LEXINGTON, MA – Greek Group Tutoring (GGT) of Lexington, MA is a private afternoon enrichment program for children ages 5-15. Its educational mission is to provide an inclusive learning environment that embraces and instills the values of the Greek language, history, culture, traditions and Hellenic ideals. GGT strives to educate the whole child both academically and socially by teaching the importance of Philanthropia, responsibility, respect, honesty, and kindness through lessons, discussions and activities. During this difficult holiday season marked by the COVID pandemic, GGT chose to turn these lessons into actions by connecting with Joyce Deliyiannis, founder of HELPIS, (ELPIS or Hope) a charitable organization that supports families in need by encouraging charitable deeds by groups and individuals.
As noted in a recent article in the Boston Herald, HELPIS regularly provides much-needed supplies to an array of individuals and organizations in the greater Boston area. It was through this connection with Deliyiannis that GGT were able to turn classroom lessons into real life experiences and internalize the true meaning of Philanthropia and Christmas.
On a chilly, November day, students gathered in the driveway of a GGT family during a socially distanced activity and prepared 120 gift bags for homeless children. These acts of kindness and caring continued as GGT embarked on even larger charitable endeavor by establishing a Giving Tree in support of HELPIS and its mission. GGT families, teachers, friends, and most importantly, students joined together to support three local Greek families, struggling to put food on the table, pay rent and medical bills, buy diapers, wipes, and essentials to keep their children and themselves warm during the winter. Through the generosity and love of its members, GGT was able to fulfill all of the basic needs of these families as well as the Christmas wishes of their children. In December, students and families delivered the clothes, toys, and supplies as they experienced the joy of giving while meeting with Deliyiannis and her volunteers. A classroom lesson of caring and giving had become a reality as Deliyiannis shared stories about the struggles and hardships of these families and children in need. As the children listened intently, it was apparent that the impact of these stories provided a sense of compassion and empathy to GGT students as noted in their comments included below:
Alexandros, 2nd grade: "I felt happy and joyful to give rather than receive! It was very nice to meet Joyce and see how much she helps children. She is spreading Santa's magic!"
Evangelina, Kindergarten: "I was so happy to help and give to other kids. Christmas is about giving and helping! I want to give and help more!" Her Mom added, “She started putting clothes and toys in a `donation box' proudly after our visit for other children to enjoy!”
Sotirios, 4th grade: “I am now very grateful to get presents on Christmas. It felt so good that I could give something to make many kids joyful this Christmas. The same way it makes me feel on Christmas morning. The stories that Ms. Joyce told us really inspired me to think about all the kids that don't have the same opportunities as everyone.”
Georgia, 4th grade: “It makes me feel so happy and grateful that I could give back to families in need. The stories that Ms. Joyce said made me realize that even the smallest gift can change a kid's life.”
Aki, 6th grade: “GGT did a giving tree where people play Santa for a family in need. It felt good and I enjoyed it. I learned not to take anything for granted. Joyce is the most kind person I ever met and her stories of people she has helped made me want to do more and give back to all the people who are in need.”
Amanda, 2nd grade: “I felt happy because families got gifts for Christmas. I would love to be able to see these families open up their gifts to see the smiles on their faces. Makes me want to do more.”
Elaine Kakambouras, GGT Director of Education, shared the update on the charitable efforts, noting that GGT thanked Deliyiannis and the volunteers of HELPIS “for the opportunity to give back to our community, and to instill understanding and kindness in our children in a meaningful way. While this pandemic has been devastating and deadly to many, it has brought to light how fortunate we are as a community, and has taught us that small acts of kindness can make a huge difference in others' lives. Wishing a Happy and Healthy New Year to all.”
More information about GGT is available online: https://www.ggtutoring.com/