The Pappas Post is proud to support an effort by the New York-based charity Greek America, in its effort to raise funds for Kivotos Tou Kosmou, or Ark of the World, a remarkable orphanage and family center based in Athens, with two additional facilities in northern Greece and on the island of Chios. The organization is hosting a masquerade celebration called The Blue Ball on March 5 in New York City.
Furthermore, for those unable to attend but who still want to support the charity, a crowd-funding campaign has been established via Generosity by Indiegogo. Click here to donate.
1) Ark of the World was founded to be a safe place for abandoned children of Greece in Kolonos, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods of the city in 1998 by a then 26-year-old priest who believed his true calling or ministry wasn’t inside the temple of church where he was preaching, but in the streets. Because every child should have a safe place to turn in his/her time of crisis or need.
2) Fr. Antonios shies away awards and recognition. “Volunteerism is a tangible action of love and therefore shouldn’t be awarded,” he once said. Despite his personal aversion to awards, he does accept awards for the charity’s work. Two Presidents of Greece recognized Ark for its work, as has UNESCO and the Academy of Athens.
3) Ark of the World received international spotlight and headlines when it became the “go-to” place for disadvantaged families to abandon their children that they could no longer afford to raise. This story from the British Daily Mail shocked the world.
4) Currently in the direct care of Ark are 200 children— infants to 18 years old— and although the vast majority are Greek, children from all walks of life and religious backgrounds were welcomed.
5) Ark is supported by dozens of volunteers who contribute thousands of hours annually to make it a safe place, relieving them of poverty, hunger, illnesses, misery, exploitation and illiteracy.
6) Although Ark’s main focus is the well-being of abandoned children, emphasis is also placed on keeping families together and when possible, not institutionalizing children— but keeping them with their mothers. Homeless and no income mothers, are supported financially on a monthly basis (rent, water and electricity bills etc.). Moreover, these mothers are helped to find a job in order to stand on their own two feet and be responsible for their children.
7) Ark is trusted for its transparency with its financial support by some of Greece’s most prominent institutions, including Olympiacos Athleteic Club, OTE Telecommunications, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and other corporations and foundations. Despite this, the increased need makes funding key to maintain the organization’s services that it provides to an increasing number of abandoned children in the country.
8) The children at Ark are taught compassion and love— first and foremost. Many of the first admissions in 1998 are now university students, all of whom are back at Ark volunteering, since being welcomed into society on their own.
9) Ark’s kindergarten class, although mostly comprised of Greek children, currently has students from a dozen countries. They fondly refer to it as the “United Nations Kindergarten.”
10) And perhaps the biggest reason we’re supporting this center is that Greece’s children are her future— and Greece deserves a future, just as these children do.