The Hellenic Initiative (THI) Australia has announced that it has increased its support for I Care & Act, a visionary education program that is cultivating the values of volunteerism, charity, solidarity and active citizenship among school children in Greece.

I Care & Act (Nοιάζομαι και Δρω) was implemented in 172 primary and secondary schools across Greece in 2018, with 14,152 students and 1,167 teachers participating in classroom and community-based initiatives. Schools worked with 870 civil organisations on a range of projects and activities, including visiting aged care homes, cleaning beaches, taking care of stray animals, creating community libraries and projects with refugee children.

“I Care & Act is an important and progressive educational program that is making a deep and lasting impact on the next generation, inspiring students to become active and engaged citizens,” said THI Australia President, Nicholas G Pappas AM.

“It is wonderful to see students motivating their families and local communities to collaborate in their volunteer projects and we are proud to be supporting this program for another year.”

This is the third year THI Australia is supporting the program, with a $40,000 grant for the 2019-20 school year.

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Implemented by the Desmos Non-Profit Foundation and the Lambrakis Foundation five years ago, the 2019-20 I Care & Act program was launched in Athens on 2 November during a two-day conference featuring school presentations and workshops for teachers participating in the program.

“I Care & Act is a visionary, aspirational program aiming at nothing less than changing the mentality of giving in Greece,” said Desmos Vice-President, Lena Papalexopoulou, who has been the driving force behind the program.

Ms Papalexopoulou had the opportunity to share her vision for I Care & Act during THI Australia’s ‘Rising to the Challenge – Greece at the crossroads of social change’ event series, where her message resonated with Greek Australians.

“The two most significant things the students take from this program is experiencing the joy of giving and feeling a sense of empowerment, that they can make a difference and that is the best ammunition we can give to our kids to adopt giving as a way of life,” Ms Papalexopoulou said.

“We hope that one day I Care & Act will become part of the national school curriculum, inspiring every student to make our world a better place.”