Home Greek America Corps Chios 2021

Greek America Corps Chios 2021

by gafoundation1

Serving Vulnerable Youth on Chios

Why this program?

From Gregory C. Pappas, President & Founder

Our second Greek America Corps program on the island of Chios in summer 2019 yielded extremely positive results both for our volunteers and for the vulnerable children who they supported. This particular program is a continuation of our commitment not only to Chios, but also to the countless abandoned and disenfranchised children who find themselves on the island. By supporting this population, our volunteers help some of the most vulnerable members of Greek society and become better versions of themselves in the process, learning skills which they subsequently bring home to their communities in North America.

Program dates:
July 22, 2021 - August 12, 2021

Important Note

The Greek America Foundation is actively monitoring COVID-19-related developments. At any given time, the foundation may adjust plans for this program depending on health guidelines and travel restrictions.

Program overview

This is a three-week Greek America Corps prograwhich entails serving vulnerable and disenfranchised youth on the island of Chios in a structured environment and in partnership with two respected Greek non-profit organizations. For applicants with financial need, we offer scholarships that cover lodging and program expenses such as excursions, transportation and some meals. Alternatively, if applicants do not require financial aid, they can opt to purchase the package after they have been accepted. This program is open to anyone 18-30 years old. Volunteers do not need to be enrolled in college, nor in possession of a college degree. See below for the full program details.

Partners & location

One of our program partners is METAdrasi, an organization founded in 2010 that helps facilitate the reception and integration of refugees and immigrants in Greece. It is focused on services not covered by the public authorities or other non-governmental organizations in Greece. METAdrasi operates mainly in two sectors: interpretation services and the protection of unaccompanied children.

Our second partner is Kivotos Tou Kosmou (Ark of the World), an organization founded in 1997 with a goal to provide shelter for abandoned children in various locations throughout Greece. Kivotos currently cares for upwards of 1,000 children — infants to 18 years old — and although the vast majority are Greek, the organization welcomes children from all backgrounds. Kivotos strives to relieve these children of poverty, hunger, illnesses, misery, exploitation and illiteracy. The organization also focuses on keeping families together and, when possible, not institutionalizing children and instead keeping them with their mothers. 

Program activities will take place primarily in the Chora (port city) of Chios and Aipos village — the location of the Kivotos Tou Kosmou’s facility.

Program dates & description

This program runs from July 22, 2021 to August 12, 2021. The first day of this program begins with an informal arrival, registration and check-in at our accommodation location (TBA) in the Chora of Chios. Volunteers MUST be present on the listed start dates for our evening orientation, followed by a welcome dinner. Each program will conclude on the final evening with a farewell dinner and participants will be responsible for their own arrangements beginning the following day — i.e. August, 13, 2021.

Our program will begin with an orientation on July 23. Participants will learn about the current state of the refugee crisis in Greece; the detention, asylum and integration conditions for refugees in Greece and Europe; the day-to-day reality of refugees in Greece; the particular needs of refugee children; and best practices for working with refugee children. Over the course of the program, we will also learn about the history of Chios.

Volunteers will work closely with the METAdrasi and Kivotos staff and under their supervision. Our volunteer locations include METAdrasi’s shelter in Chios town, the Kivotos facility in Aipos village (outside of Chora) and various public recreational and cultural facilities such as beaches, parks, sports fields, museums and cultural sites. A designated team of volunteers with an interest in education will also teach basic lessons in English, mathematics and similar subjects at METAdrasi’s informal education center outside of the VIAL refugee camp.

At the METAdrasi shelter and Kivotos facility, volunteers will provide young children with basic education, enrichment and friendship through arts, cultural, recreational and skills-based activities. Volunteers may also be asked to support the organizations teams with basic administrative and maintenance projects such as meal planning and preparation, cleaning and beautification of common spaces and routine child care needs. 

Volunteers will work closely with staff from the Greek America Foundation, METAdrasi and Kivotos Tou Kosmou. Ordinarily, volunteers will work weekdays for 6-8 hours per day with a lunch break.

During some evenings, volunteers will either have free time to explore or attend dinner-inclusive excursions arranged by the Greek America Foundation. The foundation will also offer weekend excursions to the beaches, villages, museums and sites of Chios.

Program specifics

Accommodation will be provided at a location in Chios Chora (TBA). Daily breakfast is included. Several dinners will also be provided during each program. Participants should budget about €80 per week for extra meals that are not included in the package. Transportation to and from volunteer locations will be provided via public transportation (i.e. bus or van) as required by the day’s activities. Excursions/activities are included in the price of the program. Airfare to Greece and Chios is not included; however, our staff can help with international and domestic travel arrangements, as well as domestic air or ferry details. The Greek America Foundation will purchase travel medical insurance to cover emergency and routine medical needs only for the dates of the program. Please make sure to hold your own health insurance policy as well and check whether coverage is available abroad. On-site staff will be available 24/7 to support volunteers.

Desired qualities in a volunteer

The Greek America Foundation seeks 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. Our volunteer work may at times be physically demanding: summer temperatures in Greece can reach 100 degrees and we will be outside at times engaging in physical activity. Please note that we will always be mindful of putting everyone’s health first during hot weather. Staff from the Greek America Foundation and our partner organizations will be on hand at all times. We encourage all volunteers to take down time, practice self-care and use their own coping strategies while engaged in this work. Having strong boundaries, knowing your limits and when to take a break are important skills while volunteering.

Scholarships/program fees

If you need financial aid, you may opt for a full scholarship covering all program fees mentioned above. Airfare to Greece is not covered by scholarship funds. You can also opt to pay for the program if you do not need financial aid. The cost for participation is $3,799.00 (plus airfare to Greece). The cost includes accommodations, multiple meals and all cultural activities/excursions. It is not necessary for you to complete a separate application to receive a scholarship; instead, you will specify this detail in your application by selecting “Paid” or “Scholarship” when prompted.

College credit

For an additional fee, participants have the option to accrue college credit that can be applied to their studies at their home institution via our partnership with the Hellenic American University, a U.S.-accredited institution of higher education in Athens. Students are responsible for checking with their home institutions about transfer of credits. A counselor at Hellenic American University will be made available to assist, as will a curriculum and coursework. Please mention in your application if you wish to receive this credit. 

COVID-19

The Greek America Foundation staff is actively monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic both globally and in Greece. Our program will adhere to all guidelines as specified by US, Canadian and Greek health officials. At any given time, the foundation may adjust plans for this program depending on health guidelines and travel restrictions.

Greek America Corps

Application

Click here to submit your application. DEADLINE: FEBRUARY 14, 2021.
Late submissions (no more than one week) will be accepted under special circumstances. If you’d like to request an extension, please contact our program director, Eleni Anagnostopoulos, via email.

Watch the wrap-up from our 2020 program

Frequently asked questions

Is it safe to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Our program will adhere to all guidelines as specified by relevant health authorities. Applicants are solely responsible for determining whether or not they feel comfortable to travel.

How will we enter Greece if U.S. citizens are still banned from entering the EU?

The Greek America Foundation will make special arrangements for our volunteers to enter Greece as humanitarian volunteers, which are exempt from the EU's restrictions.

Is it safe to be on the island of Chios?

The Greek America Foundation vets all volunteer locations for safety and suitability for our volunteers. Likewise, NGO partners are also vetted for accountability and ability to manage our volunteer group. The island of Chios is generally quite safe. Reasonable precautions will be taken to ensure safety at all times. Volunteers will receive safety training and guidance on behavior best practices for a variety of contexts.

I’d like to attend another program/conference/family celebration. Can I join the program late or leave at any time?

Participants are expected to be present for the duration of the program as detailed above and not attend other events.

What’s a typical day like?

Volunteers will work weekdays for 6-8 hours per day (with a lunch break). Our group will complete tasks as specified above (see "Program dates & description"). During evenings, volunteers will either have free time to explore or participate in excursions arranged by the Greek America Foundation. Group meetings will also take place when appropriate. Please note that daily schedules tend to vary depending on the circumstances presented each day.

Do I need to speak Greek to participate?

English and Greek will be the main languages spoken in the volunteer program. Knowledge of Greek is not required, but knowledge of the language is a definite plus for our volunteers. Interpreters will be available at times.

Is your question not included above?

Please email our program director, Eleni Anagnostopoulos, to receive further information.