Gain Experience and Help Others
We help dozens of students to arrange volunteer experiences; CYA students have done everything from volunteering in law firms to serving at local soup kitchens and assisting beekeepers.
Volunteering is a great way to gain experience and build friendships and networks while in Athens. CYA is also a Bonner Approved study abroad program, which means Bonner Leaders & Scholars are able to satisfy their required community service through study abroad at CYA in Greece.
Opportunities for volunteering cover many different areas, including: refugee aid, soup kitchens, environmental groups, animal welfare, special needs education, film and theater, writing and editing, libraries, museums, art galleries, kindergartens, marketing and advertising, and various non-profit organizations.
Click here to read our student volunteer stories
CYA has a strong network of contacts in Athens. Below are details of just some of the organizations with which we collaborate and some of the opportunities on offer.
Volunteering tasks will depend on each organization’s needs at the time of application.
– ARCHELON – (Save the Mediterranean Turtle) Environmental rescue projects to protect the sea turtles and their habitats in Greece through monitoring, research, habitat restoration, raising public awareness, and rehabilitating sick and injured turtles.
– CARITAS HELLAS – Charity with many initiatives including “Big Brother” & “Big Sister” programs for refugee children, general support for refugees and the homeless via soup kitchens, and English language lessons. Volunteers might work in a soup kitchen or teach English.
– FAROS – Offers humanitarian care and support to unaccompanied children and refugee youth. Each child receives individual and tailored care and the chance to live with dignity and hope. Through FAROS these young people find safety and a sense of worth. Volunteers may give English lessons and help with other assistance to unaccompanied children and refugee youth.
– HOME PROJECT – Provides services to unaccompanied refugee children arriving in Greece. The children are moved from camps, the street, detention centers, etc. to places where they are taken care of and prepared for eventual social inclusion and integration. Volunteers might provide assistance with certain activities, teach English, as well as other supportive tasks.
– WE NEED BOOKS – A Multicultural Library and Cultural Center in one of the city’s most multicultural neighborhoods, Kypseli. Their mission is to: enrich lives and empower communities by providing free and equal access to information, knowledge and services; foster social inclusion and promote interculturalism in a safe and welcoming environment.
Their mission is to: enrich lives and empower communities by providing free and equal access to information, knowledge and services; foster social inclusion and promote interculturalism in a safe and welcoming environment.
Students volunteering there help mostly by teaching English to young learners in a more creative and interactive way and by cataloguing English language books on online database, researching titles for content warnings and genre specifications, translating groupings from English to Greek and vice versa.
– MELISSA NETWORK – Network providing supportive services to migrant and refugee women and their children. Volunteers might help through interaction with and care of the children in the day care center, as well as other tasks.
– METADRASI – Facilitates the reception and integration of refugees and migrants, as well as unaccompanied migrant and refugee youth in Greece. Volunteers might teach English to young refuges and migrants.
– HERAKLEIDON MUSEUM – An interactive cultural center of science popularization as well as a technological museum that focuses on antiquity, with emphasis on the achievements of the ancient Greeks.
Volunteers help them with the English-speaking visitors: guide them throughout the main exhibition, giving them a starting point from which they will begin the tour, an idea of what to expect, how long the tour will last and providing explanations.
– MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF ATHENS (ATHENS CITY MUSEUM) – Housed in a building that was the first royal palace of Greece, the Museum’s collections include Athens-related items from antiquity to contemporary art, and displays of furniture depicting typical living-room arrangements of 19th century Athenian aristocracy. Volunteers might assist with scanning and digitizing items for the museum’s archives, work on research projects aimed at potential collaboration with other museums and organizations, and give museum tours in English.
– HELLENIC CHILDREN’S MUSEUM – The Children’s museum is a kind of museum specially designed to serve the needs and abilities of children as well as parents and teachers who contribute to their development. In the Children’s Museum children can observe, think, research, play, experiment and create. The educational programs and exhibits are studied by expert scientists and contribute to the development of the child, encouraging critical thinking, initiative, creativity and autonomy. A typical day at the museum involves setting up the stations for play (model supermarket, bubble station, cookie making, etc), and then facilitating play between the children and with their parents.
– MVI (Medical International Volunteers) – Provides medical support and care to immigrant refugee women and children. Volunteers who speak Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Bangla, and Hindi might assist with translation, some project management administrative tasks, social media, and fundraising support.
– KORA BAKERY – A relatively new sourdough and viennoiserie bakery located in Kolonaki neighborhood (15-20′ away from CYA) with very friendly and enthusiastic staff! Volunteers help mostly with the preparation of bakery goods. A great volunteer position for those passionate about baking and wanting to immerse themselves in the workforce of a foreign culture and learn more about everyday Athenians!
– PRAKSIS – Program of development providing social support, and medical assistance to vulnerable groups such as refugees, migrants, and Greek families experiencing hardship. They provide assistance and relief to the homeless, day care centers to support families with young children, and strive to return families to a state of self –sufficiency after crisis. Volunteers might interact with refugee children and youth, and offer English lessons.
– BOROUME -A non-profit organization, whose mission is to reduce food waste and fight malnutrition in Greece. They have several actions during the week where a group of young Greek students (and not only) collect from the outdoors farmers markets the left-overs at the end of the day and distribute them to people in need. A great opportunity to get involved in a really important action and get to meet other Greek people!
– RAINBOW SCHOOLS – Voluntary collective supporting LGBTQ diversity, seeking to eliminate discrimination and promote and educate on inclusion and sustainability regarding attitudes and practices around sexual orientation, gender ID, gender expression. Rainbow addresses and informs on gender characteristics in the Greek school system, including educators, students, parents, institutions, and the general public.
– SOCIAL HACKERS ACADEMY – Providing tech education for refugees and other economically vulnerable groups in Athens, with the aim of gainful employment and integration to society. Volunteers may help teach IT skills when appropriate, and offer support in general.
– WWF (World Wildlife Foundation) – Organization that works to save the natural heritage of Europe and the Mediterranean by working to protect biodiversity, and reduce the human footprint. Volunteers might assist with social media, dissemination of information, office work,or fundraising support.
– ANIMA – The largest and most prominent organization in Greece for wildlife care and rehabilitation. Their rehabilitation center in Kallithea and is currently treating wild and domestic animals that were injured during this past summer’s fires in the northern suburbs of Athens. Volunteers work alongside experienced personnel as well as other volunteers.
Main tasks: cage cleaning, food preparation, bowl washing, grooming.