Sherri Clemons, a Dahlonega resident who was one in the first group to leave. “I’ve been a desperate housewife for 27 years, living the life, and I just need the cultivation to get it started.”

One woman, who walked in carrying slices of homemade pound cake, left a few minutes later when she realized she couldn’t start her own bakery. She walked out the door, declaring she wouldn’t give up her dreams. Many others stayed in the audition room, deciding they wouldn’t give up, either.

“I want to create a safe house for grandparents raising grandchildren,” said Sylvia Miller-Carter, who started support groups in Norcross and Buford before moving to Gainesville eight years ago. “I started some, and it was good. We need to get some abandoned homes up here and start it. Nobody supports us, and we need it.”

Art Thomas, a Milledgeville resident, was the first to arrive outside the Featherbone Communiversity building on Monday morning. He stood with an umbrella in the rain until INK employees arrived to let him inside. At about 6 p.m., Thomas was the first to leave an interview, a broad smile on his face.

“I really enjoyed being here, and I felt warm and welcome despite the rain,” said Thomas, 53, who wants to take up dancing. “Dancing has always been a love of mine, but I’ve been shy. I think it’s about overcoming fear, getting healthier and maybe getting that hot date. I want to learn rock ’n’ roll style dancing. I think I could really cut a rug.”

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