ATHENS – When the Order of AHEPA planted roots in the homeland, its philanthropic dimension captured the hearts and minds of many of its members, and on December 13 Pericles Chapter HJ-10 gathered both for holiday fellowship and to raise funds for the children’s aid organization “Αγιος Πολύκαρπος Σμύρνης – St. Polykarp of Smyrna.”
Pericles chapter President Bardis Goniotakis-Korderas warmly welcomed the guests and introduced the few speakers who briefly spoke at the pleasant reception that was held at the Marriott Athens Hotel on Sygrou Boulevard.
Special invitations were extended both to local officials such as the mayor of Paleo Faliro, Giannis Fostiropoulos, and to the neighboring Attiki region AHEPA chapter, Solon HJ-04, whose president George Malamo, expressed thanks for the invitation for the chapter to share the Christmas spirit with their Pericles AHEPA brothers.
The St. Polykarp society provides long term housing for children who are victims of abusing parents or otherwise endured bad home environments.
Goniotakis-Korderas said “we here tonight mainly to help the children of St. Polycarp. We are raising funds to buy heating oil for the home and the 22 children who live there.” He then asked the Society’s treasurer, Dimitrios Kasimis, to speak about its mission.
Kasimis first thanked the Ahepans for their support and then said, “our society protects children, some as young as four years old up through high school, whom we rescue from dangerous homes. We have groups of two, three even four siblings – but in the home they are all brothers and sisters. Their parents are often in prison, subject to drug addictions and other personal problems. They have nobody else in their lives. Where would they go if we did not help them, but they feel lucky to be able to grow up with us. We are all volunteers except for the cleaning woman and the children lack for nothing. We invite you to visit us any time in Nea Smyrni. You should know that whatever you can contribute makes a difference.”
Also present was former U.S. Consul General in Thessaloniki Alec Mally, and after offering his greetings, Pericles vice president Nikos Papadopoulos announced that during the next visit to Athens of the Global AHEPA leadership the chapter will host a Taverna Night on January 16 in honor of Supreme President George Horiates.