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AHEPA’s Gold Coast Chapter Hosts Supreme President and Preps for Annual Christmas Gala
by Eleni Kostopoulos
As the cold weather approaches, the anticipation for the holiday season grows, and what better way to celebrate the season than with a festive soiree. AHEPA’s District 6 Gold Coast Chapter No. 456 is already prepping for its upcoming annual Christmas gala to ring in the joyous time of year with music, food and fun. The chapter, which is the largest of its kind on Long Island, will host this year’s anticipated event on Wednesday, December 11, at the North Shore Country Club in Glen Head, NY and expects AHEPA affiliates, notable community members and many friends to attend.
“We hold this event for two reasons: to help raise funds to support the charitable donations we offer throughout the year and to have a laid-back, fun gathering that gives members the opportunity to enjoy themselves and socialize with each other,” said Gold Coast Chapter No. 456 President John Levas. “The gala will be during the week, on a Wednesday night, which we’ve found to be more successful than hosting a major event on a weekend, which is usually reserved for spending time with family.”
Levas noted that non-members often attend the annual Christmas event and wind up wanting to become members. The casual, convivial atmosphere, free of tedious speeches, is what attracts Hellenes to join the association and what keeps current members drawn in.
“This year we’re honoring the founding members of the chapter,” said Levas. “It’s a very stress-free environment, and everybody has a good time. There’s plenty of dancing, plenty of eating, Greek and American music; you can go up and talk to the band and ask them to play something you’d like to hear, and members don’t leave the dance floor until the night is through.”
The membership committee for AHEPA’s Gold Coast Chapter No. 456 has recently expanded its efforts to attract fresh faces to the already abundant chapter. On the third Monday of every month, the chapter hosts networking events at Long Island-based Limani restaurant.
“Our chapter is very unique when compared with others because we provide a cocktail hour with dinner prior to every meeting, free for all the members,” Levas said. “As many of our members are also family members and friends, our meetings serve as a time for people to catch up.”
Levas added the importance of maintaining an equality-based approach when holding meetings, so that every member has a say in decisions that affect the chapter.
“As president, I want to make sure that anyone who has suggestions or something they’d like to discuss, to be able to speak with ease,” he said. “If we have any issues, they are always voted on and not dictated by the board. If someone brings something up and the members don’t agree with it, we vote, and the vote decides whether we’re going to take on a task or not.”
Levas also noted that the members themselves attract others to join, as the chapter is composed of successful businesspeople and entrepreneurs of the Greek American community.
The gala and other annual events were discussed during a September board meeting with AHEPA Supreme President Anthony Kouzounis. Gold Coast Chapter No. 456 Vice President Paul Macropoulos, who attended the meeting along with other special guests (including District Governor Tom Dushas), said the discussion focused on the efforts of AHEPA on an international scale and the potential for expansion with new chapters throughout the globe.
“Mr. Kouzounis welcomed all the people in attendance and invited non-members to join,” Macropoulos said. “AHEPA has raised a lot of money for charitable purposes, including $250,000 worth of food to feed the poverty-stricken families of Greece.”
Macropoulos added there are many more events to look forward to before the end of the year and into 2014, including a golf outing and a Texas Hold ‘Em poker night in the spring.
The mission of the AHEPA family, as described by the association, “is to promote the ancient Greek ideals of education, philanthropy, civic responsibility, family and individual excellence through community service and volunteerism.”
Membership is open to anyone who values these ideals. For more information on these events or to become a member of Gold Coast Chapter No.456, contact President Levas at AHEPA456@gmail.com.