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Lauraine Velez

Co-Founder and Executive Director

Lauraine has over two decades of experience with the United Nations and managing humanitarian projects in Morocco, India and Nicaragua.  By chance, she met and married her Greek husband, who was the catalyst for creating Hestia Hellas.  “Hestia” honors the Greek Goddess, Hestia, of the family, home and hearth.


Alen Amini

Alen is the son of Iranian immigrants. He worked with immigrant and refugee populations as a former high school teacher and vice principal, and has worked on cross cultural exchanges as the Executive Director of the J. Austin White Cultural Center, as a US-Brazil fellow, and as a Fulbright scholar in Central Asia. Alen has an MPA from Harvard University and an MBA from Dartmouth. He has worked for the White House and the U.S. Department of State.

Dr. Kate Cooper

Kate is a Clinical Psychologist and researcher who holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. She currently holds an NIHR fellowship to investigate the experiences of autistic people with gender dysphoria. She has worked in a diverse range of clinical settings including with children and families, with adults, with people with learning disabilities and autism, and with refugees and asylum seekers in the UK and in Greece. In her current role, Kate works with children and families with mental health problems in the NHS and conducts research at the University of Bath. 

Leonard Doolan

The Revd. Canon Leonard Doolan (Fr. Leonard) is the Anglican priest at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Athens. He has been a priest for 36 years and is married to Lynne, who currently volunteers as Hestia’s Child-Friendly Space Coordinator.  St. Paul’s and the wider Anglican Church have been financially supportive of Hestia Hellas throughout the period of austerity measures and the crisis of refugees and migrants into Greece.  In addition, Leonard has supported the expansion of our safeguarding policies and works in close collaboration with our Human Resources Officer to ensure safe recruitment practices.

Athena Trigenis

Athena, a Clinical Psychologist holds a dual Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Indianapolis and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Wales.  She is the founder of Roots Wellness Center, which provides integrative therapies for Athens-based individuals.  Athena specializes in, Mind-Body Approaches, Harvard’s Meditation Practices for Everyday Living, Clinical Hypnosis, Trauma Therapy for PTSD and Training in Grief Counseling.