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FOCUS North America Board Announces Appointment Of Nicholas J. Chakos As Executive Director






The Board of Directors of FOCUS North America announces appointment of Nicholas J. Chakos as the new Executive Director of FOCUS North America.  FOCUS North America Chairman Charles Ajalat said, “The Board of Directors is extremely blessed and excited to have found such a great leader to take FOCUS North America to the next level.”

Nick Chakos has over 15 years of experience and demonstrated success in Orthodox non-profit leadership, fundraising, strategic planning, and program development and evaluation. He is both an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the recipient of the Miron Cross, the highest distinction given by the Romanian Orthodox Church to civilians for outstanding social service to Romania. Nick has been with International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) for 13 years, occupying positions such as Interim Director of Development and as a member of the Executive Team.  Prior to IOCC, Nick worked for Tanzanian Development Association, a division of the Orthodox Church in Tanzania.  Nick is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Nick is passionate about domestic social action.

Through the gracious help and cooperation of his current employer over the last few weeks, Mr. Chakos is expected to join FOCUS on February 16.

Please join us in welcoming this outstanding leader to the FOCUS North America team!


Youth Equipped to Serve is Returning to St Louis!


Youth Equipped to Serve (YES) is returning to St Louis March 30-April 1. Watch this video of last years trip featuring musician and FOCUS volunteer Caroline Ashkar singing Paper Cups. 
Visit www.yesnorthamerica.org/front-page/yes-st-louis-mo-march-30-april-1-2012 for more details.

A Story of Prayer



Pittsburgh Center Director Paul Abernathy tell a story of an answered prayer and why having a FOCUS presence in the Hill District of Pittsburgh is so important.


Everday Icons 6: Georgia Kasamias says YES!


This week everday icon, Georgia Kasamias tells of her trip with FOCUS North America's Youth Equiped to Serve (YES) program. Georgia is amazed what she discovers when she steps out of her small town lifestyle and into the urban core.


Everyday Icons 5: What is the YES program??


Panayioti describes his first hand experience with FOCUS North America's Youth Equipped to Serve (YES) program. Panayoiti and several other peers travelled throughout Pittsburgh gaining a new perspective on the poor of the city all the while helping and serving those in need. Watch and listen Panayioti's experience as this week's Everyday Icon.


FOCUS ReEngage's Man Class begins at the Reconciliation Services-FOCUS Kansas City center!



FOCUS North America’s ReEngage Program began its first week of the six-week Man Class with ten students. This newest Man Class is being taught at Reconciliation Services-FOCUS Kansas City. This is the first time the class has been taught at the FOCUS Kansas City center and Director Rodney Knott is excited.

“It creates a platform for us to begin to develop the model that we want to see in other FOCUS centers around the country,” Knott said.

This first class being taught at a FOCUS center is being documented and filmed with the hope of replicating it at all of the FOCUS Centers and Chapters.

The class runs every Tuesday and Thursday from 10am to noon for six weeks. The 12-part educational program’s goal is to create an understanding of true manhood. The Man Class emphasizes responsibility, mentoring, communication skills, life development, work readiness and how to properly engage with one's family and community. Men who complete the classes will receive a shirt, tie and suit from Men' Warehouse!


Pittsburgh Steelers two-time Super Bowl champion Troy Polamalu and wife Theodora “Tackle Poverty” with FOCUS North America


polamaluFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: (Oct. 3, 2011) Troy and Theodora Polamalu, faithful Orthodox Christians, have joined FOCUS North America to “tackle” poverty.


The online and texting TacklePoverty.org campaign, which runs from Sept. 26, 2011 to Feb. 5, 2012, hopes to inspire 10,000 people to take action and help those in need.


“We’ve kicked off to a solid start in an effort to reach 10,000 now let’s go further,” Troy Polamalu said. “Together we can tackle poverty!”


Here’s how it works: Visit TacklePoverty.org to learn about the many ways FOCUS NA is working to help the poor nationwide. Watch Troy and Theodora’s video messages, make a donation, and put together a team of friends to tackle poverty. Tacklers will win cool prizes while creating much needed awareness about the plight of the working poor. Get 25 friends to donate and win a Tackle Poverty T-shirt. Inspire 43 friends to donate and get a signed Polamalu poster. With 100 friends donating, you get a signed Polamalu jersey (#43) and have your name put in the drawing to win Steelers home game tickets! You can also text “Troy” to 52000 to make a $10 donation.


You can see the Tackle Poverty campaign on Troy’s Facebook and Twitter sites. Check in with Troy each week as he reminds fans of the importance of this worthwhile effort to help the poor. With over 1.8 million Facebook fans and 275,000 Twitter followers, the response could make a huge difference in the lives of working poor individuals!


"This is a great opportunity to inspire friends, coworkers, and others you know to join with you in helping the poor at a time when 15% of our neighbors in America are below the poverty line,” FOCUS NA Executive Director Fr. Justin Mathews said. “If you have a heart to help the poor, you can inspire others too.”



Visit TacklePoverty.org to start making a difference!



The Repose of His Eminence, Archbishop


2011-0829-abp-dmitri-writingDALLAS, TX [OCA]
The Repose of His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri
Metropolitan Jonah with Archbishop Dmitri in late August

His Eminence, the Most Reverend Dmitri, 87, retired Archbishop of Dallas and the Diocese of the South, fell asleep in the Lord at his home here at 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning, August 28, 2011.

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, and many priests and faithful had kept vigil in Dallas during Archbishop Dmitri’s final days.  The Metropolitan was to have traveled to the Czech Republic with a delegation from the Orthodox Church in America, but remained in Dallas to be with the Archbishop.

Funeral services will be celebrated at Dallas’ Saint Seraphim Cathedral—the parish Archbishop Dmitri founded as a mission shortly after his ordination in 1954.  Days and times will be posted at oca.org as they are received.

May His Memory Be Eternal!

Read more on www.OCA.org


Everyday Icons 2: Chris and Triana find refuge



Chris and Triana tell their story of job loss, having a baby while living in their car, and finding FOCUS Orange County. Through you generous support, Chris and Triana have found a safe place to start over. Please pray for this young family as they seek out employment and stability.


Eight-year-old Girl Inspires Others to Give


Tegan1Often it is our young people who inspire us to be better at welcoming a stranger, give more freely of our belongings, and take more time for those in need.


Tegan Salaris, an eight-year-old girl from St. Louis, is just such a person.


When Tegan approached her parents with the idea to do a collection of items for FOCUS Gateway City in St. Louis, they were interested in her idea and excited by her enthusiasm. Tegan called FOCUS Gateway City Director Eric Shanburn and asked what supplies he might need for the many homeless and working poor individuals who frequent the weekly community meal at the Center.


"Tegan wanted to do a collection for FOCUS," Fr. Steven Salaris, Tegan's father, said. "Her mother and I just let her go for it."


And Tegan did. She decided she would enlist the help of her school summer camp at Chesterfield Montessori School. She worked out the collection details with her school and with Shanburn.


Fr. Salaris said Tegan did most of the work herself, including making and distributing flyers and arranging for notes to be sent home to parents explaining her project. At the end of the two-week drive, Tegan had motivated her fellow students to overload two large bins with socks, toiletries, underwear and other necessities.


Tegan2"We are so proud of her," Fr. Salaris said. "This project came out of her own desire to help others and it is a testimony also to our mission and their support of FOCUS." All Saints of North America Antiochian Orthodox Mission in St. Louis is Tegan's home church and they have been very supportive of FOCUS Gateway City.


The best part of the whole project, Fr. Salaris said, was when Tegan got to deliver the items to the FOCUS Center.


"People lined up to receive the items and they were very grateful," Fr. Salaris said. "Tegan got to see that the stuff she had collected was really needed and would be put to use. It was a great experience for her."



Everyday Icons, Story 1: Ed Gets a Job!


Stay up to date on how your generous gifts to FOCUS North America are helping those in need every day.
Follow our new series entitled "Everyday Icons" telling their story of life transformation on our website or Facebook.


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