For this week’s “Charitable Choices” feature, we spoke with Jim Fabrikis, the President of AHEPA Toronto. Through volunteerism and community service, the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) aim is to advance the ancient Hellenic ideals of learning, philanthropy, civic duty, family, and personal excellence.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) is the largest Hellenic heritage association in the world. AHEPA was founded in Atlanta, Georgia in 1922. Since then it has borne chapters across the world where people of Hellenic (Greek) descent live – Canada, Greece, France, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Panama, Australia, New Zealand and Cyprus. On October 28, 1928, the AHEPA National President started the first Canadian Chapter of AHEPA in Toronto. 10 years after that date, AHEPA was coast to coast in Canada and serving the members and society, and leaving an incredible impression in each community in which we were engaged.
What problem does it aim to solve?
The mission of AHEPA is to promote Hellenism, Education, Philanthropy, Civic Responsibility, and Family and Individual Excellence through community service and volunteerism.
When did you start/join it?
I am a 32-year member of AHEPA and first joined in 1990.
What made you want to get involved?
AHEPA members are proud of the contributions the ancient Greeks gifted to Western Civilization. As Canadians, we share many of the values put forth by them: civic responsibility, philanthropy, education, family and individual excellence, and the ideals of democracy. This is the essence of our heritage. This is the core of our mission. Moreover, throughout the span of its history, AHEPA has served as a vital vehicle for the progressive development and emergence of American and Canadian citizens of Greek heritage into every facet of society: government, business, education, and the arts. This fulfillment illustrates the promise of the North American Dream and symbolizes the hard work ethic of our immigrant forbearers who laboured to achieve that dream with the principles of Hellenism rooted deep in their hearts.
What was the situation like when you started?
When I first joined it was seen as a passage into becoming a gentleman and a responsible contributing member of our community.
How has it changed since?
The sense of giving back to the community does not seem as important or if it still is, committing the time to volunteer makes it difficult for the current younger generation.
What more needs to be done?
We need to increase and sustain our membership.
How can our readers help?
If they wish to become members and contribute contact us at the email address below or sign up through our webpage.
Do you have any events coming up?
Our first session after the summer break is on Tuesday, September 13 th.
Where can we follow you?
You can visit our website, and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity/non-profit that you love?