"The Smile of the Child" celebrated 25 years of service to children and families in need in the presence of Η.Ε. Τhe President of the Hellenic Republic at the “Megaron” Concert Hall

10 November 2021


Athens, 10 November 2021


"The Smile of the Child" celebrated 25 years of service to children and families in need in the presence of Η.Ε. Τhe President of the Hellenic Republic at the “Megaron” Concert Hall


● In 25 + 1 years of action "The Smile of the Child" supported holistically 1.802.303 children and their families
● More than 12.500 volunteers form the backbone of the Organization
● More than 15,000 sponsors help with support in its mission
● The Organization in 1st place among country NGOs with 92% awareness.


On November 9th, the anniversary of the day that its 10-year-old founder, Andreas Yannopoulos wrote his diary, "The Smile of the Child" celebrated its 25 years of contribution to children and society, in an event held in the presence of H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic, Ms. Katerina Sakellaropoulou at Megaron Concert Hall.


The event was also attended by the Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Mrs. Domna Michailidou, as representative of the Greek government and Mrs. Mareva Mitsotaki, spouse of the Greek Prime Minister.


Among others participants, and in strict compliance with the Covid-19 protective measures, the event was attended by Ministers and members of the Government, Judicial Officers, Representatives of the Army and the Security Corps, Representatives of Institutional Bodies, Ambassadors and Representatives of Foreign Diplomatic Authorities in Greece, sponsors, supporters, friends, employees and volunteers of the Organization. The well-known Greek TV journalist, Ms. Irene Nikolopoulou, hosted the event.


The President of the Organization "The Smile of the Child" Mr. Costas Yannopoulos, welcomed and thanked the attendees for their presence, making special reference to H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mrs. Katerina Sakellaropoulou, who is a valuable contributor to the efforts and actions of the Organization for the protection of every child and family in Greece.


"It all started from a young child, from Andreas, my son, and I feel very proud because today I represent him. Moreover, I also represent his vision and all the people who have contributed to the realization of “The Smile of the Child” in every way, and especially those who participate wholeheartedly. 25 years ago, in the kitchen of our house, Andreas wrote the last page of his diary, a page that goes beyond imagination, as only children know how to reach the sky. At the time I could not think that his dream would be realized and that all the Greeks would embrace it. I feel proud that in these 25 years, thanks to your contribution, thanks to the dedication of our employees and volunteers, we have been able to support 1,802,303 children and their families by providing them with personalized and holistic support. The essence of “The Smile of the Child” is reflected in our activities, the children we raise at our 14 “warm nests”, the Homes we have created for them, the Support Centers that provide for the decent living of every family in need, the ambulances that are at the disposal of the National Emergency Aid Center (EKAV), the children who had gone missing and were returned safe to their family, the wide fleet of vehicles used to meet the daily countless needs, the 4 Lines for the Support and Assistance for children, adolescents and adults, the Daycare Homes, the Action of Preventive Medicine for every child. Today, I am here representing an Organization that has also been acknowledged outside the borders of our country. Nothing was easy, but we managed to cope with the innumerable difficulties with devotion and dedication. We renew our commitment to follow Andrew's vision in the coming 25 years as well. We can only make it together. Thank you." stated the President of the Organization, Mr. Costas Yannopoulos.


Ms. Klelia Chatziioannou, well-known Greek entrepreneur and a person with unparalleled sensitivity and love for children, was the guest of honor at the event. She has been a “fellow traveler” who repeatedly offered support by rushing to cover vital needs and costs for "The Smile of the Child". Ms. Hatziioannou was given the "Andreas Yannopoulos" award and stated: "Thank you all for being here today. It is a real pleasure and a honor for me to be part of this great project. I started helping the Organization in 2015, when after a thorough investigation I came to the conclusion that this is a large Organization that implements important work. My intention was not to go after a prize, all I did and continue to do derives from heart. Let me extend my congratulations to all those who help, and from my side please stay assured that I will continue to support the Organization to the best of my abilities.”


The event opened with the Children's Choir “Spyros Lambrou” performing the song "A Smile for Andreas" together with its creator, Mr. Thanos Kalliris. Right after that, people who represent the "soul" of the "Smile", people who as children were raised in the Homes of the Organization, employees, sponsors, supporters, volunteers, were called on stage to share their own personal experience, which they did with great emotion.


Ms. Marilena Chuseni, who was raised in the Organization's Home from 8 years old, representing all the children growing up in its 11 Homes over the past 25 years, said: "I grew up in The Smile of the Child and I never hesitated to admit this, on the contrary I state this with great pride and with lots of love. The Smile is a warm family and I won't get tired of saying that, because that's my truth. Yound Andreas laid a small stone to build a huge castle of strength and love, so that our society gradually changes for the better. Young Andreas has managed to remain a child forever, the child we all cherish in our hearts."


Mr. Stefanos Alevizos started as a volunteer and today he is a psychologist and Coordinator of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children of the Organization. He pointed out that 25 years later, Andreas still continues to inspire those who support the Organization and, among other things, stated: "Considering the very important phrase of Andreas "let’s set words aside and take action" many times I recall the dozens of stories of people who called us and then the countless hours of planning and work that followed, to change the life of a child, a family, a mother who was in need. For every child, family, mother, we may be their “unique chance" and last resort, and they may not ever get another opportunity if we do not manage to offer them assistance. With 1.802.303 children we have succeeded, we feel the moral obligation to identify all the rest and give them the “way out of the deadlock” that they deserve.”


Ms. Chrysoula Chassapi, a volunteer in the Search and Rescue Team "Thanassis Makris", accompanied by “Muffin”, the trained missing persons search dog who also follows her on the missions, said: "Young Andreas had a dream. A vision that all children get happy, are loved and stay healthy. With this dream he achieved much more. He succeeded in bringing people together, united to a common purpose. What I wish to say to Andreas is: you managed the greatest good on both sides; both on the part of the children, but also on the part of the people who have joined together to serve a good cause. All of us, the volunteers, with our small effort are tiny pieces of the larger jigsaw of your dream; thank you for uniting us towards this goal!”


Mr. Ioannis Kalligeros, President & CEO of Mercedes Benz Hellas, spoke as one of the oldest volunteers of the Organization: "One of the moments I will never forget is the embrace of a child when I delivered my promise and went back to the Home in which he was being raised. He did not expect that I would return, and his need for a paternal embrace was so great, that he left the toy I brought him and embraced me for a long time. Before the pandemic, together with the team of volunteers from the company, in addition to the financial contribution, we also used to personally visit the Homes, we used to eat together with the children, help them with their homework and did chores whenever necessary. I hope those moments will return soon. Mr. Yannopoulos, my friend Costas, you took your pain after the loss of your child and turned it into love. I won't forget the intimate moment when you were facing a serious health problem and once more you set the Organization as your priority; back then you asked me to keep helping if anything happened to you. I hope we can continue to support children together.”


Mr. Kostas Kotsilinis, Vice President of the BoD of the Organization, referred to his long course in the Organization and his friendship with Mr. Costas Yannopoulos, stating: "The huge contribution speaks for itself. The results of the surveys show that everyone knows and appreciates the work of “The Smile of the Child”. There are four groups of people that without them, we wouldn't have made it. The first group is our volunteers, the second is our sponsors, the third is our donors and the fourth group is the wonderful staff of the “Smile”. I am confident that Costas Yannopoulos and the personnel of the Organization will find new additional ways to help children in need. I want to wish the "Smile" the best of success in its work in the next 25 years."


At the end, the famous actress, Ms. Mary Chronopoulou, received the "Andreas Yannopoulos" award for her timeless contribution to the Organization. Mr. Costas Yannopoulos referred warmly to their friendship based on mutual appreciation. Ms. Chronopoulou stated: "I would like to thank Costas Yannopoulos for a very important fact. Through our friendship, I was given the opportunity to participate in the work of the Organization and become a member of this great family. For that, I thank him wholeheartedly."

"The Smile of the Child", as an extrovert Organization imbued with the spirit of accountability and transparency, took the initiative to prepare the Organization's Sustainability Report for the year 2020, taking into account the Sustainable Development Goals as defined by the United Nations.


On the occasion of its 25th Anniversary, "The Smile of the Child " surveyed the public on perceptions and opinions about its mission and contributions. The nationwide research was undertaken by the company Focus Bari pro bono. Among the key findings presented by Ms. Xenia Kourtoglou, President of Focus Bari, are the following:


"The Smile of the Child" stands in 1st place with 92% awareness among NGOs of the country.
73% of Greeks have a positive impression on the Organization's work, running 1st among NGOs.
85% believe that "The Smile of the Child" provides essential work to the Greek society.
64% believe that "The Smile of the Child" is the most reliable non-governmental institution in Greece.
80% reckon that "The Smile of the Child" has the power to mobilize the authorities, and,
72% consider that "The Smile of the Child" undertakes initiatives and provides solutions that no service group undertakes.


"The Smile of the Child" cordially extends its gratitude to Ms. Irene Nikolopoulou for the coordination of the event and for her support to the work and the actions of the Organization, both professionally and personally.


For the realization of the event, "The Smile of the Child" warmly thanks the “Megaron” Concert Hall for its kind hospitality, as well as the following companies for their contribution:


● 360 Event Agency
● Alumil
● Digiprint
● EL Translations
● Eventora
● Photoshop Company
● Xerox Hellas
● Mortek Telecom Equipment & Services


For more information please refer to the links:
25 years of Statistics can be found here:

Summary of the Qualitative and Quantitative Research conducted by Focus Bari:

Photos of the Anniversary Event are available here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/QyLX4vBcgKjLspFq5
To watch the event please press here: https://youtu.be/Nr2LYtZeMzE


For more info or clarifications please contact :
"The Smile of the Child"
Press Office
Tel. 11040 (local)
Tel. +30 210 3306140 (international)