ABOUT MAKE A DIFFERENCE WITH LOUKOUMI DAY


In 2009, children’s book author Nick Katsoris released the book Loukoumi’s Good Deeds (narrated on CD by Jennifer Aniston). The book teaches children about doing good deeds and that doing so is fun. It encourages children that even the smallest good deed can make a big difference in someone’s life. In October of that year, for Make A Difference Day, we launched Make A Difference with Loukoumi, a national project in which children would read Loukoumi’s Good Deeds or listen to the CD and then actually do good deeds – to do something of importance to them so that they can make a difference in their own special ways…and so the Loukoumi Make A Difference movement, as it is often referred to, was born.

"It was really special to narrate "Loukoumi's Good Deeds" on CD,” said Jennifer Aniston, “not only because of how inspirational it is for kids, but because it was an opportunity to work with my Dad. I also loved that it was supporting a personal cause of mine, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. I am thrilled that the Loukoumi books are continuing to make a difference in the lives of children through this wonderful Make A Difference Day program." – Jennifer Aniston

It began in October 2009 when Katsoris visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and did an event for the patients with Loukoumi the lamb (photo below). Katsoris donated 500 books to the hospital that day and began a partnership with St. Jude where $2 from each book sold would be donated to them. Since then, Katsoris has also made donations to St. Jude from the subsequent books, Loukoumi’s Gift, Loukoumi and the Schoolyard Bully and Loukoumi’s Celebrity Cookbook.

In its inaugural year of 2009, over 1,000 children participated in Make A Difference with Loukoumi. By 2013, over 40,000 children participated. That year Nick Katsoris and the Make A Difference with Loukoumi project were honored and grateful to receive a national Make A Difference Award and the $10,000 check, which Katsoris donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
At the awards ceremony in 2014, Katsoris was so inspired that he formed the Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization formed with the consent of the NY State Department of Education “to teach children to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.”

The Loukoumi Foundation’s first project was to produce a national TV Special that aired in October 2014 on FOX stations nationwide including FOX-5 in New York and Washington DC, called Make A Difference with Loukoumi. The special, hosted by celebrity chef Cat Cora, teaches children what they can do to make a difference and encouraged them to go out on National Make A Difference Day and do exactly that. In fact, the special included a commercial provided by USA Weekend about Make A Difference Day. The special was also featured on FOX News and in USA Weekend and featured Olympia Dukakis, Morgan Freeman, Nia Vardalos, Gloria Gaynor, Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis, Nancy O’Dell, and Al Roker.

Today, the highlight of the Loukoumi Foundation’s year is Make A Difference Day, and now through our many partners nationwide inlcuding Philoptochos, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, Kiwanis, The just keep livin foundation, The NYPD, EIMAI, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and many others, over 50,000 kids are now making a difference with Loukoumi on Make A Difference Day. In addition to the hundreds of Loukoumi events going on across the country, this year for the second consecutive year we had our Loukoumi Good Deed Bus Tour where with a school bus filled with kids we visited four good deed stops on Make A Difference Day doing good deeds at each. The day culminated with a Good Deed Celebration in the evening where over 20 youth groups, schools and invididual kids showcased their good deed projects that made a difference for charities of importance to them.

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