Central Athens is an area of diverse needs in a densely populated part of Athens, Greece. Because of its proximity to the Acropolis, it is a thriving tourist spot, while also being home to about 70,000 native Greeks and immigrants. Being a sprawling metropolitan city, you can see abandoned buildings being used to house low-income individuals next to immigrants renting small one-bedroom apartments, next to Greeks who live in the house they grew up in, next to students renting a small apartment while they study at the city's large university. While the number of programs and services addressing homelessness or refugee situations has increased in the past 10 years, a few demographics have fallen through the cracks, namely students and young people. The economy has seen some improvement in recent years, but the prospects for young people in the competitive job market are still small and many find themselves struggling for hope and vision for a future with purpose. We build relationships with young people, stepping into their season of questioning in holistic ways, challenging them to explore the ways of Jesus and see how he can change their life and bring purpose to their lives.
Prior to the pandemic, we also identified mental health services as a large gap in the effort to provide holistic support to people across the board in our community. Whether it be the woman being exploited in a trafficking situation, a refugee struggling to process the trauma of their journey, local Greeks in a world changed by the isolation of the pandemic, or ministry and NGO workers struggling to walk alongside the hurt and brokenness in the community, we seek to provide spaces of healing and hope using art, music, and movement to process and restore in our trauma center initiative. We also come alongside workers with debriefing and supportive listening groups that encourage sustainable, holistic, and trauma-sensitive care models.
In Central Athens, we bring people together to help the oppressed. We partner with local believers and churches, businesses, organizations, and schools in the area to see our community transformed by the power of Christ. Not only do we want to address visible and immediate needs of food and clothing, but in the process we want to address the hidden, but just as urgent, psychological and spiritual needs of our community. Whether living on a park bench or safely in an apartment, we all need connection. Restoring the God-given dignity and humanity of a person is in some cases even more important than providing a hot meal. We see the people in our community as whole people, ones loved by and created in the image of God and we bring people together to help those that feel invisible. We remember names. We hear stories. We walk with the broken. Because that’s what Jesus did. And we want to be the light of Jesus in our community to see healing and wholeness and beautiful transformation as Christ works through us.
Some of the ways we are involved in the community:
Clothing, blanket and hygiene supply distribution
Seeker Bible study
Neighborhood youth outreach
Discipleship and Bible study groups
Community beautification projects
Partnership with human trafficking ministry
Mental health trainings and initiatives
To address the needs of the refugee community in Central Athens, we partner with several organizations and churches to address practical, emotional and spiritual needs of those in such desperate situations.
Some of the initiatives with refugees include:
Food care package distribution
Art community groups
Informal discipleship and Bible study
Trauma therapy groups