A festive Venetian-style Mardi Gras celebration is being planned in New York City to benefit a Greek charity serving the needs of at-risk children. Greek America’s “Blue Ball” will take place Saturday evening, March 5, 2016 at the James Burden Mansion in New York’s Upper East Side. The Pappas Post is proud to be a communications partner for the event.
Tickets are $175 per person and include food donated by Periyali, an open bar hosted by Nerai Restaurant and wine donated by Thalia Wines and Kolonaki Group in Toronto. The event will include music, dancing, a charity casino and silent auction. The logo and all design work was created gratis by Enrico Pieri, a London, UK-based supporter of the charity.
Venetian masquerade-inspired costumes and masks are encouraged and prizes will be given to the best costumes of the evening.
The event moves to the Big Apple, after four successful years in Chicago, known then as the Blue Masque Ball.
Founded in 1998 by Fr. Antonios Papanikolaou, a Greek Orthodox priest from Athens who was only 26 years old at the time, Ark of the World (Kivotos Tou Kosmou in Greek), a charity that welcomes and cares for abandoned children.
Ark operates a main facility in Kolonos, one of the poorest districts in the Greek capital. Two additional centers opened near Ioannina and the island of Hios.
Ark has cared for thousands of children since its founding and currently has 200 children— three quarters of whom are Greek, as well as others from nations throughout the world who ended up on the streets of Athens.
Ark operates as an orphanage, caring for children from newborns until 18 years of age, as well as a day-care center for low-income families whose parents need a safe place to leave their children while they go to work.
Ark has, over the years, evolved to also assist low-income single mothers with a goal of keeping children with their mothers and not institutionalizing them.
This is done by supporting single mothers with job placement and training, as well as financial assistance and support with basic utilities in order for them to maintain their homes, while children are cared for during the day at Ark.
Ark also provides a safe haven for mothers needing protection from abusive partners.
The charity made international headlines in 2012 when four children, including a newborn baby were left on its doorstep. Another baby, four-year-old Anna was found by a teacher clutching a note that read: ‘I will not be coming to pick up Anna today because I cannot afford to look after her. Please take good care of her. Sorry.’
Ark has already seen a generational cycle since its founding, with “graduates” of the organization who have left the center, returning to volunteer and work to support the younger children being cared for at the facility.