When the Word ‘OXI’ Means More Than Just “NO”- It means Taking a Stand and Having a Voice.

By:Kristina Vasilakis Markos

Chicago, IL: For centuries, the Greeks have been a victorious, brave people who have fought for their rights, defended their culture, and given birth to societal practices that are still in place today. It is with that same tenacity, that Greek-Americans in Chicago have begun to stand up for human rights.
Hellenic Foundation, based in Chicago, launched its ‘OXI’ campaign on October 28, 2011. The campaign is designed to provide ongoing therapy, group services and community education on the topic of domestic violence. Thanks to a grant from The Baxter International Foundation, women who have experienced domestic violence can receive  individual and group therapy services for free. The community- education portion of the campaign has so far informed attendees on the following topics:  how women can help other women, how teens and adolescents can recognize domestic violence in their own relationships and most importantly,  how the abused can build a life after the abuse is over.
The OXI campaign says “NO” to domestic violence and gives the abused a voice and ability to stand up for their rights. On January 28, 2012, Hellenic Foundation hosted its second domestic violence symposium, where a panel of experts  educated guests on how to take action in a domestic violence situation and what resources are available for them to make a change.
This event was not only designed to raise awareness in the Greek community, but to the Chicago and surrounding communities as a whole.  Several of the guests were of Greek descent, but several were non-Greeks, who desperately needed a community to understand their struggles and provide guidance in their quests for knowledge.
Christina Sofiakis-Jones, LCSW, Executive & Clinical Director of Hellenic Foundation, said “It’s easier to talk about cancer than it is to talk about domestic violence. For example, breast cancer and domestic violence awareness are in the same month, but domestic violence isn’t nearly talked about as much.”
This is why the OXI campaign, is so important to domestic violence survivors and victims. This campaign allows an outlet for the public to speak out- loud about the issues that are most kept so silent and behind closed doors, in the Greek and non-Greek communities alike.
“Help starts by talking to someone you trust, don’t suffer in silence,” advised Sophia Papageorge-Zehar, LPC, Psychotherapist & Case manager at Hellenic Foundation.
Please contact Hellenic Foundation at 773-631-5222 to learn more about the “OXI” campaign, ongoing individual therapy services and information about ongoing groups such as Women Helping Women, Life After the Abuse, Family and Friends Support Group and Group for Adolescents
Hellenic Foundation will host an additional symposium on domestic violence, on Saturday April 28, 2012 at its Community Center located at 6523 W. Touhy Avenue, Chicago, IL 60646.
About Hellenic Foundation: The principles of Ancient Greek wisdom are the foundation of our services and programs which educate and empower individuals and families of all cultures to lead emotionally healthy lives. To learn more, please visit www.hellenicfoundation.org.


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