Archive for the tag 'fundraising'

The following was submitted by Sheepshead Bay resident Jeanine Grimaldi, whose family wrestles with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease every day.

Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia, affects an estimated 5.4 million Americans. Although this disease is most commonly known for its major symptom — memory loss — it comprises so much more. Typical Alzheimer’s patients feel disoriented, confused and, have drastic mood and behavior changes. They can often become suspicious of family members and friends and, during the later stages of the disease, have difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.

These symptoms are caused by plaques and tangles, two different types of proteins that build up in the brain. Scientists do not fully understand this build-up but believe it plays a critical role in blocking communication among nerve cells in the brain. We still have a long way to go in beating this disease, but we are heading in the right direction. On May 15, 2012, the Obama Administration released the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s in which the major goal is to effectively treat and prevent this disease by 2025.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are currently more than 320,000 people over the age of 65 in New York alone who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This number does not include the growing number of people in their 50s who have been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s.

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Community Board 15′s coach, Tony Scavo, husband of Chairperson Theresa Scavo, was already grumbling when I showed up an inning or two into the charity softball game, in which the Board faced off against the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association.

Donning a black CB15 baseball cap, Scavo turned and spat, “This isn’t a baseball game. What is this? They got all the ringers!”

I waited for him to chuck the cap on the ground and start kicking it in the clay, but he never did.

And, indeed, Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association – which organized the event to raise funds for Bay Academy Junior High School – had a roster of stars that stole the game.

MBNA scored 20. Community Board 15? Just nine.

Of course, they all were winners, having helped raise between $1,200 and $1,500 for the neighborhood school. The group will present a check to a Bay Academy rep at their next meeting.

The game ain’t just about money, though, said MBNA spokersperson Edmond Dweck.

“It serves many purposes; bringing together the community, friends and family. It gives everyone a good chance to enjoy the day. And more people seem to be attending,” he said. “It’s good to see that we’re akcnowledging good contributions back to the community, and, of course, the ultimate goal of providig more benefits for the children in our neighborhood schools.”

Our friends at the Shorefront Y, the Kings Bay Y and the Marks JCH of Bensonhurst are putting together their second annual Walk for Autism event, slated for April 22. In advance of the event, they’ve asked us to help get the word out to local about how they can get signed up to help this great cause.

You can register at the Shorefront Y’s website, or call (718) 646-1444 ext. 406.

The walk benefits Southern Brooklyn families who cannot afford to pay for special needs programs as the government continues to slash away at free programs. So by participating, you’re helping out neighbors who need it the most.

The walk itself is 1.2 miles along the Coney Island Boardwalk, beginning at the Aquarium. Here’s the flier:

Joe Savarese, with son Christopher and Mocha the bear. Photos by Erica Sherman

“Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me.” ― Fred Rogers, who would have been 84 years old today.

On St. Patrick’s Day, lifelong Marine Park resident Joseph Savarese, 39, rose before dawn on a foggy Saturday morning to quietly get his head shaved at Lucky’s Place barber shop on Quentin Road and East 31st Street.

He has done this every year for the past seven years.

The annual ritual of shaving his head is Savarese’s way of showing solidarity with children who suffer from cancer, part of a fundraiser for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven cancer charity.

And this year it had a very personal meaning.

Last month, many years after being diagnosed with the disease, an uncle of whom the soft-spoken Savarese was particularly fond, succumbed from the ravaging effects of cancer.

“He was battling two forms of cancer for the past 13-15 years. The cancer shattered his left leg last year,” Savarese said in an email, and, in early February, doctors discovered that his uncle’s spine also “had hair line cracks in it.”

See more photos and find out more about Savarese and his fundraising efforts.

A life cut short: Joseph Avena (center) with his two children, Joey and Charlize. Source: Facebook

They are the words no mother should ever have to say: “On Christmas morning God called my son, Joseph, to join Him in Heaven.”

But that was the December 27 Facebook status the broken-hearted Kathleen Ann Avena posted about her son Joseph “Joey” Avena, a beloved husband to Derryl, and father to two young children, Charlize, 10, and Joey, eight. The elder Joey Avena — who listed “Braveheart” as his favorite movie on MySpace, and who loved the Jets, watching “Spongebob Squarepants” with his children, and playing poker — was laid to rest after his loved ones said final goodbyes to him on December 28 at Scarpaci Funeral Home, 86th Street and 14th Avenue in Bensonhurst.

Click to enlarge. Photo by Erica Sherman

Now, Joey Avena’s two grief-stricken brothers, Anthony and Richie, are organizing the “Friend In Need Benefit,” a community-wide fundraiser at the Tamaqua Bar & Marina, February 18 from 8:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., to benefit their departed sibling’s children and family. Admission to the “Friend In Need Benefit” is $20, which includes free food, a DJ, raffles, 50/50, and, organizers hope, a live band.

All proceeds from the door cover will be given to the children, and monies generated from the event will go directly to the family to help them overcome the difficult financial situation they are in. Additionally, the Avena family has set up a page on, an online payment platform, which allows people to securely make donations online:

Our goal is to raise funds to help support Joey’s family with the financial struggles that lie ahead for them. Donations of any size are welcome. Your donation will help us achieve our goal of helping out the Avena family in their time of need. All donations and contributors to the event will be publicly acknowledged. It is much appreciated by the entire Avena family. Charlize and Joey have a hard road ahead of them, but you can help make it a little better!

If you can’t make it to the event. This is a great way to participate. We are using to collect our donations. It’s super convenient, simple, and secure. If you have any questions, please email

With just a few more days left prior to the “Friend In Need Benefit,” the Avena family has collected $890 on WePay toward their goal of $1,000.

According to Kathleen Ann Avena, “My sons, Anthony and Richie, really want to make this happen in honor of their brother who they are heartbroken over having lost. They NEED you to make this possible and I hope to see you and your friends there.”

The Tamaqua Club & Marina is located at 84 Ebony Court in Gerritsen Beach.

To learn more, contact Richie Avena at (917) 755-2581 or Maura Buckley at (917) 855-4683, or email Buckley at

This year's Annual Walk to End Alzheimer's, on the Coney Island Boardwalk. (Source: Jeanine Grimaldi)

The following was submitted by Jeanine Grimaldi, a Sheepshead Bay resident whose family wrestles with the effects of Alzheimer’s every day.

November starts Alzheimer’s Awareness month, a disease that affects more than 5.4 million people, including more than 320,000 individuals over the age of 65 in New York State alone. This issue is important to me because my grandmother Mary, a longtime Sheepshead Bay resident, has been fighting Alzheimer’s disease for the past 10 years. She does not remember my name, but when I take her near the water in Sheepshead Bay she tells me she remembers coming here all the time when she was a little girl. Through caring for my grandmother and spending time learning about Alzheimer’s, I know that we have a lot of work to do to help Alzheimer’s patients and their families.

Most people equate memory loss with Alzheimer’s, but it’s so much more than that. Eventually, individuals with Alzheimer’s will have impaired judgment, feel disoriented and confused and have difficulty speaking. Behavioral changes also occur, causing your loved one to act in ways that are out of the norm for his or her personality. During the later stages, chewing, swallowing and walking can become difficult.

Find out more about Alzheimer’s research, and how you can help.

It is Autism Awareness Month, and with one in every 150 children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, for which there is no known cure, Southern Brooklyn families who have been touched by this mysterious impairment are gearing up to participate in the First Annual Walk for Autism, organized by the Brooklyn Autism Spectrum Disorder Initiative (BASDI), April 10.

Participants should meet at 9 a.m. at the New York Aquarium Boardwalk entrance, 602 Surf Avenue, whereupon they will walk 1.5 miles along the boardwalk to the Shorefront YM-YWHA, 3300 Coney Island Avenue, after which time there will be fun-filled activities for children and families.

One hundred percent of the funds raised from the walk will benefit current programs serving special needs children. Donations can be made online or in person and registration for the walk may be made in person or via phone.

To learn more, email, call (718) 648-7703 ext. 223, or go to


Smoke billowed from St. Mark School’s yard (Avenue Z and East 18th Street) on Saturday, March 26, while chili and beer flowed freely inside the building itself. And now another Grillin’ On The Bay is over and done with.

View our wrap up, user photos, team scores and links to other coverage of Grillin’ On The Bay 2011.

Aishel Shabbat’s 9th Annual Gala Auction event kicks off Saturday night, March 26, at 8:30 p.m. There will be a full dairy buffet, and the auction book can be seen online. For phone orders and auction tickets, call (347) 423-8812 or (917) 455-0720.

The event is at Congregation Har Halebanon, 820 Avenue S. Valet parking available. Call the numbers above for more information.

The St. Mark Catholic School (2602 East 19th Street) has launched an online store to bring in some bucks for the basketball program, hoping to reach their goal of $3,000 in the coming weeks.

The website, which you can check out here, sells reduced cost magazine subscriptions to major publications, including Time, People and Sports Illustrated. Also available are tubs of cookie dough and restaurant gift certificates.

It’s the first time St. Mark has teamed up with an online venture – in this case, – to meet fundraising goals. Forty percent of the purchase goes to the program.

For those unfamiliar with St. Mark’s basketball program, their high school-aged team (Cadets) are currently the division’s first place team. The program is open to all in the community who wish to join, and they also have a Challenger program for the disabled.

Go check out the store, and help the program meet its $3,000 fundraising goal!

CLARIFICATION: St. Mark Sports Association runs independently from the school. It is run by a volunteer staff and volunteer coaches. They use the school’s name and their gym but the teams consists of players from the school and the community. Please click on the about page on their website to learn more about their organization.

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