News & Information – September - October 2009
For millions of people in the developing world, education is a rare privilege, not a right. For those who have been given that privilege, what better way to express gratitude than by using that education to benefit and enrich others? This was driven home to me during a meaningful encounter on my recent trip to review IOCC's work in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

I had the privilege of meeting Wahid and Omar, two young Iraqis who fled their country's turmoil. Like the more than one million Iraqi refugees living in Syria, they do not have permits to work, and the Syrian government, burdened by the influx of so many refugees, cannot provide sufficient services. Wahid and Omar met when they were enrolled in an IOCC computer training class and discovered that they had known each other in Iraq through an internet chat room. So grateful for the computer training – and the chance to meet in person – that they began volunteering for IOCC in Damascus, helping to recruit more young Iraqis to take advantage of IOCC's vocational training courses in computers, English, hair styling and cell phone repair.
Omar and Wahid were so grateful for the computer training courses they received from IOCC in Damascus that they became volunteers for IOCC, recruiting other Iraqi refugees for IOCC’s vocational training courses. (photo credit: IOCC Baltimore)
The Iraqi refugee crisis, which began in 2003, is considered the largest in the world at more than four million. IOCC recently received a fifth grant from the U.S. government of $3.7 million to continue assisting Iraqi refugees in Syria with vocational training for thousands of young Iraqi refugees, school tuition for Iraqi children, and hygiene kits for Iraqi and Syrian families. All together, more than 34,000 Iraqis and Syrians will be assisted through IOCC.

Sunday, November 22 is IOCC Sunday – A Day of Sharing. Help us spread the news about IOCC's vital humanitarian work around the world by sharing these resources with your parish. Consider IOCC's new Christmas Catalog for gifts that allow us to share God's gifts to a world in need. Perhaps you are looking for a volunteer opportunity? Consider volunteering with IOCC by checking out opportunities for service right here in the U.S.

No matter how much IOCC accomplishes, every overseas trip I take reminds me of how great the need is. That is why we will be redoubling our efforts in the next few months so that more Orthodox faithful will hear about and support the vital work of IOCC.

In Christ’s Service,

Constantine M. Triantafilou
Executive Director and CEO

Houston IOCC Conference
Highlights Disaster Readiness
IOCC recently held a conference in Houston, TX, with both regional clergy and laity in attendance, to discuss lessons learned one year after Hurricane Ike devastated the Gulf Coast of Texas. Based on the recommendations from the conference, IOCC will identify and network parishioners with skills relevant in an emergency, catalogue available parish resources, establish Action Teams, offer training in emergency response management to interested clergy and laity, and develop preparedness plans and continuity of operations plans. For more information on IOCC’s US Program, click here.

Sunday, November 22
Orthodox Churches throughout the U.S. will have the opportunity to change lives and share in the work of IOCC around the world on Sunday, November 22 – IOCC Sunday: A Day of Sharing. Join us in helping to make the work of IOCC better known and supported throughout our North American churches! Click here for parish resources.

Wanted: Hygiene Kits for Needy Families
IOCC recently delivered a 40 foot container of hygiene kits, baby supplies and quilts to Gaza for families that are recovering from last January's war. The kits were provided by IOCC partner LWR (Lutheran World Relief) and cleared through customs by ANERA (American Near East Refugee Aid). Do you need a project for your Sunday School kids and youth groups? Assemble an IOCC Hygiene Kit today and help families that have been displaced by natural disasters and war get the supplies they need! Supplies are running low, so help us get stocked up today! For information on assembling the kits, click here.

IOCC Christmas Gift Catalog
The true meaning of Christmas is a celebration of God's gift of love to us through Christ. What better way to celebrate Christmas than to give gifts that allow us to share God's gifts to a world in need. IOCC's new Christmas Gift Catalog offers distinctive ideas for gifts that will share the love of God throughout the year with people devastated by war, poverty and natural disasters. The Christmas Gift Catalog is available here online – so get a head start on your Christmas shopping today!

Order My Prayer Journal
Order My Prayer Journal Order now IOCC's My Prayer Journal, an exciting tool to teach your Sunday School kids and youth groups the importance of praying for others. To order multiple copies, please contact the Department of Religious Education of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America at 800-566-1088. My Prayer Journal is free, but shipping charges may apply. To learn more, visit www.iocc.org/prayerjournal.

VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH
Charlotte Todd, Denver, CO
Charlotte Todd is part of the Denver, Colorado Metropolitan Committee and is devoted to helping raise awareness and financial support for IOCC's worldwide humanitarian projects. Charlotte recently competed in a triathlon to raise money for IOCC. Charlotte told her supporters, "If I can inspire you to give, then your support will in turn inspire me to go the distance for someone besides myself." Charlotte completed the triatholon and raised more than $1,000 for IOCC's humanitarian programs. Click Here to learn more about how you can participate in an athletic competition and raise support and awareness of IOCC.

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