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.