The year gone by, 2021, was full of challenges globally, locally and personally since the Covid-19 crisis and its impact were/are responsible for causing a lot of fear, uncertainty and anxiety across the planet. With the disruption of work schedules, family routines, and economic instability, it is understandable that in one way or another, each one of us is suffering.
We, at the American Women’s Organization of Greece, while living in these extraordinary times, have done our very best to meet these challenges head-on and to continue with our mission of helping those in need. Here you can read about the highlights of AWOG’s year and see how much we were able to accomplish under duress. As we look ahead to the current year, 2022, our fervent hope is that with the support of our sponsors, we will achieve even more! May we all have a healthy, joyous and productive year!
2021 COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRIBUTIONS
Following AWOG’s 2020 online Christmas Bazaar, Community Services met in January of 2021 and resolved to make a 500 (five hundred) Euro donation to each of the institutions listed below:
- Aghios Giorgios Day Care Center
- Argo –Children with Special Needs
- Kivotos tis Agapis – Patra
- Lighthouse for the Blind
- Penelopean Day Care Center
- The American College of Greece (scholarship fund)
- The American Farm School (scholarship fund)
HEART PILLOW PROJECT
During 2021 the AWOG Heart Pillow Project continued at full speed, with donations of Heart Pillows to the following hospitals in Attiki:
- 251 Airforce Hospital
- Aghioi Anargyroi Oncology Hospital in Nea Kifisia
- Aretaieion Hospital
- Iatriko Kentro in Marousi
- Metaxa Oncology Hospital
- Navy Hospital
Furthermore, Heart Pillows were also donated to hospitals north, south, east and west of Attiki:
- General Hospital of Corfu Aghia Irene
- General Hospital of Dydimoticho
- General Hospital of Mytilini Vostaneio
- General Hospital of Rhodes Andreas Papandreou
- Nomarchiako Hospital of Kalamata
The total number of Heart Pillow donations for 2021 comes to 502!
The hospital directors and staff doctors who accepted the pillows from AWOG members were very appreciative and thankful for AWOG’s support and concern for the well-being of mastectomy patients.
AWOG LITERARY CLUB
The Literary Club continued its monthly meetings on Zoom where a wide variety of pieces was discussed. Below is a list of authors whose writings we talked about, sometimes in detail, but often using them as a basis for going off on tangents, always relating the readings to our own lives.
Short stories by:
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
- March—Women’s Day (texts by Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sarah Grimke)
- Nadine Gordimer
- Shirley Jackson
- Etgar Keret
- Roald Dahl
- Alice Walker
- Dylan Thomas—read on one’s own
- Ernest Hemingway
- Paul Auster
- Tobias Wolff
After reading memoirs by Hemingway, Auster and Wolff, some AWOG members wrote their own memoir pieces which were “published” in our monthly Bulletin and were appreciated by all.
2021 SPECIAL EVENTS
- In celebration of Women’s Day, the AWOG Literary Club met on March 8 to discuss American women who stood up for women’s rights as early as the late 1790s.
- Our first international, special event took place on March 23, as a commemoration to the beginning of the Greek Revolution of 1821. A lecture was organized and presented via ZOOM on Philhellenism which was “attended” by many people from Greece but also from other parts of the world.
There was a greeting by Cindy Harvey, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy, Athens, followed by the main speaker, Mr. Constantinos Velentzas, who spoke about well-known Philhellenes like Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, but also others less well-known such as George Jarvis, J.P. Miller, David Farragut, and Dr. Howe’s wife, Julia Ward, author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. It was fascinating to learn about the support given to the Greeks through their fundraising and personal involvement in the Greek Revolution. Finally, the event came to an end with comments by two of Dr. Howe’s descendants, Ms. Gillian Kellog and Mr. Nathan Ticknor who joined us from the United States.
Mr. Velentzas, is the founder of the Museum of Philhellenism, Zissimopoulou 12, Neo Psychico, which was ten years in the making and which we hope to be able to visit post-Covid.
- Our next special event of 2021 was also online. Our Bazaar/Fundraiser, with the help of our sponsors, Anamnesia, Anniq, Greka Icons, Lexikopoleio, Nafpliotis Crystal (Glassious), Old Orient, and Parthenis) was held in early April and we were delighted to raise enough money so that Lighthouse for the Blind in Kallithea was finally able to realize their dream: to produce Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey in Braille for their library.
- Finally, in December of 2021, we held our second online Christmas Bazaar with lots of handmade items by AWOG members and the help of four sponsors—Eleni Marneri Galerie, Octopus, OK Anytime Markets, and Tolis Bakery—and once again, we were very fortunate to have raised enough funds to support some of our charities.