Twelve children, 5 to 11 years old, from Agia Paraskevi in Thessaloniki, Alexandroupoli, Antiparos, Chios, Corfu, Florina, Gargalianoi in Messinia, Gerakas in Attica, Gournes in Heraklion-Crete, Ioannina, Vagia in Viotia and Volos convened as the 24th Board of Representatives (BoR) of the “HELMEPA Junior” educational Program, on Friday 8 December in Athens. These children are the “leaders” of the most active Groups in 12 Greek Prefectures and representatives of the 7,214 children-members of the program during the school year 2016-2017.
Invited by HELMEPA, children, parents, volunteer teachers and local coordinators of schools’ activities participated in two separate events, hosted by HELMEPA’s Associate Member Company, COSTAMARE Shipping. The young schoolchildren convened and elected their Chairman, Vice Chairman and Secretaries, shared their experiences and agreed upon their environmental messages addressed to the adult community. Teachers and parents were welcomed on behalf of the family of the late Captain Vassilis C. Constantakopoulos and COSTAMARE by the company’s Executive Vice President, Mr. Diamantis Manos and on behalf of HELMEPA’s Board of Directors by the Chairman, Dr George Gratsos.
Honouring symbolically the devotion of teachers to their high duties, the Chairman presented a commemorative plaque to Mrs. Maria-Phaedra Tsialera, teacher of the sole schoolchild in the Primary School of Arkioi, in Dodecanese. Ms. Tsialera thanked HELMEPA and spoke of the adverse conditions on this little remote island as well as of the unprecedented and valuable experience of her work there, as a teacher.
Mr. Theodosis Stamatellos, Area Manager for Greece, East Mediterranean and Adriatic of Hellenic Lloyd’s, Associate Corporate Member of HELMEPA, referred with warm words to the Association’s voluntary environmental programs, which were supported by Lloyd’s Register Foundation in the six-year period from 2011 to 2017 in 24 Greek Cities. These consisted of Educational Community and Public Awareness Campaigns on the Marine Environment, Shipping and Sciences. The outcome of this 6-year effort was presented by HELMEPA’s Executive Coordinator, Mrs. Christiana Prekezes.
Afterwards, the children members of the Board of Representatives sent out their common message:
“Please do not throw down your garbage, because the environment will need assistance. I am a small child doing as much as I can. Wise up and give me a helping hand!”
This was followed by the presentation of commemorative diplomas and gifts to children and adults and a lunch kindly offered by COSTAMARE. The event concluded with a visit to the Planetarium of the Eugenides Foundation, organized by HELMEPA.