Point Pleasant Beach, NJ — Kites weren’t the only thing soaring above Jenkinson’s Inlet in Point Pleasant Beach on May 22 as 180 Turning Lives Around held its first annual “Kites For Kids” event. Participants and spectators alike felt their spirits soar aloft with the multitude of red, yellow and blue kites during the event, which raised awareness about violence in Monmouth County and funds to benefit programs and services run by the agency.

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“Kites For Kids” participants enjoyed sun and the sand at the beach.

“Every child deserves a carefree day on the beach to begin their summer,” said Barbara Lovell-Napoli, Development Associate at 180, “yet for a family struggling to break free from a violent relationship, often there are not enough resources—both financial and emotional—to enjoy something as simple as flying a kite with your child.” “Kites For Kids,” which included a kite contest with prizes, games and activities, food and wrist bands for unlimited rides at Jenkinson’s Boardwalk, was enjoyed by children ages 4 to 15 and their parents who watched them. “Twenty percent of the families here today are 180 clients,” reported Lovell-Napoli, “and the rest are supporters who are proud to bring their children and teach them that it’s fun to support a good cause.”

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The 4 to 7 age group elicited a little parental help during their contest.

Host Sponsor Jenkinson’s Boardwalk generously provided the venue, pizza and soda for the participants and wristbands for the rides. Entertainment Sponsor The Friends of Amanda Foundation provided activities and games for kids to enjoy while they waited their turn for the contest.

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First prize for the age 4 to 7 group was almost too big to carry.

“Jenkinson’s Boardwalk is proud to be part of this wonderful organization and we look forward to making this an annual event,” said Marilou Halvorsen, Director of Marketing for Jenkinson’s.

Judges for the contest were Tom Faragalli of T&T Coast Buick, Pontiac & GMC Dealers, Norah Marler, a recognized women’s rights activist in New Jersey and president of the former non-profit, Leading The Way, and Kathie Rosamilia, former board of trustee member at 180 and a long-time 180 supporter. Marler, who first initiated the annual kite flying event at Jenkinson’s and later invited 180 to participate, said, “Flying kites on the beach is a source of inspiration and reminds us that all possibilities exist.” This certainly rang true with 180 staff member Samantha Muccini, who works with children who have been affected by violence in 180’s Amanda’s Easel Creative Arts and Play Therapies Programs. Leaving the beach on Saturday, Samantha commented that she has never seen her clients and their parents smile and laugh so much.

180 Turning Lives Around is a non-profit organization that has been helping families in Monmouth County affected by domestic or sexual violence for almost 35 years. To learn more about the agency log on to www.180nj.org.