The New York City-based Greek America Foundation is seeking applicants to fill more than 60 spots for its Greek America Corps volunteer programs in Greece during summer 2020.
Five programs ranging from one week to one month long will take place throughout Greece between early June and the end of July. The programs aim to provide aid in various sectors including homelessness, animal welfare and the refugee crisis, among others.
Each program consists of numerous volunteer duties but also includes cultural immersion experiences such as excursions to historic, religious or otherwise significant sites — as well as local celebrations and festivities.
Accredited local partners such as non-profit organizations and government officials have partnered with the Greek America Foundation to host its volunteers and provide additional support on the ground.
Locations for the programs include Athens, Thessaloniki, Karpathos and Kasos islands and Chios island.
Summer 2020 will mark the Greek America Foundation’s third edition of the Greek America Corps volunteer program, which began in 2017 in Athens with The Home Project, a network of shelters for unaccompanied refugee minors.
In 2019 the foundation partnered with METAdrasi, a Greek charity which provides various services and support for unaccompanied refugee minors — children who have ended up in Greece by themselves after fleeing their countries of origin.
Volunteers from the trip referred to it as a “life-changing experience” and said they would remember it for a lifetime.
“I know that what I’m doing here now is going to not only stick with me for the rest of my life, but also with the people that I’ve been working with — both volunteers and the children,” said Harrison Ungert, a student from the University of North Carolina (Asheville). “I know my heart’s been touched and I strongly believed that theirs have been as well.”
“I think that our impact on [the children] has been huge and I hope that it’ll carry on past the program.” said Nicholas Ambus, a recent graduate from Arizona State University. “I think just the satisfaction of knowing that we made a difference in some lives has made me feel really good about doing this program.”
Watch more volunteer testimonies
Since its inception in 1997, the Greek America Foundation has raised and given millions of dollars in scholarships and internships for young people and organized various cultural events in North America. But the organization’s founder, Gregory Pappas, said that Greek America Corps has now become its most important program.
“Young people today — call them ‘millennials,’ call them ‘gen x-ers’ or call them whatever you want — but they want meaningful experiences and we’re giving them just that,” Pappas said. “It’s a beautiful way not only to teach them about values like philanthropy, charity and volunteerism, but it also familiarizes them with Greece in such a special way.”