he neighborhood of Neos Kosmos/Koukaki is a community 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 100,000 immigrants and native Greeks. In recent years, as the Greek economy has suffered and unemployment has risen, Koukaki has seen a corresponding rise in homelessness and people living in poverty. This, in turn, has led to struggles with addiction and narcotics use as people seek ways to escape their circumstances, further alienating these marginalized people from society. The lack of viable employment options throughout the country has also led to a sense of hopelessness among the youth of the nation. With a lack of funds going into public education, and an unemployment rate of around 40% for young people under 25, teens and young adults struggle to find purpose and a way of meaningfully contributing to society, leading to aimlessness at best and exploitation at worst.
Few families in our community are connected with a local church, and our ministry seeks to address the growing need for mentorship and spiritual direction among the neighborhood parents, children and youth. We connect with kids and parents at a nearby park through games and sports. We open our community center throughout the week to provide a safe space for kids in the neighborhood to come and hang out, receive homework help, or attend regular special events like movie and game nights. As we build relationships and walk with the parents and kids in the community, we have opportunities to share the message of the gospel and connect on a deeper level as God transforms families with his love. We are looking for someone to build relationships with the kids and engage in their lives.