When Sofia Vatos took part in Landmark’s Self-Expression and Leadership Program in Melbourne, Australia, she knew she wanted to contribute to her family and the town many came from, Plomari, on the island of Lesbos in Greece. Since the European Union’s austerity measures began, the once beautiful town began to crumble.
Vatos set up My Big Fat Greek Contribution to raise money for the town, and held a dinner and dance on May 17 as a fundraiser. She plans to visit the town this summer to help a volunteer group maintain the village.
Here’s more about the project in Vatos’ words:
When I go to the island of Lesvos to visit the village of Plomari, I am so proud of my heritage and the privilege of my life. I created this community fund raising charity event for the village as I really care about its future and want to honour its people. When I first started the project I thought, who is going to care about raising money for a village that only I care about. I had no idea how to make this happen, all I knew is that I wanted it to be successful, especially given the current crisis in Greece. I was unstoppable.
Thankfully my sister was enrolled and contributed so much in so many ways. I walked the streets during the day and at night and shared my event to the world and why I am doing it. I had plenty of people say ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Those who said yes, I requested payment to secure their booking immediately. This was new. In the past, I would have left it unsettled and unconfirmed, with unsuccessful results. I would make up excuses as to why I would not ask and cover up. I had a breakthrough in being straight with people and being genuine, instead of my internal dialogue running the show.
Over 126 people attended the dinner dance. Over 40 sponsors contributed door prizes and raffles. We raised just under $5,000, which I will take to Greece with me this year to spend it on community amenities. My parents are so proud of their daughters standing to make a difference for their village. I will forever recommend the Self Expression and Leadership Program. It took me on a journey, where I have never been before. Read more at mybigfatgreekcontribution.com.