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NY Martial Arts Academy Supports a Great Charity Called Maria's Love Foundation

The NY Martial Arts Academy is supporting a great charity that helps families in need due to serious illnesses by easing some of the financial burdens.

Established in 2014 by Antri Papanikolaou in memory of her mother, Maria Papanikolaou, Maria’s Love Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has been financially helping families who have been impacted by serious illnesses. Since then, the foundation has awarded more than $52,000 to families in need. The money goes toward lowering costly medical bills, services such as occupational therapy and buying necessary equipment like wheelchairs.

“I started Maria’s Love Foundation in honor of my mother Maria Papanikolaou, who passed away from cancer when I was 16 -years-old,” said Antri Papanikolaou, President of Maria’s Love Foundation. “We wanted to help families who are in need but we wanted but we wanted to give money directly to them and not go through different organizations.”

The charity’s mission is to reach out to local churches, hospitals and organizations to meet families and determine who are in need and who they can help to the best of their ability.

Maria’s Love Foundation hosts a number of events including an annual Kickathon which takes place at the NY Martial Arts Academy. The Kickathon is an event where kids and adults alike can raise money by getting sponsors to donate. If a sponsor donates $1/kick and the child kicks 100 times, $100 goes to charity.

“There’s nothing better than seeing the excitement on a little kid’s face when he thought he was going to do 100 kicks and he ends up doing 120 and breaks through his goals. Ultimately, that’s what martial arts is about. It’s about breaking through barriers and doing things that you never thought you could do and honestly I feel the same way about this charity,” said James Orfanos, Owner of NY Martial Arts Academy and Vice President of Maria’s Love Foundation. “I think we are going to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars and hopefully millions of dollars over the course of the years and we can affect hundreds of thousands of lives. “

Maria's Love Foundation also does an annual formal gala where NY Martial Arts Academy sponsors the event. “We really love donating to and promoting Maria's Love Foundation because we know where the money is going. There's nothing wrong with big charities, but they have a massive amount of overhead. Maria's Love Foundation pays no salaries or fixed overhead. The only expenses are on a per event basis,” Orfanos said.

“We know first-hand the emotional and financial burden that illness can bring to a family. We try our best to alleviate some of this burden to deserving families,” Papanikolau said.

So far, Maria’s Love Foundation has raised thousands of dollars and has helped over 24 families that were in need.