Serving Vulnerable Youth on Chios (+Samos)
Why this program?
From Gregory C. Pappas, President & Founder
Our second Greek America Corps program on the island of Chios (with an excursion to Samos) in summer 2021 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 abandoned and disenfranchised children who find themselves on the island. By supporting these children, 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.
July 23, 2022 - August 14, 2022
DEADLINE: JANUARY 28, 2022. The application deadline has passed, but if you are interested in future programs please subscribe to our email list.
Watch the recap of our 2021 programs
This is a three-week Greek America Corps program which 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. A multi-day excursion to the nearby island of Samos is also part of the program.
For applicants with financial need, we offer scholarships that cover accommodations and program expenses such as excursions, transportation and most meals. Alternatively, if applicants do not require financial aid, they can opt to purchase the package after they have been accepted. These programs are ideal for participants between 18-25 years old. This age range is strongly preferred by not a strict requirement. 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 dates & description
This program runs from July 23, 2022 to August 14, 2022. The program begins with an informal arrival, meet-and-greet and check-in at our hotel in the “Chora,” or port town of Chios. No official activities will be scheduled in order to allow for all participants to rest and settle in following presumably long travels. Volunteers MUST be present on the listed start dates. The first day after arrival day will consist of brief orientations and meetings with our charity partners followed by a Greek America Foundation welcome dinner in the evening. The program will conclude on the final evening with a farewell dinner. Participants will be responsible for their own travel arrangements after checking out from the hotel on departure day.
During this program, participants will learn about the current state of the refugee crisis in Greece; the day-to-day reality of refugees living the country; the particular needs of refugee children and best practices for working with them. Over the course of the program, we will also learn about the rich culture and history of Chios and Samos. The exact dates for the multi-day excursion to Samos will be shared with accepted applicants in the weeks leading up to the program’s start date.
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. Specific locations on Samos will be shared with participants prior to the program’s start date.
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 with particular interests and/or expertise can create their own lesson plans for the children living in METAdrasi’s shelter. Possible interest areas could include English, mathematics, geography, yoga and meditation or other topics.
Volunteers will work closely with staff from the Greek America Foundation, METAdrasi and Kivotos Tou Kosmou. Ordinarily, volunteers will work weekdays for 4-6 hours per day with a lunch break.
In the evenings and at times during the day, volunteers will either have free time to explore or attend meal-inclusive excursions arranged by the Greek America Foundation. The foundation will also offer weekend excursions to the beaches, villages, museums and sites of Chios.
Accommodation will be provided at the Chios City Inn, a family-run hotel located in the heart of the island’s port town. Daily breakfast is included. Several group lunches and dinners will also be provided. 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 privately arranged transportation 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 require all participants to have travel medical insurance for emergency and routine medical needs during program dates. The approximate cost ranges from $30-50 USD, depending on your age. We will provide further information on where to purchase insurance after you are accepted into the program. If you currently own a health insurance policy, we suggest that you check whether coverage is available abroad. On-site staff will be available 24/7 to support volunteers should emergencies arise.
Desired qualities in a volunteer
If you need financial aid, you may opt for a full scholarship covering all program costs including accommodation; local transportation; cultural meals and excursions and administrative fees. Airfare to Greece and Chios is not covered by scholarship funds. You can also opt to pay for the program if you do not require financial aid. The cost for participation is $3,900 (plus airfare). It is not necessary for you to complete a separate application or provide additional materials to receive a scholarship; instead, you will specify this detail in your application by selecting “Pay” or “Scholarship.”
For an additional fee (price available by request), participants have the option to accrue college credits 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 are interested in receiving these credits and our Greece-based program director, Eleni Anagnostopoulos, will contact you to provide information on pricing.
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.