Greek American Press

Preserving Greek American Heritage
One Story at a Time

The “Hellenism in the Heartland” series, published by Greek American Press, an imprint of PSIHCO, LLC, chronicles the legacy of Greek-American Community Services (GACS) and the early histories of its two related organizations, the Greek-American Nursing Home Committee (GANHC) and the Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly (CLESE). It also offers a glimpse into Hellenic life in Chicago during this era (1970s-2000s); a time of increased cultural appreciation and awareness, renewed ethnic pride, and unprecedented achievement. 

Authored by John Psiharis, who was GACS co-founder, president, and executive director; with the active involvement of Dr. Elaine Thomopoulos; who served as GACS co-founder, vice president, administrator, and cultural arts program director; this series includes photos, ephemera, detailed timelines, and who’s who listings for each organization. John and Elaine’s experiences, recollections, and files, provide a comprehensive history of GACS and insider accounts of how the GANHC achieved what some thought impossible, the fulfillment of the community’s long-held dream of establishing a Greek-American nursing home. 

Working to Preserve Our Heritage: The Incredible Legacy of Greek-American Community Services, meticulously details the dynamic history of GACS, which in its day, celebrated, promoted, and preserved Greek American cultural heritage though far-ranging public programs in the arts and humanities, touched the lives of thousands through its social services, introduced adult day care as a viable care option for the community, helped build better interethnic understanding and cooperation, and gave birth to the committee that established Chicago’s Greek-American Nursing Home. The early years of the Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly (CLESE), an organization GACS played a key role in launching, are also described. 

Breaking Ground: The Inside Story of Chicago’s Greek Nursing Home Movement, the second in the series, recounts the groundbreaking efforts of the GANHC to establish a Greek American nursing home. This book, in intimate detail, tells the story of how this monumental project came to fruition. John and Elaine’s involvement as co-founders and board members throughout this time provides a unique vantage point for this narrative. 

Hellenes in the Windy City: The Greeks in Chicago - 1970-2000, co-written by John Psiharis and Elaine Thomopoulos, is a snapshot of Greek life in Chicago during the time of GACS, including profiles, photos, and ephemera of some of the more prominent individuals and organizations of the era. It is planned for 2025.

Working to Preserve Our Heritage: The Incredible Legacy of Greek-American Community Services

Working to Preserve Our Heritage: The Incredible Legacy of Greek-American Community Services

"Working to Preserve Our Heritage: The Incredible Legacy of Greek-American Community Services," meticulously details the dynamic history of GACS, which in its day, celebrated, promoted, and preserved Greek American cultural heritage though far-ranging public programs in the arts and humanities, touched the lives of thousands through its social services, introduced adult day care as a viable care option for the community, helped build better interethnic understanding and cooperation, and gave birth to the committee that established Chicago’s Greek-American Nursing Home. The early years of the Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly (CLESE), an organization GACS played a key role in launching, are also described. Now available in print through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Ingram Spark, and as an eBook at Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, Baker & Taylor, Barnes and Noble, Fable, Gardners, Hoopla, Kobo, Smashwords, Vivlio, and other online stores. The hardcover includes a comprehensive index for easy reference and has black and white photos and the eBook has color pictures.

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Breaking Ground: The Inside Story of Chicago's Greek Nursing Home Movement

Breaking Ground: The Inside Story of Chicago's Greek Nursing Home Movement

"Breaking Ground: The Inside Story of Chicago’s Greek Nursing Home Movement," the second in the series, recounts the groundbreaking efforts of the GANHC to establish a Greek American nursing home. This book, in intimate detail, tells the story of how this monumental project came to fruition. John and Elaine’s involvement as co-founders and board members throughout this time provides a unique vantage point for this narrative. Now available in print through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Ingram Spark, and as an eBook at Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, Baker & Taylor, Barnes and Noble, Gardners, Hoopla, Kobo, Smashwords, Vivlio, and other online stores. The hardcover includes a comprehensive index for easy reference and has black and white photos and the eBook has color pictures.

Hellenes in the Windy City: The Greeks in Chicago - 1970-2000

Hellenes in the Windy City: The Greeks in Chicago - 1970-2000

"Hellenes in the Windy City: The Greeks in Chicago - 1980-2000," co-written by John Psiharis and Elaine Thomopoulos, is a snapshot of Greek life in Chicago during the time of GACS, including profiles, photos, and ephemera of some of the more prominent individuals and organizations of the era. It is planned for 2025.

On a cold and snowy evening in December 1982, motivated by the lofty Hellenic ideals of philotimo and philoxenia, a diverse and dynamic group of Greek Americans launched a groundbreaking movement that forever changed the landscape of Chicago’s Greek community. 

Forty years later, John Psiharis, with substantial involvement from Dr. Elaine Thomopoulos. the co-founders of Greek-American Community Services, recount how this determined group of Greek-Americans helped ignite a renaissance in Chicago’s Greek Community, and counts amongst its achievements the establishment of a Greek-American nursing home, an impressive portfolio of groundbreaking cultural programming, enhanced multi-cultural cooperation, and a legacy of service in helping those in need. 

Extensive research and insider accounts offer a glimpse into the behind the scenes stories and inner workings of this trailblazing organization lauded as “a leading example of the very best our community has to offer.” Enhanced with 210 images, the book provides a who’s who encompassing 180 entries, a chronological history of GACS, and a chapter about the early years of the Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly, an organization GACS helped launch.

Now available in print through Amazon,  Barnes and Noble, Ingram Spark, and other online retailers, and as an eBook at Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, Baker & Taylor, Barnes and Noble, Fable, Gardners, Hoopla, Kobo, Smashwords, Vivlio, and other online stores. The hardcover includes a comprehensive index for easy reference and has black and white photos. The eBook has color photos but no index.

Amazon:  Working to Preserve Our Heritage

Barnes & Noble: Order "Working to Preserve Our Heritage" Book 1 

Books 2 Read: Order "Working to Preserve Our Heritage" Book 1 


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In December, 1982, a handful of Greek Americans gathered for coffee in the back room of the Elysion Restaurant, located in Chicago’s Budlong Woods neighborhood, to discuss unmet community needs and what they could do to help. This eclectic but determined group included a doctor, restaurant owner, journalist, teacher, community elder, and college student.

By the end of this meeting, the seeds of what grew into Chicago’s Greek American Nursing Home were born. This unprecedented community undertaking, which some thought would never come to fruition, built widespread community support that spanned the generations and involved all facets of the community ranging from school children to seniors, housewives to millionaires, professionals to business owners, and virtually every community organization, society, and church in the area.

More than 40 years after that first meeting, and two decades after the opening of the Greek American Rehabilitation and Care Centre, John Psiharis, with substantial involvement from Dr. Elaine Thomopoulos, recounts the history of this monumental undertaking through their unique perspectives as co-founders of Greek-American Community Services and the Greek-American Nursing Home Committee, where they served as board members from inception through 2006.

From that first meeting through construction and opening, this book, the second entry in the Hellenism in the Heartland Series, details the struggles and successes in achieving this monumental goal. The early years, rallying the community behind this effort, site selection, obtaining zoning and approvals, raising funds, arranging financing, groundbreaking, construction, and opening festivities are all covered. There were setbacks as well, ranging from Chicago politicians who offered an environmentally contaminated property in place of a promised location, to internal disagreements, opening pains, and crushing debt that needed to be urgently fixed.

Through good times and bad, progress and setbacks, this diligent group persevered and navigated these challenges to accomplish the dream that many thought impossible. Of the nursing home, a newspaper of the day proclaimed: “The creation of this center united the Chicagoland Greek Americans as no other project or cause has in these times.” Today, the Greek American Rehabilitation and Care Centre is consistently rated as one of the best in the state of Illinois and regularly maintains a waiting list.

This book, in intimate detail, tells the story of how this monumental project came to life. John and Elaine’s involvement throughout this time provide a unique vantage point for this narrative. The story is enhanced by 105 images and photos, an extensive who’s who listing with 139 entries, and a detailed chronological history covering the years 1982 through 2006. 

Now available in print through Amazon,  Barnes and Noble, Ingram Spark, and other online retailers, and as an eBook at Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, Baker & Taylor, Barnes and Noble, Fable, Gardners, Hoopla, Kobo, Smashwords, Vivlio, and other online stores. The hardcover includes a comprehensive index for easy reference and has black and white photos. The eBook has color photos but no index.

Amazon:  https://amzn.to/3Uxd6Y1

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/breaking-ground-john-psiharis/1145386867?ean=2940179800705

Books 2 Read:  https://books2read.com/u/mgylpX


BIG Helpers, Inc. is an Amazon affiliate, and may receive a small percentage of your purchase price (at no additional cost to you) on qualifying purchases made through Amazon links on this website.

The 1970s through 2000s were momentous times for some 240,000 Greek Americans living in Chicagoland. After decades of working to establish themselves in the U.S., the fruits of their labors were becoming apparent. Greeks had become the highest educated and second wealthiest ethnic group in the U.S. 

It was a time of progress, promise, assimilation, ethnic pride, and accomplishment. In Chicago, Greek-Americans owned countless restaurants and stores, as well as many other businesses of all types and sizes. They excelled in medicine, law, government, academics, and the sciences. Churches and organizations were integral to Greek-American society. It is noteworthy that this era gave birth to two massive Chicago-based community projects, the National Hellenic Museum, and the Greek American Rehabilitation and Care Centre.

John Psiharis and Elaine Thomopoulos, co-founders of Greek-American Community Services and the Greek-American Nursing Home Committee, join forces as co-authors, to chronicle Chicago’s Greek community during this pivotal time in its history. Pictures and ephemera add to this story as do extensive listings of business owners, professionals, politicians, academics, artists, and others of the era. Biographies of a number of individuals and organizations that were influential in the community at this time are also included. The book will be released in 2025.

John Psiharis was co-founder, president, and executive director of Greek-American Community Services from inception through 2002 and served on the Greek-American Nursing Home Committee from inception through 2006. He was a founding member and two-time past president of the Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly. John’s professional activities have included serving as coordinator of community services for the Community Advocacy Network of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, senior services director at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, and executive director of the Bosnian and Herzegovinian American Community Center. He is currently the executive director of the Irving Park Community Food Pantry; a position he has held since 2008. 

John was appointed by three Chicago mayors (Washington, Sawyer, and Daley) to serve as a member of the Chicago Community Development Advisory Committee and completed a three-year term as chairman of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs City Arts-Social Services Grants Committee. He was a board member of the Chicago Council for Justice for Cyprus and twice elected community representative to the William Howard Taft High School Local School Council, from which he is an alumnus. John served as a board member and co-president of the Northside Anti Hunger Network. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services degree from the National College of Education (National Louis University) and pursued graduate studies in public administration at Roosevelt University. 

John is founder and CEO of Psihco, LLC. and publisher of its Greek American Press imprint, and is co-owner of Big Helpers, Inc., a Chicago-based award-winning business he co-founded. He was a consultant to the Loyola University of Chicago School of Education, Metropolitan Asian Family Services, America’s Disabled, Fuji Television Network of Japan, and several other organizations and businesses of various types and sizes.

John’s writings have appeared in Ergon, the Greek Press, Greek Star, Hellenic Chronicle, The National Herald, and WindyCityGreek.com. He has written chapters in Organizing a Volunteer Program Serving the Elderly, The ABCs of ADCs, and Modern Greece (2021). He is the author of Working to Preserve Our Heritage: The Incredible Legacy of Greek-American Community Services (2023) and Breaking Ground: The Inside Story of Chicago’s Greek Nursing Home Movement (2024). 


Elaine Thomopoulos was co-founder, vice president, and administrator of Greek-American Community Services from inception through 1990. She was also a consultant to the Cultural & Arts Program and held the position of Cultural & Arts Program director on a part-time basis from 2000-2002. Elaine was a member of the Greek-American Nursing Home Committee from inception through 2004 and served as second vice president through much of that time. 

Elaine earned a Ph.D. in psychology from the Illinois Institute of Technology and was the first director of social services for the Hellenic Foundation. She served as project director of both the Community Advocacy Network and its Assyrian Project for the Elderly, programs of Lutheran Social Services of Illinois. Elaine was a consultant to the Assyrian Universal Alliance Foundation and Chicago project director of “Innovative Approaches to Dissemination of Caregiver Information through Ethnic and Religious Groups,” a joint project of the American Jewish Committee Institute and Catholic University. 

Elaine was the project director for the “Greek-American Women of Illinois” project sponsored by the Greek-Women’s University Club and funded by the Illinois Humanities Council, and the Berrien County Historical Association’s “Greeks of Berrien County, Michigan Project,” which was funded by the Michigan Humanities Council. 

Elaine was managing editor of special issues “Books” and “Scientists” for The National Herald, a Greek American newspaper. She has also published articles about Greeks and Greek Americans in scholarly journals, as well as newspapers and magazines. Elaine served as editor of Organizing a Volunteer Program to Serve the Elderly and Greek-American Pioneer Women of Illinois. She is the author of Images of America: St. Joseph and Benton Harbor, Resorts of Berrien County, The History of Greece, and Legendary Locals of St. Joseph and Benton Harbor. Most recently she was editor of Modern Greece, published in 2021.

Greek American Press 

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  • Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

Greek American Press is an imprint of Psihco, LLC.