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After graduating from the University of California Los Angeles in 2004, Christiana Thanos was almost immediately off to India where she spent six months volunteering at the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Girl’s Orphanage in Kolkata.
Upon returning to Los Angeles, she worked in a local gang-prevention program. She worked closely with inner-city youth, families and schools to provide middle school children with a safe environment – an alternative to joining gangs.
She returned to school and earned her Master’s in social work from Columbia University. She also won the Critical Language Scholarship from the US State Department to study Bengali in Bangladesh.
This is when she decided to launch a fundraising campaign to allow her and a filmmaker travel to the orphanage in Kolkata and produce a short film to help the girls.
Thanos directed and produced Lucky Girls, which started as a movie and has now grown into an international platform to help the orphanage, which was co-founded by Sister Nectaria, a nun from Corinth, and Bishop Ignatius of Madagascar. The movie has been viewed in 114 countries.
Last year, Thanos launched a Lenten campaign called 4,000 Raindrops to raise $4,000 in 40 days to help the orphanage build a well. Thanos exceeded her goal as she and her team raised nearly $10,000.
Her future plans include the creation of a non-profit organization that will encourage young people to creatively give back to Orthodox organizations that benefit girls. She has also started a blog called “DIY + Philanthropy”.
Thanos is currently the Assistant Director of development at the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work.