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Greek America Corps

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Greek America Corps

Why this program?

From Gregory C. Pappas, President & Founder

Offering young adults in our community the opportunity to transform themselves while serving others — and supporting Greece — is a pivotal ideal of the Greek America Foundation. Since we launched our first summer volunteer program in 2017, dozens of students and young professionals have had life-changing experiences offering their time and talents to humanitarian causes in Greece. Our goal is to continue this program for years to come in order to ensure that more young people have such life-enriching opportunities — and to continue spreading values of philanthropy, volunteerism and service.

About this program

Greek America Corps is an initiative that has changed the lives of dozens of young North Americans by engaging them in meaningful volunteer programs with accredited non-profit organizations in Greece. These programs have connected them with their inner-selves — instilling in them the importance of volunteerism, service and philanthropy by allowing them to experience firsthand the smile on the face of someone they are feeding, supporting and serving.

There are three primary aspects to this initiative:

(1) Students are exposed to the ideals of service and volunteerism, core ideals of the Greek America Foundation’s mission, and experience first-hand their own impact on the causes they are supporting.

(2) At the same time, our program supports the nation of Greece and her people as they grapple with a crippling financial crisis and numerous humanitarian issues — not to mention the worst international refugee crisis since World War II.

(3) Finally, our volunteers are exposed to contemporary Greek life and culture.

About our past programs

Our first volunteer mission took place in July 2017 in Athens, where participants spent the month supporting The HOME Project, a network of shelters for unaccompanied refugee minors trapped in Greece.

Our second mission took place in July 2019 on the island of Chios in partnership with METAdrasi, a non-profit organization offering support, education and other vital services to unaccompanied refugee minors.

Our most recent mission took place in August 2020 in Athens (with a weekend visit to the island of Chios) in partnership with various organizations including METAdrasi, Emfasis and Kivotos Tou Kosmou (Ark of the World).

The 2020 volunteer team had a socially-distanced meeting with US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt, a longtime friend of the foundation and supporter of our Greek America Corps program.

How to support our program

Greek America Corps has been supported over the years by companies, institutions and individuals who understand the significance of imparting the ideals of service and volunteerism amongst future leaders of our community.

Donate today to help us sustain this program and continue to instill the values of service and volunteerism in young North Americans — while immersing them in real-world humanitarian challenges. 

Interested in sponsoring a student? Various options are available for those who wish to cover the cost of one or more students’ participation. Click here to learn more.

Read about our 2021 programs

This year’s itinerary includes two programs in Athens and one on the island of Chios. Click here to read more.

Transformative experience

Our program allows volunteers to benefit not only from their important work alongside our Greek non-profit partner organizations but also from the various interpersonal relationships formed with peers and those whom they serve. Participants also experience modern Greek society in a profound way that broadens their horizons and heightens their cultural awareness.

Desired qualities in a volunteer

We seek volunteers who are able to handle quickly changing environments, encountering people from different cultures and the emotional ups and downs that come with working in challenging conditions. Having strong boundaries, knowing your limits and when to take a break are important skills while volunteering. It is important to note that each program will have its own requirements and specifications depending upon the nature of the work involved.

Educational experience

True to our founding belief in the value of education, some of our programs offer the opportunity for US/Canadian students to receive college credit via our partnership with the Hellenic American University, a U.S.-accredited institution of higher education in Athens. Depending on the program, we will specify if this option is available.

Program specifics

Our programs typically range from 3-4 weeks long and require about 5-6 hours a day of volunteering, four days per week. We do offer an “off-day,” as well as pre-planned weekend excursions to allow for volunteers to have a physical and emotional break from the demanding work they are doing. Excursions involve immersion into the local culture with guided visits to cultural and historic sights, beaches, traditional village festivals and other important happenings that may take place during the program’s duration.

Testimonials from past volunteers

I would say that this program has been one of the most important steps I’ve taken in my life… It’s kind of motivated me a little bit more to want to offer my services to the world and to offer help to those who are less fortunate – to those who need it.
This program has given me an education that simply cannot be taught in a classroom. After five years of attending undergraduate and graduate school, I knew something was still missing… While my path isn’t exactly clear moving forward, this program has allowed me to realize that my passion for helping those in need exists as strongly as ever.
I think these programs are very, very beneficial to open the eyes of the youth to be able to bring these experiences back to their communities and back to their towns and spread the message of ‘philanthropia,’ and to be a good person and to help — to give to those less fortunate.
This program has affected me in so many ways. It has broadened my perspective more than any school studies or anything really ever could… And it has affected me on an emotional scale — so much. The people that I’m working with in the program have really made all the difference in my life and I will carry all of it back to America with me.
If you’re thinking about joining this program, I would say “Do it.” It is incredibly fulfilling to be of service to others and the people that you will meet and the connections that you will make will leave a big mark on your soul in ways that you can’t even imagine.
My experience with the kids has been life-changing. I’ve formed bonds with these kids through the weekend activities and seeing them every day. Frankly, I feel like these kids are my equals and friends. I will never forget this experience.
This program for me personally was a life-changer. I think it has really defined who I am and what I want to do with the rest of my life. I think the people I worked with are great. They’re phenomenal. Everybody really poured their heart and soul into this project and into the kids.
I have zero regrets about taking this kind of leap of faith and joining the program. It’s been just an amazing opportunity, life-changing and extremely humbling and I would encourage anyone who is even remotely thinking about it to go for it.
What I’ve learned in terms of gratitude, in terms of being able to make connections with people… can really go a long way in not only working with kids, not only working with vulnerable populations, not even in a volunteer setting; it can go a long way in our personal lives with other Americans and with other people.
Having the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of volunteers has truly been a life-changing experience. Working with volunteers from all backgrounds and personalities with a focus on this united cause to help these kids be kids, even for a moment, allowed our group of volunteers to quickly become a family.

Watch the wrap-up from our 2020 program