Working to Preserve Our Heritage: The Incredible Legacy of Greek-American Community Services

Working to Preserve Our Heritage: The Incredible Legacy of Greek-American Community Services

by John P Psiharis
Working to Preserve Our Heritage: The Incredible Legacy of Greek-American Community Services

Working to Preserve Our Heritage: The Incredible Legacy of Greek-American Community Services

by John P Psiharis


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On a cold and snowy evening in December 1982, motivated by the lofty Hellenic ideals of philotimo and philoxenia, a diverse and dynamic group of Greek Americans launched a groundbreaking movement that forever changed the landscape of Chicago's Greek community.

Forty years later, John Psiharis, with substantial involvement from Dr. Elaine Thomopoulos, the co-founders of Greek-American Community Services (GACS), recounts how this eclectic cadre of Hellenes helped ignite a renaissance in Chicago's Greek Community and heighten Greek participation within the broader community.

This book, the first in the "Hellenism in the Heartland" series, meticulously details the incredible legacy of GACS, which in its day, celebrated, promoted, and preserved Greek American cultural heritage through far-ranging public programs in the arts and humanities, touched the lives of thousands through its social services, introduced adult day care as a viable care option for the community, helped build better interethnic understanding and cooperation, and gave birth to the committee that established Chicago's Greek-American Nursing Home. The early years of the Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly (CLESE), an organization GACS played a key role in launching, are also described.

Extensive research and insider accounts offer a unique glimpse into the inner workings of this trailblazing organization then lauded as "a leading example of the very best our community has to offer." Enhanced with photos and ephemera, the book includes a comprehensive who's who and chronological history of GACS. The hardcover includes a comprehensive index for easy reference.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9798989072408
Publisher: Greek American Press
Publication date: 12/07/2023
Series: Hellenism in the Heartland , #1
Pages: 510
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.13(d)

About the Author

John Psiharis was co-founder, president, and executive director of Greek-American Community Services from inception through 2002 and served on the Greek-American Nursing Home Committee from inception through 2006. He was a founding member and two-time past president of the Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly.John's professional activities have included serving as coordinator of community services for the Community Advocacy Network of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, senior services director at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, and executive director of the Bosnian and Herzegovinian American Community Center. He is currently the executive director of the Irving Park Community Food Pantry; a position he has held since 2008.John was appointed by three Chicago mayors (Washington, Sawyer, and Daley) to serve as a member of the Chicago Community Development Advisory Committee and completed a three-year term as chairman of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs City Arts-Social Services Grants Committee. He was a board member of the Chicago Council for Justice for Cyprus and twice elected community representative to the William Howard Taft High School Local School Council, from which he is an alumnus. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services degree from the National College of Education (National Louis University) and pursued graduate studies in public administration at Roosevelt University. John is co-owner of Big Helpers, Inc., a Chicago-based award-winning business he co-founded in 2004, and founder and publisher of Greek American Press, which was established in 2023. He served as a consultant to the Loyola University of Chicago School of Education, Metropolitan Asian Family Services, America's Disabled, Fuji Television Network of Japan, and several other organizations and businesses. John's writings have appeared in Ergon, the Greek Press, Greek Star, Hellenic Chronicle, The National Herald, and He has written chapters in Organizing a Volunteer Program Serving the Elderly, The ABCs of ADCs, and Modern Greece.
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