The New York-based Greek America Foundation has opened applications for its annual Greek America Corps volunteer program which sends U.S. and Canadian young adults to Greece to volunteer with local charities serving vulnerable populations.
Since summer 2017, the program has sent dozens of students and young professionals to offer their time and talents to humanitarian causes while immersing themselves in modern Greek culture and society.
The foundation has planned five separate programs for summer 2023, including one in Athens, one on the island of Chios, two in Thessaloniki and a new program focusing on the local environment in Hania, on the island of Crete.
Programs serve vulnerable population groups, including homeless people, unaccompanied refugee minors and disenfranchised youth. The new program in Crete, a partnership with Old Dominion University and Greek organization Aegean Rebreath will focus on harbor and coastal clean up activities, ghost nets collection from reefs and research activities.
Up to 40 volunteer spots are available. Full scholarships that cover all program costs (excluding airfare) are available for applicants with financial need and the target age of participants is between 18 and 25 years old.
For U.S./Canadian college students, an option to receive three college credits is available via the Hellenic American University in Athens, a U.S.-accredited institution of higher learning. The university allows credits to be transferred back to the student’s home institution.
“This experience is something that very, very few people could ever dream to talk about or to experience,” George, a volunteer from Queens, New York, said.
“[This program] even made me reconsider my career path… Just the thought that such a short program could do something like that I guess really shows the impact of what we’re doing here,” Anthony, a volunteer from Columbia, Maryland, said.
“It’s also taught me that you can do a lot even if you have a little. You can show somebody that their life is worth something and that they matter with things like empathy, kindness and compassion,” Veronica, a volunteer from Sacramento, California, said.