WASHINGTON, DC – The Daughters of Penelope (DOP), a leading international service organization comprised of women of Hellenic heritage and Philhellenes, has launched a national project series which included weekly webinars on each of their national projects through February. The sixth webinar of the series was about the Penelopean Day Care Center in Athens, Greece, and live streamed on February 18, with DOP Karyatides No. 271 Past Chapter President and 1st Counselor of the Penelopean Day Care Center Board Veronica Tsalta.
The Penelopean Day Care Center was founded on April 4, 1958, with funds raised by the DOP Karyatides Chapter No. 271 in Athens, the graduates of the Women’s American College of Constantinople, and DOP Chapters in the United States. From 1958-1975, its mission was to shelter girls age 12 or older at moral risk. In 1975, the center became and remains to this day, a nursing and day care center for children eight months to preschool aged children of underprivileged families with low or no income. It has a maximum capacity of 140 children.
Tsalta said, “The children at the Penelopean stay from 7 AM to 4 PM and receive, apart from feeding and rest, education that includes games and sports, drawing and craftsmanship activities, musical and theatrical performances, discussions for speech development, social and environmental behavior, gardening, and simple physics experiments. The personnel of the Penelopean consists of 20 employees: nursery educators, childcare and baby assistants, theatrical activities educator, cooks, and janitorial personnel. The major source of funding is provided by a European Union welfare program and the Greek government. The Penelopean also relies on private donations to cover its operational costs and building maintenance. We are truly blessed and thankful to the Daughters of Penelope Chapters and Sisters around the world who help support the Penelopean Day Care Center, especially during this COVID era. Funds received from the Daughters of Penelope have helped maintain, update, and add to vital areas of the center in addition to the playground.”
The Penelopean Day Care Center building in Nea Ionia, Athens. Photo: Elena Saviolakis
Guest panelists, in addition to Karyatides Past Chapter President Tsalta, included DOP Grand President Celia Kachmarski, Grand Secretary Georgette Boulegeris, Grand Governor Kathy Matrakas, and Executive Director Elena Saviolakis.
Grand President Kachmarski said, “The Penelopean Day Care Center has been a long time national project of the Daughters of Penelope and we are proud to continue supporting it. We also appreciate and commend the Daughters of Penelope Karyatides Chapter for all their hard work and support to ensure it is properly maintained and operated so as to support these children and families in need.”
The seventh and final webinar of the national project series took place on Thursday, February 25, about Meals on Wheels America with President & CEO Ellie Hollander and Chief Development Officer Kristine Templin.
Children at the Penelopean Day Care Center learned to understand COVID through drawing and arts and crafts. Photo: Elena Saviolakis
Founded in San Francisco in 1929, the Daughters of Penelope is the first women’s organization of its kind established in the United States. It is an affiliate organization of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA). The mission of the DOP is to promote the ancient Greek ideals of Hellenism, Education, Philanthropy, Civic Responsibility, and Family and Individual Excellence.
More information is available online: www.daughtersofpenelope.org.