During their latest weekend excursion, the Greek America Foundation’s 16 volunteers from the US and Canada took some time off from their work on Chios island and traveled to Izmir, Turkey.
The trip to the once-Greek city formerly known as Smyrna provided a unique experience for the volunteers, who were taken on a guided tour throughout the city’s important historical areas from which hundreds of thousands of refugees fled for their lives nearly 100 years ago.
Such a visit to Smyrna is also relevant in modern times, as the past few years have seen millions of refugees pass through the city on their way to Greece — where our volunteers are spending the month of July helping unaccompanied minors.
Our volunteers were guided by resident and Greek-American expatriate Chrysovalantis Stamelos, a teacher and filmmaker who has made the city his home after his own journey there to discover his ancestral roots.
One of the group’s most important visits was to Smyrna’s newly opened Greek Consulate, which is located on the same harbor where thousands of Greeks lost their lives in the 1922 fires.
Excursions such as these fulfill an important part of our annual summer volunteer program, which not only aims to teach young adults about service and philanthropy, but also immerse them in the history and culture of Greece.
Please consider making a donation to help more young North Americans experience Greece in such a profound way.