Inspiring giving in the next generation: I Care & Act
November 4, 2019
The Hellenic Initiative Australia 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 last year, with 14,152 students and 1167 teachers participating 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 The Hellenic Initiative Australia President, Nicholas G Pappas AM.
“It is wonderful to see the 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,” Mr Pappas said.
This is the third year that the program is being supported by The Hellenic Initiative Australia, which is providing an AU$40,000 grant for the 2019-20 school year. THI Australia has provided a total of AU$100,000 for the program since 2017.
I Care & Act is implemented by the Desmos Non-Profit Foundation and the Lambrakis Foundation. 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 The Hellenic Initiative 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.”
Since the program was launched in 2015, I Care & Act has trained more than 3,800 teachers at 511 public schools across Greece, working with 52,500 students and thousands of parents on wide-ranging community projects.
Through a combination of academic and experiencial learning in their classroom and their communities, students discover the power of cooperation and partnerships and their potential to make positive change in the world around them.
“In an age appropriate way, teachers familiarise students with notions such as philanthropy, giving and civic engagement and discuss ways in which they can become actively involved in their own village or neighbourhood,” says Ms Papalexopoulou. “They come up with projects, then go out there and they accomplish them… they go read to the blind, plant a tree, clean a beach, help someone in need.”
I Care & Act has developed original educational material designed for all grades from kindergarten to high school, as well as special education schools, with a range of free tools and materials available online (www.noiazomaikaidrw.gr).
“The Hellenic Initiative Australia has been a most valued partner in this innovative educational program and this long journey towards building a brighter future for Greece,” Ms Papalexopoulou says.