ΟΙ ΣΥΛΛΟΓΟΙ ΛΟΓΓΑΣΤΡΑΣ ΜΥΣΤΡΑ ΚΑΙ ΜΑΓΟΥΛΑΣ ΣΕ ΚΟΙΝΗ ΕΚΔΗΛΩΣΗ
Με την παρουσία του Δημάρχου Μυστρά Σταύρου Αργειτάκου πραγματοποιήθηκε στο κέντρο Κρύσταλ Πάλλας κοινή χοροεσπερίδα των ομογενειακών συλλόγων Λογγάστρας, Μυστρά και Μαγούλας. Κατά την εκδήλωση διαβάστηκαν μηνύματα που είχαν στείλει ο Σεβασμιότατος Μητροπολίτης Σπάρτης κ.κ. Ευστάθιος, ο Υπουργός Δικαιοσύνης Μιχ. Σταθόπουλος και η Πρόεδρος της Παλλακωνικής Ομοσπονδίας ΗΠΑ-Καναδά Αθηνά Κονιδιτσιώτη. Τους πολυάριθμους παρευρεθέντες καλωσόρισε ο Πρόεδρος Λογγαστριτών Νικόλαος Νικολόπουλος και ο Δήμαρχος Μυστρά Σταύρος Αργειτάκος. Ακολούθησε γλέντι μέχρι τις πρωϊνές ώρες.
ΟΜΟΓΕΝΗΣ ΓΥΘΕΑΤΗΣ «ΦΩΤΙΖΕΙ» ΤΟΝ ΣΤΑΘΜΟ ΜΕΤΡΟ ΑΜΠΕΛΟΚΗΠΩΝ
Όσοι έτυχε να ταξιδέψουν με το ΜΕΤΡΟ στην Αθήνα, σίγουρα εντυπωσιάστηκαν για το νέο μεταφορικό μέσο που απέκτησε η πρωτεύουσα. Είναι πράγματι επιβλητικό, γρήγορο, καθαρό και ενδιαφέρον. Ενδιαφέρον γιατί κάθε σταθμός, κοσμείται και από μία ομάδα εκθεμάτων ή έργο κάποιου γνωστού καλλιτέχνη. Αυτό όμως που πολλοί δεν ξέρουν ότι στον σταθμό των Αμπελοκήπων, ο υπόγειος χώρος είναι γεμάτος με φως και χρώμα. Φως που διαχέεται με σωλήνες νέον, δημιούργημα του ομογενή Στήβεν (Στέφανου) Αντωνάκου. «Με το άναμμα ενός διακόπτη, ο υπόγειος σταθμός στους Αμπελοκήπους έγινε ολόκληρος ένας χώρος τέχνης, γεμάτος χρώμα και φως»…(Τα Νέα 4/1/2001). Γεννημένος το 1926 στο Γύθειο ακολούθησε πολύ μικρός τους μετανάστες γονείς του στη Νέα Υόρκη όπου μεγάλωσε και δούλεψε. Γνωστότατος στο εξωτερικό, αλλά άγνωστος στην Ελλάδα, έχει κάνει έργα σε πολλούς σταθμούς Μετρό του κόσμου, καθώς επίσης και σε λεωφόρους, σε αεροδρόμια, σε μουσεία και σε διεθνείς εκθέσεις. Όπως χαρακτηριστικά είπε και ο ίδιος «ήθελα να δείξω στην πατρίδα μου τι είναι αυτό που έχω κάνει όλα αυτά τα χρόνια».
First off all, we would like to wish all of our readers and “patriotes” a very happy New Year, with good health, happiness, and peace to you and your families. We hope everyone had a great and safe holiday season and that everyone enjoyed the festivities, wherever they reside.
In this edition we will cover the various events held recently by the Skoura-Varvitsa Brotherhood, both in the United States and Canada, as well as other Greek organizations. In addition, we will have a featured article on the former Mayor of San Francisco, George Christopher, who passed away a few months ago.
SKOURA-VARVITSA BROTHERHOOD OF MONTREAL DINNER DANCE
The Skoura-Varvitsa Brotherhood of Montreal, held its annual dinner dance on November 4 at the Palace Reception Hall. There were about 175 people who attended this festive event. The warmth of the Skoura-Varvitsiotes, along with the good food, combined with the elegance of the Palace Reception Hall, made for a fascinating evening. Also, the music that was playing throughout the event made for one great “Skoura-Varvitsiotiko” party.
Christine Vathis, who is the President of the Brotherhood in Montreal gave a speech. The organization decided to publish an annual yearbook, which they handed out during the dinner dance. In addition, they also had a raffle drawing and the grand prize was a trip to Greece. This particular prize was donated by Mr. Ioannis Kourtsounis who is the President of the Cultural Society of Varvitsa and who also has a travel agency in Sparti, Greece. All in all, everyone had a good time, and they were able to see some of their old friends and co-villagers.
Annual Christmas parties are very common around the holidays, and they are organized by many different groups, whether it’s the workplace, family / friends or various clubs and societies. The Skoura-Varvitsa Brotherhood is no exception to this as the US, Toronto and Montreal branches held their annual Christmas Holiday parties.
On Saturday evening December 2, the Skoura-Varvitsiotes of Stamford, Connecticut held a Christmas party, at the church of Archangel, for their respected patriotes in the community. About 100 people turned out for this magnificent and festive event. The admission was free, and there was plenty of good food, deserts, drinks and even music and dancing.
The Christmas party was organized by the Stamford Council of the Brotherhood. It should be noted that the Skoura-Varvitsa Brotherhood currently has four councils. The first one is based in the New York City – Long Island region, the second is in New Jersey, the third in Stamford, and the fourth and most recent one is based in Virginia – Maryland. The council in Stamford came up with the idea of having a Christmas party. They also organized this event for their respected community, in which I would like to mention that they did an excellent job in putting all this together. I would like to congratulate everyone who took part and organized the Christmas party in Stamford. Everything was perfect, the food was great, the people were wonderful and it felt like a family atmosphere, which is something that is shared by all Skoura-Varvitsiotes. It felt like a “coming home” party for the holidays. I also like to add that these events should not be forgotten and that it also benefits our children for they will someday realize the good things being done by the Skoura-Varvitsa Brotherhood.
During the party, speeches were given by myself, Mr. Elias Matheos who is the Secretary of the Skoura-Varvitsa Brotherhood, Nikitas Kounavelis, and by others who are part of the council. They also had a raffle drawing for various prizes. Overall, the Christmas party in Stamford was very successful and hopefully it will become an annual event. In addition, I also hope that the other councils will follow suit in that they too should organize local events for the Skoura-Varvitsiotes in their respected community. The events can be any number of possibilities such as Christmas parties, coffee and cake event, etc. These events if organized properly, can be very successful, in which case it can be done on an annual basis. We will be able to not only bring closer together the Skoura-Varvitsiotes, but we will also be able to communicate to the younger generations that the Skoura-Varvitsa Brotherhood, with its long and proud history and part of their roots, is something they can relate to and that it exists. Stamford took the initiative and paved the road, now its up to the rest of the councils (NY-Long Island, New Jersey, Virginia-Maryland) to start organizing something similar.
The Skoura-Varvitsiotes in Canada also held their annual Christmas parties during the holiday season. Specifically, the children’s Christmas party for the Toronto branch took place on December 10, 2000 at the Greek Community, located at 30 Thorn cliff Park Drive, Toronto, Ontario. As expected, it was a very festive event. Congratulations to the President of the Skoura-Varvitsa Brotherhood in Toronto, Mr. Steven Menegakis and to everyone who organized and put together this holiday affair. The Montreal branch also held their annual Christmas party, but the turnout was not quite what they expected. Still, it was a wonderful event and everyone had a great time. The holiday events are for our children, so that we may bring joy and happiness to them and their families. It is something that they will cherish and remember for the rest of their precious lives.
One of the Greek traditions is to eat vasilopita or sweet bread, during the New Year’s holiday. The Vasilopita is in honor of the celebration of “Agios Vasilis.” With this in mind, many Greek organizations and societies have their annual vasilopita party sometime after the New Year’s holiday. What better way to start off a brand new year, than to get together with family, friends and co-villagers for a nice get together and eat from the same vasilopita.
On Sunday January 28, 2001 the Magoula Society (Laconia) will hold its annual vasilopita party at the Stathako Center in Astoria, New York. The President of the Magoula Society is Mr. Kostas Pavlakos and the organization recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. The time of the party is scheduled to start at 3 pm.
On Sunday February 4, 2001 the Logastra Association will be having its annual vasilopita party at the church of St. Catherine, located in Astoria, N.Y. The President of the Logastra Association is Mr. Takis Nikolopoulos and the organization recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. The time of the party is scheduled to begin at 3 pm.
REMEMBERING GEORGE CHRISTOPHER
This section is devoted to George Christopher, who passed away last September at the age of 92. George Christopher was a hard working devoted politician who always helped out his community and the people he represented. He was a mayor for the city of San Francisco, California and he dramatically helped change the city to what it is today. He was born in the village of Agios Petros, (located in the prefecture of Arcadia), which is just a stone throw away from the village of Varvitsa. His family name was Christopheles, and once he immigrated to the United States, it was changed to Christopher. The family name change was not uncommon for the Greeks who left their homeland for a better lifestyle elsewhere.
Christopher’s family moved to San Francisco when he was about two years old. Later on he graduated from Golden Gate University with an accounting degree. Prior to becoming a politician, Christopher was a successful business entrepreneur in the dairy industry.
His political career began in 1945, when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Four years later, he became the board’s president. In 1955, Christopher decided to run for mayor of San Francisco under the Republican ticket. He not only won the election, but it was also the biggest landslide victory for a San Francisco mayoral election until then. As mayor, he served two terms from 1956 through 1964.
Under his leadership the city of San Francisco became an international city. San Francisco experienced an economic boom during Christopher’s tenure as mayor. He enlarged the city’s international airport, and tried to clean up the police department. He ran an anti-corruption platform, in that he wanted to wipe out corruption and prevent scandals within the police force. During the years as mayor, Christopher would always keep in touch with his constituents and would travel around the city to see if there was anything that needed to be addressed or any problems. With this his popularity flourished, so much so that he became one of the most popular mayors in the city’s history.
Probably one of his biggest accomplishments was his involvement in bringing a Major League baseball team to the city of San Francisco. After the 1957 baseball season, Christopher convinced the then owner of the New York Giants, Horace Stoneham, to relocate his baseball team to San Francisco. They agreed, and in 1958 the Giants baseball team had found a new home, in which they were known as the San Francisco Giants. From the Polo Grounds in New York, the team now played in Candlestick Park in San Francisco. It should be noted that during the same year, the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team also relocated from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, California. It was not easy bringing a major baseball team with a long tradition and a great fan support all the way from one coast to the other. That is why Christopher worked very hard and negotiated very well with the owner of the Giants to bring them over and making this seeming impossible dream a reality.
By the early to mid 1960’s, Christopher decided to try his fate on a higher political position. In 1962, he decided to run for governor of California under the Republican ticket. But he was persuaded to make way for Richard Nixon, who was already a former Vice President of the United States. He accepted to run as lieutenant governor, but the Republicans lost the election for governor of California. As for Nixon, he would run for the highest office in the land in 1968, the Presidency of the United States, in which he won. Nixon would be re-elected as President in 1972. Its interesting to note that the Vice President for most of Nixon’s Presidency was a Greek-American named Spyro Agnew.
In 1966, Christopher again decided to run for governor of California and he went up against Ronald Reagan. Again he was defeated, and his ambition for a higher political position was never realized. Ronald Reagan would later on become President of the United States in 1980, which he held office for two terms. Christopher withdrew from political life after 1966.
George Christopher was a great politician and mayor. He was a true leader who set an example to his colleagues and younger generations. He paved the way for other Greek-Americans not only in the political field, but also for them to seek greater ambitions and setting higher goals. But above all, he was a great man. Christopher rose from poverty to a high office and was able to accomplish a lot. These accomplishments will forever remain in history.
It is with great pleasure that we announce to our readers that the Kapetan Zaharias website has surpassed the 2,000 mark for the number of visitors for the year. The website was first set up back in February 2000. Since then we have added many links, provided information ranging from the history of Zaharias to the various events happening both in Greece and the Diaspora. In addition, we have also added some nice pictures and included a special link to the Skoura-Varvitsa of Canada website. Rest assured, we will continue to periodically enhance the Kapetan Zaharias website by adding additional information about Zaharias, the various organizations and societies, which have ties to Zaharias (both in Greece and the Diaspora). Also, we may even have some songs about Kapetan Zaharias, which viewers would click a specified button to listen to the songs playing. Its remarkable how far we have come. We will continue to do our best to spread the word about Zaharias and to educate the people about him and his history. As a reminder the website address is: http://www.kzaharias.homestead.com
THE GREEK CHILDREN’S FUND
The Greek Children’s Fund held its annual dinner dance on December 10, 2000 at the Glen Pointe Marriott located in Teaneck, New Jersey. The event was very well organized and successful with great music by the Nicos Nicolaides Orchestra and some entertainment such as the Hellenic Dancers of New Jersey and others. This year’s annual dinner dance honored Demetris Kastanas, who is a very popular and respected individual within the Greek-American community. Mr. Kastanas is well known for organizing and producing Greek television programs for the Diaspora in the United States. A month prior to the dinner dance, The Greek Children’s Fund held its annual telethon on National Greek TV, owned by Mr. Kastanas. This event was covered in the last edition of the newspaper Kapetan Zaharias.
The Greek Children’s Fund was formed in 1983 by Stanley Matthews, which stemmed from a personal experience when a loved one faced the serious illness of cancer. Mr. Matthews was born in the village of Varvitsa. When this philanthropic organization was formed, it was unprecedented in the Greek-American community. Since then, The Greek Children’s Fund has blossomed over the years by providing assistance to hundreds of patients, saving lives and becoming a major force in the Greek-American community.
The primary goal of the Greek Children’s Fund is to provide services and treatment to cancer patients and their families both from Greece and the US who are of Greek descent. Also, the Fund provides financial assistance to these families for such items like travel expenses, shelter and other needs.
The Fund is a program administered and governed by the rules and regulations of the Department of Social Work at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. It is the first and only organization devoted exclusively to cancer patients who are of Greek descent. This has influenced other similar organizations to spring up in Greece.
The driving force and think tank behind the Fund is The Greek Children’s Fund Committee, which consists of all volunteers who organize all events and oversees its growth and development. In addition, these volunteers provide emotional support on an ongoing basis to the patients and their families by arranging social and group activities.
Some of the professional services provided The Greek Children’s Fund are as follows: A full-time Greek- American social worker and program coordinator as part of the staff. Through the social worker, translation services are provided during medical staff visits. Also, the Fund not only interfaces with hospitals and organizations abroad to coordinate services as needed for patient referrals, but also coordinates treatment course with the health care team. Referral services for Greek speaking patients both foreign and Greek-American at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. In addition, psychological counseling and support services are provided to the patients and their families, as well as education on the diseases, treatments and side effects. Other services provided by the Fund include financial assistance for non-medical and essential needs, such as housing, for the patients and their families while undergoing treatment. Finally, the Fund coordinates the patients discharge from the hospital and oversees any referrals to the appropriate agencies as required.
Education is the key, and one cannot stress the importance of education and knowledge. That is why The Greek Children’s Fund is committed to broaden the educational training of the medical personnel from Greece. It will continue to expand the educational program to other physicians and personnel from Greece, with the agreement that they return to Greece and serve their community.
All of this as one can imagine costs money and time. To give an idea about how much some of these expenses add up to, we will mention one particular item paid out by the Greek Children’s Fund. This item is the amount of money paid out every year to the Ronald McDonald House, which houses the young cancer patients. Between the time period of January 1996 to June 1999, The Greek Children’s Fund paid out about $225,000 to the Ronald McDonald House. This is why the Fund continues to organize fund raising events so that it may cover these and other expenses for the benefit of the children who are of Greek descent – our children.
Currently, the President of the Greek Children’s Fund is Sam S. Matthews, who is the son of the Stanley Matthews, the founder. The Fund had made a tremendous impact and has played a major role in the Greek-American community. It has also impacted the families and lives of the children stricken with various forms of cancer. Many lives have been saved by this great organization. And saving even one life just shows how valuable The Greek Children’s Fund is in our community and how much effort and hard work is invested by the its members.
In 1981, Stanley Matthews made a promise to a young boy named Andonaki, who was suffering and dying from a form of cancer. Andonaki said to Mr. Matthews that if he dies, he will be in Heaven with Christ and that Mr. Matthews should promise never to leave or turn away from the children stricken with cancer. Mr. Matthews response was “Andonaki, I promise that I will never leave you.” After all these years, Mr. Matthews has never left and has always been there for the children and making sure that they are treated and taken care of in whatever way possible. God bless Stanley Matthews and the entire Greek Children’s Fund organization.
For more information or if anyone wishes to make a donation, please send a check made out to the Greek Children’s Fund and mail it to the following address:
P.O. Box 541500 Flushing, New York 11354
THE GREEK CHILDRENS FUND
On Sunday, November 19, the Greek Children’s Fund organization held a telethon on National Greek TV (NGTV), which raised money for the Greek children who suffer from some type of cancer. The telethon was hosted by the well-known Greek television personality of the metropolitan area of New York, Mr. Demetris Kastanas. The telethon took place at the Crystal Palace reception hall, located in Astoria, New York, and kicked off in the early afternoon and lasted late in the evening. The amount of money raised in this well organized event was about $125,000. The General Consulate of Greece and Cyprus, as well as other well-known members of the Greek Community also attended the telethon.
The Greek Children’s Fund is an organization that helps support children of Greek descent (both from Greece and from the Diaspora) who suffer from different cases of cancer. Specifically, the organization pays for their travel expenses to come to the US, medical bills, including any doctor and hospital expenses, special treatment expenditures, and therapy costs. Stelios Matthews, who is from Skoura-Varvitsa, formed the organization, and it has played a very important and significant role in the Greek Omogenia. In this year’s telethon, the Skoura-Varvitsa Brotherhood USA contributed $1,000 to the Greek Children Fund and its great cause.