Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — Joined by wide-eyed youngsters from some of the city's most impoverished Southside neighborhoods, religious leaders gathered this week at the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Chicago to dedicate more than 10,000 new books provided by International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). The trove of colorful, age-appropriate reading materials will benefit thousands of schoolchildren participating in after-school enrichment opportunities, mentoring and summer learning programs in the Chicago area.
Van E. Vlahakis—January 14-1935-April 6 2014
Eftichios Van Vlahakis, Ph.D., CEO of Earth Friendly Products, died Sunday, April 6, 2014 in Key Largo, FL.
Born on the Greek island of Crete in 1935, Vlahakis left war-torn Greece in 1953 and emigrated to Chicago, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Roosevelt University. After several years working as a chemist, he started his own cleaning products company, Venus Laboratories, in 1967.
A 1958 chemistry graduate Vlahakis credits Roosevelt with “teaching me how to think, solve problems and to work with people.” Vlahakis found himself working tirelessly to make a better life here in America. Thomas Hassapis a 1959 chemistry graduate of Roosevelt and a friend who lived for a time with Vlahakis and other Greek immigrants in a North State Street apartment building that they called ‘The Greek Embassy,” recalled his friend’s ambition. “A lot of us worked very hard to become something,” said Hassapis, in an article which appeared in the 2012 Roosevelt Review.
Vlahakis served as CEO of Earth Friendly Products. “There was a lot of information coming out at that time about things that were bad for you.” Earth Friendly Products has been hailed as a “champion” in the eyes of the Environmental Protection Agency.
“Some day somewhere a historian will investigate the origins of the green movement and its eco-friendly products. A search on ‘Google look-alikes’ will be populated with entries that contain ‘Earth Friendly Products,’ or ‘Dishmate,’ or ‘Venus Laboratories.’ The researcher may find that a young man from Greece living in Chicago was struggling with English but knew he could master the symbol-intensive subject of chemistry. That young man, Van Vlahakis, later recognized the need for more effective cleaning products and in 1967 founded Venus Laboratories, Inc. to make better cleaning products and pursue his dream of business success,”according to the Earth Friendly Products website www.ecos.com.
Known as a visionary, he was granted an honorary doctorate from Roosevelt University in 2012.
Vlahakis loved boating, scuba diving, traveling, Greek music, old movies.
He is survived by his children John E. Vlahakis (Stephanie Anton Vlahakis), Elli Manolas (John Manolas), Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks (Eric Hanks); and by his grandchildren Alexandra Vlahakis, Ian Vlahakis, Zachary Vlahakis, Nicole Manolas, Stacy Manolas, Kasia Manolas and Alexsia Hanks. He is also survived by cousins, nephews and nieces.
May his memory be eternal.
“PHILOPTOCHOS”—Definition: “Ladies society that performs charitable work for the poor with discretion, courtesy and kindness.”
The above definition describes the St. Demetrios Ladies Philoptochos Society of Chicago perfectly. And their latest charitable works of kindness for the poor are far-reaching, making a difference in the lives of young girls across the globe.
As part of the “Dress a Girl Around the World” project, the members of the St. Demetrios Philoptochos Society of Chicago gathered together on March 29th for a very meaningful Lenten project: to make dresses for girls in underprivileged areas in countries, such as Malaysia, Uganda, and the Philippines. Fifty-five Philoptochos members made dresses from new pillow cases. They sewed all day, beginning at 9:00 in the morning, and by mid afternoon, more than 100 dresses were ready . . . dresses that didn’t resemble pillow cases at all! These beautiful dresses were complete with decorative trim, appliqués, ribbons . . . and pockets. The pockets were a very important addition to the dresses, because inside each pocket, the Philoptochos members tucked a new pair of underwear that they had purchased. Imagine a world where every little girl owns a new dress!
St. Basil’s Church in Chicago began this ministry in 2012, and in 2013 they invited their Metropolis sisters and chapters to participate. Dorothy Bezenes and Helen Frankos organized St. Basil’s project. This year, St. Demetrios Church of Chicago embraced the idea and the St. Demetrios Philoptochos Society went to work, under the leadership of its current President, Pat Gerbanas, and Chairwomen, Kalliopi Antonakos (past president) and Gloria Kouris. It truly was a team effort, and the work and love from the 55 members will travel across the world to the young girls who will treasure their new dresses!
“Dress a Girl Around the World” began as an international idea of four women and has grown as many countries have adopted the movement. It’s true that the power of women, fuelled by determination and love, can help change the world!
Fr. George P. Pappas, Assistant Priest at Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Merrillville, Indiana, and Officer Tom Pappas of the Chicago Police Department both marched in the Greek Parade on Sunday with their respective groups. Pictured here with their families, their children also participated in the parade with their Greek School programs.
ATHENS—Greece’s economic crisis as well as beauty of Greece’s landscape and culture inspired award-winning journalist Marissa Tejada to set her first novel, Chasing Athens, in the Mediterranean country, where she moved to five years ago. The romantic comedy and contemporary romance novel will be released by e-book romance publisher Musa Publishing on April 25.
On Sunday, March 30, The Greek Women’s University Club (GWUC) held its 26th Annual National Music Competition for musical performers and composers of Greek ancestry, ages 20-29, at the Alice Millar Chapel, Northwestern University. Chairperson for the event was Anna Moreno. At a reception following the music competition, three awards were presented.
DEERFIELD, ILL.---Founded in 2004, Hellenic American Academy (HAA) is celebrating its 10th anniversary. They are embarking on their second decade, and continually evolving and striving to provide the highest quality education for their students.
More than a decade ago, the founders, determined to bring Socrates Greek American School to the next level, came together to establish HAA. Socrates, established in 1907, had a long history of academic excellence, but it was time to take another step, into the 21st century, embracing the changing needs of subsequent generations of Greek American students, plus integrating new technologies, new methodologies and teaching strategies. HAA has made many strides in this last decade, but will not rest on their laurels. Education today is a changing landscape, and it’s part of HAA’s mission to respond to these needs and provide the best for their students, while instilling an abiding love in the Hellenic and Orthodox heritage.
CHICAGO— The National Hellenic Museum will host its annual Gala fundraiser, “Journey to the Greek Islands” at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago on Saturday, May 31. The evening will be complete with fine dining, dancing, entertainment, silent auction, raffle, and celebration. Chicago Journalist, Anna Davlantes, will be the mistress of ceremony for the evening. The Gala is considered the premier event for the Greek-American community, and brings together more than 400 prominent and influential guests from throughout the Midwest and United States. Tickets and updates are available at nationalhellenicmuseum.org.