Serving Vulnerable Communities in Thessaloniki
Why this program?
From Gregory C. Pappas, President & Founder
After a successful expansion to Thessaloniki , the capital of northern Greece, during summer 2022, we are proud to continue our work in this dynamic city. This program supports one of the most innovative charities in Greece which serves vulnerable people including hundreds of refugee children and their families. Initiatives like these help develop the strong interpersonal ties between the people of North America and Greece, all while promoting the values of philanthropy, volunteerism and service.
Thessaloniki #1: July 8 - July 27, 2023
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These are two three-week Greek America Corps programs which entail serving vulnerable populations in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki in a structured environment and in partnership with respected non-profit organizations and institutions.
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
During our program, we will work with respected and well known non-profit organizations and join them in crucial volunteer activities in various locations in the surrounding area of Thessaloniki.
Since the launch of our program in Thessaloniki, we have established long-term partnerships with organizations, offering support and serving the refugee population and other disenfranchised individuals and groups. Volunteers also work with local organizations and other volunteer teams, in order to combat food waste, and environmental threats, by participating in food saving activities, beach clean-ups and other volunteer activities in the region of Thessaloniki.
Our growing partnership network, and the holistic approach of our 3-week programs, will allow our volunteers to come in contact with a number of prestigious Greek non-profits and their beneficiaries, and will give them the opportunity to experience the multi-faceted and ever changing Greek society.
Our list of partner organizations grows everyday, and participants will be informed of their work during the interview process, and the mandatory group orientation calls after being accepted in the program.
Program dates & description
The itinerary for each program is the same, but two separate time periods are offered:
Thessaloniki #1: July 8 – July 27, 2023
NOTE: You will specify in your application for which dates you wish to apply.
The program begins with an informal arrival, meet-and-greet and check-in at our hotel (exact location TBA). 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.
Volunteers will work closely with staff from the Greek America Foundation and our partners. Ordinarily, volunteers will work weekdays for 4-6 hours per day (with lunch breaks) in various locations within the greater Thessaloniki area
In the evenings and at times during the day, volunteers will either have free time to explore the city or attend meal-inclusive excursions arranged by the Greek America Foundation. Such excursions may include visiting museums and historical sites or attending cultural events and other happenings
Accommodation will be provided a location (TBA) in the center of Thessaloniki. Daily breakfast is included. Several group lunches and dinners will also be provided. Participants should budget about €80-100 per week for extra meals that are not included in the package. Transportation to and from volunteer locations will be provided either via public or privately arranged transportation, depending on the day’s activities. Excursions/activities are included in the price of the program. Airfare to Greece and/or Thessaloniki 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/or Thessaloniki 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 $3,500 (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.
In order to apply and be accepted to the volunteer program, you must prepare your resume, a cover letter and two recommendation letters from two different individuals, and upload them when completing the application form. After you have submitted your application, you will be contacted by a member of the Greek America Foundation staff to conduct a brief interview.