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Loukoumi Foundation and Make A Difference Awards Honors Michael Psaros & Others

By on September 26, 2015
Photo with group of kids: Nick Katsoris, Loukoumi Foundation President, Olympia Dukakis with honoree Michael Psaros and the children receiving Loukoumi Make A Difference Awards: Arietta Xylas, Vincent and Siena Versaci, Dean Katsoris, Panagioti Pasaportis, Melina Colonias and Grace LaFountain, PHOTO: JILLIAN NELSON

Photo with group of kids: Nick Katsoris, Loukoumi Foundation President, Olympia Dukakis with honoree Michael Psaros and the children receiving Loukoumi Make A Difference Awards: Arietta Xylas, Vincent and Siena Versaci, Dean Katsoris, Panagioti Pasaportis, Melina Colonias and Grace LaFountain, PHOTO: JILLIAN NELSON

Over 400 guests gathered at the Lake Isle Country Club in Eastchester, NY, for the Make A Difference with Loukoumi Dance Party and Awards Gala in celebration of Loukoumi’s 10th Anniversary! Celebrity Guests included Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck), Tony Nominee Constantine Maroulis (Rock of Ages), and FOX-5 anchor Nick Gregory.

Nick Katsoris presents Loukoumi Foundation Inspiration Award to Michael Psaros, PHOTO: JILLIAN NELSON

Nick Katsoris presents Loukoumi Foundation Inspiration Award to Michael Psaros, PHOTO: JILLIAN NELSON

The event honored Purchase resident Michael Psaros, KPS Capital Partners, LP with the inaugural Loukoumi Foundation Inspiration Award. Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation President, Nick Katsoris, also presented the 1st annual Loukoumi Make A Difference Awards to The National Ladies Philoptochos Society, Eastchester’s Anne Hutchinson School, Bronxville’s Chapel School, EIMAI Center for Emerging Young Leaders and seven great kids whose good deeds truly made a difference last fall on Make A Difference with Loukoumi Day.

Nick Katsoris with honored guest Olympia Dukakis, PHOTO: JILLIAN NELSON

Nick Katsoris with honored guest Olympia Dukakis, PHOTO: JILLIAN NELSON

“It was 10 years ago when the first Loukoumi Book was published,” Katsoris said, “and who knew that a box of Loukoumi candy from Greece would launch what many are now calling the Loukoumi make A Difference Movement.”

The event also featured the announcement of the winners of the Loukoumi Dream Day contest, where 4 Dream days will happen this year as children get to live a day in their dream career. The Dream Days will be sponsored by Make A Difference sponsors, Michael and Robin Psaros and KPS Capital Partners.

Bishop Sevastianos, Georgia Vlitas, Aphrodite Skeadas receive The Loukoumi Make A Difference Award to National Philoptochos Society from Nick Katsoris, PHOTO: JILLIAN NELSON

Bishop Sevastianos, Georgia Vlitas, Aphrodite Skeadas receive The Loukoumi Make A Difference Award to National Philoptochos Society from Nick Katsoris, PHOTO: JILLIAN NELSON

Aspiring pediatrician and Anne Hutchinson 5th grader Ava Tsapatsaris is one of the Dream day winners. Bronxville resident Nicole Poulos will also get to spend her dream day as a journalist and Sam Komatreddy from the Bronx, who wants to be an Olympic swimmer, is the third winner. The fourth winner will result from the Loukoumi facebook contest over the summer where facebook fans will get to vote for their favorite student video entries.

Last year’s Loukoumi Dream Day recipient Sophia Lotto, now in Eastchester Middle School, got to relive her dream day at the event as she sang Don’t Stop Believin’ with Tony Nominee Constantine Maroulis. The duo first sang the song as part of the Make A Difference with Loukoumi TV Special last October when Sophia sang the anthem from the Rock of Ages stage at the Helen Hayes Theatre.

The Psaros Family: Mike, Robin, Alexandra, Leo, Marina, PHOTO: JILLIAN NELSON

The Psaros Family: Mike, Robin, Alexandra, Leo, Marina, PHOTO: JILLIAN NELSON

Prior to announcing the contest winners, Katsoris congratulated all the students. “Whether you win or not, I want to tell you that you are all winners,” Katsoris said. “You believe in yourselves, you have a desire to be something great and that is half of the battle. No matter what, hold onto your dream and let it take you to magical places, and you know, your dream may not take you exactly where you want to go, but it may take you to even better places. When I was a young boy dreaming of becoming an author, never in my wildest dreams did I think that my dream would lead me to a 10 year celebration for a fluffy little lamb named Loukoumi.”

Constantine Maroulis dazzles the crowd, PHOTO: JILLIAN NELSON

Constantine Maroulis dazzles the crowd, PHOTO: JILLIAN NELSON

All proceeds from the event benefitted the Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that teaches children to follow Loukoumi’s lead and to make a positive difference in their lives and the lives of others. Upcoming projects include a second TV special on the Discovery Channel and a Make A Difference with Loukoumi exhibit at the new Westchester Children’s Museum in Rye, NY. For more on the Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation, please visit: LoukoumiFoundation.org

Robin and Mike Psaros, Constantine Maroulis and Nick Katsoris, PHOTO: JILLIAN NELSON

Robin and Mike Psaros, Constantine Maroulis and Nick Katsoris, PHOTO: JILLIAN NELSON

Loukoumi, a fluffy little lamb, is the main character from the award-winning Loukoumi book series by Nick Katsoris, that wants to make the world a better place. The Loukoumi Foundation educates children about career choices, helps them give back to their communities, and teaches them about bullying awareness and prevention in conjunction with Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center. The Foundation also teaches children to be philanthropic by engaging them in programs and events where they do good deeds and raise funds for charities.

In addition, the Foundation sponsors Dream Day, where it makes a child’s career dreams come true. Some of the children’s dreams the Foundation made come true include playing soccer with New York’s Red Bulls, cooking on television with celebrity chefs Rachael Ray and Cat Cora, sitting inside NASA’s mission control and watching the Phoenix spaceship land on Mars, acting with your favorite actress, a day at the NY Giants Training Camp, and singing on Broadway.

The crowd sings Happy Birthday to Loukoumi in celebration of 10 years. Nick, Mike and Nick Gregory, PHOTO: JILLIAN NELSON

The crowd sings Happy Birthday to Loukoumi in celebration of 10 years. Nick, Mike and Nick Gregory, PHOTO: JILLIAN NELSON

Formed with the consent of the New York State Department of Education, The Loukoumi Make a Difference Foundation, Inc. was inspired by the Make a Difference with Loukoumi annual project. Each year, Make a Difference with Loukoumi unites more than 40,000 children to make a difference through volunteer work or philanthropic activities. The project was honored with a 2014 USA Weekend National Make A Difference Award.

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