Inspiring Women, Impacting the World: Highlights from the 2024 National Philoptochos Convention

San Diego, CA – July 4, 2024 - The 2024 National Philoptochos Convention concluded with a resounding affirmation of its theme, "Inspiring Women, Impacting the World," highlighting the organization's dedication to shaping a future enriched by compassion and service.

The convention saw His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America address the AGAPE Awards Breakfast, where he reflected on the acronym AGAPE – All Generations Accomplishing Philanthropic Endeavors. His remarks emphasized inclusivity across generations within Philoptochos, highlighting the value of each member and chapter in manifesting Christ’s love for the poor.

Under the leadership of National Philoptochos President Arlene Siavelis Kehl, Convention Chair Jeannie Ranglas, and Convention Co-Chairs Anita Kartalopoulos and Cindy Kezos, attendees engaged in pivotal discussions, resolutions, and Bylaws amendments and a 2-year budget, all of which chart the course for Philoptochos’ continued global impact.

With discussions led by Anita Kartalopoulos, participants engaged in pivotal discussions, debate and resolutions that set the course for Philoptochos’ continued impact on a global scale. From addressing humanitarian crises and issues related to youth to advancing educational opportunities, decisions made during the convention reflect the organization’s unwavering commitment to positive change.

A highlight of the National Convention, in addition to a detailed review of the 2025-2026 Budget, was the fiscal fitness discussion led by Barbara Pasalis, National Philoptochos Treasurer. Barbara emphasized the importance of financial stewardship, transparency, and accountability in preparing chapter budgets. This session connected directly to the theme by empowering members with practical tools to effectively sustain and expand their philanthropic efforts.

During the social services panel, Family Caregiving was the focus, and underscored fostering Our Community’s Journey to Understanding, Compassion, and Hope. The session was a testament to Philoptochos’ commitment to addressing the multifaceted challenges caregivers face within the community, and how our organization supports its members in their vital caregiving roles.

The convention featured diverse voices, such as Sarah Sladek, Membership Engagement expert, who emphasized the importance of inclusivity across generations in shaping organizational futures. Her insights underscored Philoptochos' commitment to harnessing the strengths of all members, regardless of age, in driving impactful change.

Guest speaker Maria Baltazzi brought a unique perspective, urging attendees to redefine happiness beyond material possessions. She shared her eight essentials to happiness—faith, love, health, gratitude, forgiveness, peace, detachment, and abundance—encouraging a unified approach to personal fulfillment that resonated deeply with Philoptochos' mission.

Vas Kypreos Priebe's message on wellness, health and self-care resonated profoundly during the conference, especially following the social services panel on caregiver support. Vas highlighted the importance of prioritizing personal well-being as foundational to effective caregiving, demonstrating practical techniques, and promoting mindfulness practices essential for physical and emotional health. Her advocacy for self-care underscored Philoptochos' commitment to nurturing the well-being of its members, recognizing that true empowerment begins from within.

As we reflect on the convention's discussions and presentations, it is clear that each insight—from Sarah Sladek's call for generational inclusivity to Maria Baltazzi's exploration of happiness essentials and Vas Kypreos Priebe's focus on self-care—contributes to our collective mission. Philoptochos’ convention theme, Inspiring Women, Impacting the World, continues to inspire women to impact the world by fostering a community where each member's well-being and contributions are valued.

The National Philoptochos Convention culminated in a powerful display of community service and intergenerational collaboration as members partnered with the Young Adult League (YAL) to spearhead the Diakonia Project, truly a Syndiakonia (Joint-Diakonia) Event! This initiative supported two vital outreach programs in San Diego: Your Safe Place, which aids survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, abuse, and the San Diego Rescue Mission, which helps individuals experiencing homelessness. On the 4th of July, participants assembled 1500 care packages for survivors and individuals experiencing homelessness. Philoptochos members expressed a deep sense of mentorship and kinship with the YAL participants, recognizing them as integral to the organization’s future. This partnership aims to foster a lasting relationship that bridges one of our church’s longest established ministries and one of the church’s newest ministries. This collaboration strengthens our community outreach efforts and enriches the spiritual and personal growth of all involved. National Philoptochos eagerly anticipates future collaborations with YAL, recognizing their role in shaping the future of philanthropy and expanding the Army of Agape. Embracing the past, present, and future, Philoptochos reaffirms its commitment to serving communities and supporting those in need. Through continued collaboration with YAL and other community partners, we strive to expand our impact and uphold our mission of compassion and service, for indeed…In Christ, We Are One!

Looking ahead, Philoptochos remains steadfast in its commitment to empowering women across all generations, providing them with opportunities for leadership and growth. Through advancing philanthropic efforts and community engagement, Philoptochos actively shapes the future, fostering a culture defined by kindness and compassion. By embracing inclusivity and ensuring every voice is heard and valued, Philoptochos creates a lasting legacy of positive change that resonates across communities worldwide as we inspire women who impact the world!

The Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society is the philanthropic arm of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America that has offered over 90 years of philanthropy through fundraising and charitable programs. Over 400 active chapters impact the lives of those in need within the United States and throughout the world. Website: www.philoptochos.org

Photo: Philoptochos/Allen Altchech.

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