03 Nov 2019
Athens 2004’s drive to recruit volunteers for the Olympic Games led to the creation of a new culture of volunteering. Some 160,000 people applied to be volunteers, reflecting a particularly positive response from the Greek population towards Athens’ hosting of the Olympic Games – previously, the regular pools of volunteers in Greece numbered around 30,000.
One of the objectives of the National Agency for Volunteering, which was created for the Games, was to take advantage of this surge in "volunteering for a national cause” and to encourage volunteering on a more regular basis for the years to come.
Since 2004, a variety of bodies have taken a lead in volunteering, building on the spirit of the Olympic Games Athens 2004. This includes Ethelon, an initiative initially focused on big events taking place in Greece that concerned art, sport, entrepreneurship, etc., but that has gradually opened up to action of a social nature aimed at vulnerable groups. Since its foundation in 2012, Ethelon has registered more than 9,500 volunteers, mainly youngsters between the ages of 18 and 25, and currently cooperates with more than 200 NGOs on a wide range of activities.