We are proud to announce that the Greek America Foundation, under the chairmanship of the Honorable Dean Trantalis, Mayor of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, will launch an awareness and fundraising campaign to support Greece’s LGBTQI+ Helpline 11528 – By Your Side.
The line, used by more than 1,000 people annually, is served by teams of psychologists to help young Greeks in crisis with sexual and gender identity issues. The line also provides support to teachers, parents and family members on how to approach such matters.
Suicide rates amongst LGBTQI+ teens in Europe are staggeringly high, with estimates in countries like Greece, Italy and Spain — where the church plays a significant role in affairs — considerably higher.
Greece’s helpline has helped thousands of people overcome crisis situations and is a critical social welfare organization that requires more than $100,000 in annual funding. The funds are necessary to secure professional psychologists to answer phone calls and host face-to-face sessions with people in need of support.
According to Thanos Vlachogiannis, Executive Director of the 11528 By Your Side LGBTQI+ Helpline, the support from the Greek America Foundation couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Sadly, in conservative countries like Greece, where religious influence and homophobic attitudes are prevalent in society, funding is hard to obtain and organizations like ours must receive support from a variety of sources like the Greek America Foundation,” Vlachogiannis said, adding that “We are especially excited to work alongside a diaspora organization for the first time.”
This initiative was conceptualized thanks to introductions and support from U.S. Consul General in Thessaloniki Elizabeth Lee, who has encouraged more diaspora support for organizations such as these in Greece.
The initiative will formally launch at an event in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on Saturday, March 12, during the Greek America Foundation’s annual winter retreat. The event will be co-chaired by Mayor Dean Trantalis and Foundation board member Spiro Verras.
Our campaign will include fundraising and public awareness efforts from members of the LGBTQI+ Greek American community, as well as allies and supporters. Everyone is invited to attend the Ft. Lauderdale Retreat Weekend and to be a part of this inaugural event. The Greek America Foundation will establish a designated committee during the event to lead this initiative.
Details about the Ft. Lauderdale Retreat Weekend, including discounted hotel accommodations, can be found here.
For more information about Greece’s LGBTQI+ Helpline, visit the organization’s website.
Get involved with our initiative
If you’re interested in being involved with this specific initiative supporting the LGBTQI+ helpline in Greece, click here to join our email list and stay up-to-date on all pertinent announcements.