Within the framework of the collaboration between the Philanthropic Organization of the Archbishopric of Athens, “Apostoli”, and the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation”, on 23 February His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece and UNESCO Good Will Ambassador Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis visited the “DIMITREIO” Children’s Creative Activity Centre in Moschato, where 60 children, from 6 to 12 years of age, from socially vulnerable families, are fed daily, after school, and take part in educational, interactive and creative programmes.
Archbishop Ieronymos and Mrs. Vardinoyannis received a warm welcome from the Centre’s children, volunteers and staff, who expressed their heartfelt thanks for the visit.
“Apostoli” Director Konstantinos Dimtsas, welcoming Mrs. Vardinoyannis, said: “We want to express our gratitude for the ongoing support from you and your family for the children and our country. There are many needs, but our primary goal is education and training, and that is why we will create two centres similar to the Dimitreio centre: one in Tavros and one in Ioannina.”
The Archbishop and Mrs. Vardinoyannis were taken on a tour of the “DIMITREIO” Centre, which is housed in a beautiful three-storey building on Agiou Konstantinou St., ate with the children, saw the creative and recreational spaces, and distributed gifts from the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation” and coats through the Foundation’s “We Care” Programme.
Mrs. Vardinoyannis, moved by the heartfelt welcome, as well as by the centre’s warmth, stated: “Today was one of the most beautiful days of my life, and I thank you for the warmth with which you welcomed me here.”
And addressing the Archbishop, who did her the honour of inviting her to visit the “DIMITREIO” with him, she congratulated him on the humanitarian, creative and cultural work being done “in this blessed space” and said: “I cannot find words to describe how moved, honoured and happy I am to be here in this space today, in this beautiful and colourful hive of education, creativity, culture and charity. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos for his invitation, which I had desired for some time now, to meet you in person and share these special moments. At the same time, I feel humbled before you, before the pious work he does and the hope he bestows on our whole society. I thank him and feel very fortunate that he his our spiritual guide, because the light of his initiatives shows us the way to contribution and solidarity. I am truly moved by the great work being done by “Apostoli” and by all of the Centre’s staff and volunteers …”
The Archbishop thanked her for her kind words and added: “Mrs. Vardinoyannis loves children very much. She loves all of the world’s children as she loves her own children and grandchildren. So I told Mrs. Vardinoyannis that we too have good children who play lovingly, and she said she wanted to meet them, so I invited her to come.”
Wanting to express their joy and gratitude at her visit and her gifts, the children gave her a painting they had made for the children of “ELPIDA” and a book entitled “Once upon a Time.”
The Mayor of Moschato-Tavros, Andreas Efthymiou, and the Governor of “Agia Sophia” Children’s Hospital, Manolis Papasavvas, were present during the visit from the Archbishop and Mrs. Vardinoyannis.
The “DIMITREIO” Children’s Creative Activity Centre (KDAP) was founded by “Apostoli” and opened in October 2013 for the purpose of guaranteeing children’s access to high-quality programmes within their community. Through the Centre’s after-school programmes, parents and guardians can ensure that their children have a safe and creative environment in which to partake in activities after the end of the school day.
The KDAP provides learning opportunities for children and their parents, offering innovative creative activities that enrich and supplement traditional learning programmes. Art, rhythmic gymnastics and traditional dances, music, chorus, crafts, gardening, icon painting, weaving and drama games are a few of the creative activity departments operating at the centre. The members of the educational and support staff do their very best to ensure the excellent functioning of the programme, which was designed to provide care for the children and their families.
Earlier the same day, Mrs. Vardinoyannis visited the Model Gerontology Centre in Dilesi and the Children’s Holiday Camps being constructed in Malakasa on the initiative of the Archbishopric of Athens’s Philanthropic Organization “Apolstoli”. She was received their by Archbishop Ieronymos, who informed her that the Model Gerontology Centre is being created to provide relief for the aged, while the holiday camps, which will operate year round, will host primary and secondary school students from Attiki and other parts of Greece.