Based on the success of the 2017 Service Learning program for college students, the Greek America Foundation is launching a Family Service Learning program for high school or college-aged students and their parents in 2018 in Lesvos, Greece.
The program is organized with our local partners Iliaktida, a social welfare organization that provides accommodation, protection, and services to vulnerable populations in Lesvos, Northern Greece, and Athens.
Iliaktida helps children get out of the refugee camps and into shelters where they can receive medical, legal, and educational support.
Our program will offer participants the opportunity to engage meaningfully with refugee children and families under the aegis of the Iliaktida support system.
Specifically, the volunteers will work at two Iliaktida facilities:
The Gekko School for Unaccompanied Minors which provides language, arts, athletics, and IT instruction. Volunteers will assist the teachers and support staff with learning modules and daily activities.
The new Blue Dot Children and Family Support Hub located close to the Moria refugee camp. Blue Dot hubs are an initiative of the UN High Commission on Refugees and the European Commission which aim to provide recreation, social and medical support and advice for mothers with babies and small children or unaccompanied refugee children.
The program’s mission is to promote volunteerism, self-growth, and cross-cultural understanding among Greek-American high school and college students and their parents while supporting vulnerable children in Greece. Our specific goals are to:
-Offer Greek-American high school students an opportunity to serve those in need in Greece.
-Help students and parents understand the complex global phenomenon of the refugee crisis through personal interaction.
-Provide a meaningful and rewarding experience for volunteers and the people they serve.
Note: High school students must participate in the program accompanied by a parent or a legal guardian assigned by a parent. College students 18 years or older do not need supervision.
All volunteers will work at the Gekkos School or Blue Dot hub; we are not able to arrange a custom volunteer experience for parents. The reason for including parents together with students is to foster a sense of family bonding through service and cross-cultural interactions. The parents will not be asked to be group leaders or chaperones, as there will be staff on site both from the Greek America Foundation and Iliaktida.
The program begins on the island of Lesvos on July 1, 2018 and concludes on Sunday, July 22, 2018 and includes lodging, most meals, daily transportation to the volunteer centers and numerous excursions and activities during free time.