American Martial Arts Academy fundraiser benefits autism awareness

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Before heading to the buffet for some good eats, Angie Groves of Tuckahoe poses with her sons John and Joseph. Before heading to the buffet for some good eats, Angie Groves of Tuckahoe poses with her sons John and Joseph.

SEAVILLE – The American Martial Arts Academy (AMAA) in Seaville held its annual Family Fun Night on Sunday, Jan. 27 at the Lobster Loft in Sea Isle City to raise money for autism awareness.

Many businesses from the area were very generous and donated a slew of door prizes, which kept Maura McCray and Sensei Lynne Bandy busy selling tickets. J&B Disc Jockey provided the music.

Lori Stranges, who does so much work with Gilda's Club, dressed as Minnie Mouse and kept the dance floor full of young children and their parents dancing to everything from the “bean bag dance” to the limbo. "How low can you go?"

I saw Danielle Davies of Greenfield dancing with her daughter Ruby and asked if Simon was there, too. Then Kristin Littel Connelly of Seaville said hello and we talked about my brother Larry Balic.

I said hello to Sal Emma and asked him to remind me of the name of the song his wife Sensei Beth Emma sang to Sensei John McCray at the AMAA awards night. I told him I am trying to help my husband pick a song for the father/daughter dance at our daughter's wedding. He suggested “I Thought About You” by Frank Sinatra.

The buffet provided at the Lobster Loft is always popular and when dinner was over Alex Marino, who has a senior purple belt, entertained the crowd with a song while playing his guitar. McCray thanked everyone for coming and I said goodbye to my favorite bartender, Anthony Bennett, and headed home.

This is the fifth year the AMAA has supported autism awareness. All proceeds from the evening were given to Mike Monichetti of Mike's Seafood, a leader in autism awareness in South Jersey. He runs the Polar Bear 5K Run/Walk, which will be held this year on Feb. 17 in Sea Isle City. All proceeds from that event go to support Autism Speaks, which conducts advocacy and funds research, special services schools, autism support groups and families of special needs children.

You can register for the Polar Bear 5K Run/Walk at the American Martial Arts Academy, 94 Route 50 in Seaville, or visit www.polarbearwalkrunforautism.com .

If you have an event you would like to see “In the Spotlight,” call Deb Patterson at 624-8900, ext. 249 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

  Oskar Studzinski and Shane Kirby of Ocean View hope to win one of the many prizes offered at the AMAA fundraiser. Oskar Studzinski and Shane Kirby of Ocean View hope to win one of the many prizes offered at the AMAA fundraiser.

Also involved in the fundraising activities were Sensei Frank Biachino and instructor Rachel Mayshura. Also involved in the fundraising activities were Sensei Frank Biachino and instructor Rachel Mayshura.

Chatting with his parents Tony and Barbara Marino is Alex Marino of Cape May. Alex later entertained the crowd with a song. Chatting with his parents Tony and Barbara Marino is Alex Marino of Cape May. Alex later entertained the crowd with a song.

Lori Stranges, dressed as Minnie Mouse, has fun leading the young students in a bean bag dance. Lori Stranges, dressed as Minnie Mouse, has fun leading the young students in a bean bag dance.

The Medolla Family of Dorothy poses for a picture at the American Martial Arts Academy’s Family Fun Night fundraiser. They are, from left: Brian, holding Rachel, Christopher, Mason and Mary Frances holding Heather. The Medolla Family of Dorothy poses for a picture at the American Martial Arts Academy’s Family Fun Night fundraiser. They are, from left: Brian, holding Rachel, Christopher, Mason and Mary Frances holding Heather.


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