NEW YORK – Loukoumi, the loveable lamb featured in the famous children’s book series written by attorney Nick Katsoris, inspired the Loukoumi and Friends Concert that will be presented 6 and 8 PM on June 23 at New York City’s Scholastic Theatre. The concert features performances by Gloria Gaynor, Constantine Maroulis, Anna Vissi and Kalomira, and Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis will read from the stage.
The event will benefit the Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation Katsoris has created “to teach kids to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.”
For tickets and information visit www.loukoumi.com or call 212-397-2804.
Loukoumi was conceived when Katsoris, never a big fan of the sticky popular Greek sweet, turned to his wife Voula one day and said, “can I have a loukoumi, loukoumi?” A light bulb lit up and he said: “Wouldn’t that be a good name for a children’s book character?”
The birth of their son Constantine – he was later joined by his sister Julia – prompted him to produce the series’ first book, titled Loukoumi.
Friends in the community encouraged him to write again, leading to Growing up with Loukoumi, which was narrated by Olympia Dukakis – the first of many celebrities to lend their voices to Katsoris’ characters.
“That book teaches kids that if they work hard and believe in themselves their dreams will come true. That’s what happened to me.”
Now he makes kids’ dream days come true. For example, he said, “A little girl got to see a spaceship land on Mars when we took her to mission control in California, a kid to play soccer with the New York Red Bulls.
Every October Katsoris runs a program along with Philoptochos and Kiwanis clubs called Make a Difference with Loukoumi, which is part USA Weekend’s National Make a Difference Day. “Three million people go out and do various service projects. 20,000 kids last October read his book Loukoumi’s Good Deeds and then go out and do good deeds.
That led to his family receiving USA Weekend’s National Make a Difference Day awards on the Today Show. The company Newman’s Own donated $10,000 for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, which receives the proceeds from the Loukoumi books.
Katsoris then realized the project needs to be expanded to reach more kids, which led to a Fall TV special that will air on FOX stations October 19.
October is also national bullying prevention month. His newest book, Loukoumi and the Schoolyard Bully, which is narrated by Nia Vardalis and the show will include a cartoon segment about it.
Another highlight will be a segment about a child who gets to live their dream career day. Katsoris said prior to attending the June 23, concert, children ages 5-14 will submitting videos explaining what they want to be when they grow up and one lucky winner will be selected that night for the TV show. The message to kids will be “you can do it too.”