Two-time Super Bowl champion Troy Polamalu and wife Theodora “Tackle Poverty”

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

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!”

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.”

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Visit TacklePoverty.org to start making a difference!

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The Man Class

Picture_5FOCUS North America’s ReEngage program is fighting for hopeless and hurting men who have lost a vision for their lives. The Man Class is a component of ReEngage that is laying the foundation to begin that fight. Get an explanation for what the Man Class is and what it is seeking to do. ReEngage Director Rodney Knott gives his insight into the beginnings of the class and outlines its goals. With your support this class can expand to several FOCUS centers and take the fight nationwide, instilling hope and a future for the men of America’s urban core.

Youth Use Summer Break to Serve Others

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Niko Touloumes was planning on using some of his summer break to do a service project, but he never thought the project would change his perspective on those in need.

Touloumes was one of 18 youth from Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Christian Church in Pittsburgh who participated in the June Appalachia service trip, a ministry of FOCUS North America. The group of middle school and high school students were joined by six adult leaders.

The goal of these short term ministry trips is to build a sense of service and community by providing an opportunity for church groups to travel together, work together, serve together and grow together. Projects include home repair, landscaping, and various domestic projects for the poor living in the heart of the Appalachian region. In some parts of the Appalachian region of NC where the FOCUS NA teams serve there is an almost 20% unemployment rate.

“I was expecting to come down and help people, not necessarily interact with them,” Touloumes said.  “But I came here and found out why they’re in these situations.”

The teens and their adult leaders worked hard and always had a great attitude as they worked on graveling a driveway, painting a garage, removing a rotting deck, painting the interior of a house, moving heavy furniture and various landscaping projects.

The working poor families served by these groups are always very grateful for the help, Niko Petrogeorge, FOCUS North America ministry team intern, said.

“We painted the inside of an elderly couple’s home,” Petrogeorge said. “Mr. Upright was very appreciative of our work and wanted to help us.

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We got him started on something he wouldn’t have been able to do on his own and provided the resources and materials for the project.”

The group ended its time on their service trip withprayer at the Quiet Reflections Retreat Center nearby lead by Fr. John Touloumes.

Petrogeorge said Fr. John Touloumes, priest at Holy Trinity and leader on the trip, already wants to bring a group back next summer to serve again.

The work done for needy families and the work done in the hearts of those who serve is always a welcome benefit.

“I feel like being on this mission trip has helped me grow as an Orthodox Christian,” said Georgia Gagianas, another teen participant on the trip. “There were times when things didn’t go as planned, but we realized that this trip wasn’t about us and we just needed to be patient and do what was necessary to help the people we came to serve.”

If your church group might be interested in serving together on a FOCUS North America Appalachia service trip contact Niko Petrogeorge at JavaScript required to view address or call 1-866-267-3083.