2016 Scholarship Recipeints

We have intentionally made the applications process easy.  It is a three page questionnaire that also asks for two letters of recommendations.  All applications are due on June 1, and the recipients are announced on June 25 to celebrate my mother's birthday..  

Through the generosity and hard work of many people in our community people as far away as Florida we raised enough money to award two scholarships for 2016.  On June 25, 2016 we chose the scholarships recipients for the first time ever.  Callum Gannon and Mariel Kelley were both planning very different types of trips;  Callum was traveling to Kenya with Engineers without borders to help design water wells.  Mariel wanted to travel to meet her relatives from her mother's side who live in Holland.

Here are some photographs and a note from Callum in Montana before he left and in Kenya.  "I can't thank all the people who donated money, time, and resources to fund Yia Yia's Travel which in turn helped me to go to Kenya with Engineers Without Borders, install 2 borehole wells at primary schools, helping nearly over 800 kids gain access to clean water, and decide, after an assessment and extensive research, to implement a Bio-gas Latrine next summer to be used for cooking at another primary school in rural Kenya"

And a couple of photos Mariel Kelley on her trip to Holland and other countries.  "I had such a fantastic time in Holland visiting family and experiencing my roots. What a great opportunity Yia Yia's Travels offers. I am one of the first to benefit from this scholarship, so I can only imagine the positive effect it will have on Park County as more people apply. Melanie Maganias Nashan, you are doing a great thing! "

Yia Yia's Travels: How it came to being

My mother was the daughter of Greek immigrants who were forced to flee their home in the northern mountains of Turkey.  My grandparents immigrated through Ellis Island in 1921 and pursued the American dream.  Just like many Greeks, my grandparents opened a restaurant in Brooklyn when they came to the United States of America.  It became a prosperous business and afforded their family to enjoy some luxuries.  My mother took her first trip to Europe when she was 16 which started her passion for travel.  She took all of her children and grandchildren on trips around the world by working hard and making sacrifices in her day to day life.   One of her prized possessions when she was too old to travel were her passports.  She would flip through the pages reminiscing of the adventures she had experienced.  

When my mother passed away on January 21, 2013 I wanted to do something to honor her life.  One morning it dawned on me that it would be fitting to create a foundation to help the young adults of my community afford to travel and see the world.  A few months later Yia Yia's Travels: In memory of Martha Helen Maganias was formed as a501C3 with me, my daughter and son as the board members.  The mission is to help young adults in Park County plan and afford to travel.  Traveling is very familiar to me and many of my friends, however it isn't to many people.  Planning and budgeting for a trip can be a daunting experience, if you haven't done it before.  All of the awarded scholarships are matching, meaning the person traveling has to earn at least half of the amount that they are awarded.  All recipients are asked to share their traveling experiences with Yia Yia's Travels and to help future recipients with their plans.

When I mentioned Yia Yia's Travels to my friends everyone wanted to help.  People offered to donate their time, money or items for auction to help raise money for the scholarships.  


Yia Yia's Travel: 2016 Application

For the first time ever, with the support of friends and family, we are accepting applications for matching scholarships for 2016.  All applicants must be between the ages of 18-22 while traveling.  Please click here to download the PDF and submit it before June 1, 2016.  Questions?  nashan@nashan.com

Donate Today. You can help the young adults of Park County see the world.

Please donate to help our young adults in Park County be able to afford to make one of their travel dreams come true.  Scholarship recipients must match the funds they receive for their trip.  All donations are tax deductible.  Please either mail a check or donate through paypal.

Make Checks Payable to:

Yia Yia's Travels:  in Memory of Martha Helen Maganias

478 O'Rea Creek

Livingston, MT 59047

Yia Yia’s Travels:  In Memory of Martha Helen Maganias’s purpose is to address, educate, coordinate, and provide an opportunity for young adults in Park County, Montana to travel when they otherwise would not be able to afford to do so.  Yia Yia’s Travels will give scholarships to Park County young adults who would like to travel but are not able to afford to on their own.  Each year on June 25 all donations received that previous fiscal year will be used to pay basic operating expenses and distributed to the most needy and passionate qualified applicants.  All applicants must reside in Park County, Montana, fill out an application for matching travel funds and use all donations to complete their travel plans within the specific timeframe of their proposal.  In exchange for the financial award each participant will be expected to share their adventures and photographs with future applicants and award recipients.

Yia Yia's Travels: In Memory of Martha Helen Maganias

My mother's passport photograph when she was 19 years old.

In honor of my mother I am creating a non-profit organization that will help young adults of Park County, Montana afford to travel around the world. All donations and funds raised will be distributed every year on June 25, to celebrate my mother's birthday. We have just received our 501c3 status and are able to accept tax deductible donations.

My mother's travels were her favorite experiences and my family and I are lucky to share many of those memories with her. When she couldn't travel anymore she would look at her passports, see the various stamps from different trips, and reminisce about her experiences.

My mother gave me, my family and the people she loved many gifts. One of which is the love of travel. Travel teaches you to push your fears aside, it fosters independence, compassion, trust, self reliance, courage and gratitude; it makes you a better person. I have had the good fortune to be able to travel around the world, meet wonderful new friends, and see many beautiful things and places.  I want to help others be able to do the same.

When my daughter, Keegan Nashan, saved her money and spent two years traveling in South & Central America, many of her friends asked me how she was able to do it. Those conversations made me realize that I would like to help other young adults in our beautiful town to travel, explore the world, meet new people, and learn things about themselves that only travel can teach. Yia Yia's Travels is an organization that helps make saving, budgeting and planning for a trip a less daunting experience.

Today is the third anniversary of my mother's death. I am eternally grateful for all of the lessons she taught me. My mother was the most generous person I have known, she was happiest helping people be happy. I wish I had thought of this organization while she was still alive so she could be a part of it.