Summer 2020 marks 25 years of service in Greece, with a special anniversary team in Crete (July 18- August 1) to commemorate this milestone! Register now to enjoy meaningful work with students at a summer English program, and be a part of special cultural events for an authentic and stimulating celebration, Greek-style. OPA!!!
Global Volunteers’ Development Partnerships in Greece
Global Volunteers was first invited to serve in Greece in late 1995, by leaders in the small Cretan mountain village of Roustika. We taught conversational English skills to children and adults in the community until 2000, when we accepted two new invitations; to teach in schools and hotels in the coastal city of Georgioupolis/Argyoupolis in Rethymnon, and to care for physically and mentally challenged children and adults in Siderokastro, a small town in the foothills of the Kerkini Mountains, 20 miles from the Bulgarian border in the North of Greece.
Our 15-Year Partnership with Malevizi/Heraklion
Our program expanded again, when in 2005, the municipality of Gazi (now known as Malevizi) Greece, invited Global Volunteers into schools to provide two-week summer programs teaching conversational English to local elementary students. Gradually over the years, and as our partnership strengthened, Global Volunteers was asked to assist with new projects. The two summer programs evolved into 11 programs per year. At the request of our community partners, teams of volunteers now teach 5 two-week sessions of English summer school during June, July and August, and help out at local English schools on 6 programs during the spring/ autumn months. While conversational English is the main service project in Crete, in 2013, the Women’s Association of Heraklion requested our volunteer help in a shelter for abused women and children, and in 2016, the Mayor’s office of Heraklion has requested our assistance with refugee projects.
“I am thankful that our friendship and passion for children, education, and service led us to Crete. We are confident in knowing we’ve left our imprint on this microcosm of the universe; the children of Malevizi replenishing our spirits. We will wake up tomorrow and think of their faces, wishing them well and remembering the bonds that were made.”– Antoya Shuler (summer school volunteer)
Scenes from Global Volunteers Summer School
“The students are full of energy, curiosity, and eagerness to learn. We are exploring the island; there are so many interesting locations to see. We meet the nicest people in town and in villages! Our meals have been traditional Greek foods. They are delicious! The sky is blue, such a startlingly clear blue. The flowers are varied and colorful. The Aegean Sea speaks to me of eternity. I seem to hear the voices of the ancients as I look to the mountains, to the islands, and to the olive trees. This island has such history and I think the land itself speaks of joy, sadness, and hope, if one can listen. I am grateful to be here to discover bits of Western civilization. My goal is to contribute in my own tiny way. Perhaps my efforts will be helpful somehow. I know I will leave Crete a changed person.”– Kathy Poffenbarger (autumn program volunteer)
Scenes from Global Volunteers Spring/Autumn Program
Special Cultural Events to Celebrate the Anniversary
Come and be part of our special anniversary team from July 18th– August 1st honoring 25 years of Global Volunteers’ service in Greece. Highlights of this anniversary program include lectures on Greek mythology and history, Cretan cuisine & traditions, and the plight of refugees. We’ll also be featuring cooking classes, Greek dancing lessons and dinner in a Cretan mountain village. For the final celebration? OPA! Nothing less than an authentic Cretan “gledy” (party) with live Cretan music, dancing (performed by the local children) and homemade Cretan delicacies by the Women’s Association. Special guests will be county government representatives, community partners, English teachers and parents. Both current and former students are planning a testimony to the long-term success of the Global Volunteers program in Greece. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enjoy all of Crete’s beauty and hospitality.
“We are a part of these children’s history. They may remember 5 to 20 years from now that we had teachers coming from across the world to have an impact on my life. Little do they know they made an impact on ours as well! As we’ve traveled around the world to be with them for a week, we know that they will forever be in our hearts. We may never see them again unless there’s a stroke of good luck in the universe for us all to meet again. But until then, we’ve taught, we’ve learned, we’ve loved. And none of that can be taken for granted. We have been more than fulfilled through this experience.”– Stephanie (summer school volunteer)