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The Ancient Olympia Tree Replanting Project Exceeds goals - Honorary Citizenship for Dianne and Steve

The "Replanting Ancient Olympia" project exceeded our goal of raising enough funds to purchase 80,000 olive trees. Because of the generosity of donors from around the world, we raised enough to purchase 135,000 trees. To date, all of the trees have been delivered and Planted. As a result, Dianne and Steve de Laet were made Honorary Citizens of Ancient Olympia along with Yanos Gramatidis and Zozo Idioriki. A great honor that we pass along to all of the donors who made this happen. 

Please visit www.Olympia-Trees.com

Hero Camp in Greece - How to be a hero in your own life - This past year, the Arete Fund aunched Hero Camp in partnership with The Fougaro Art Center in Nafplio, Greece.. As it happens, the fourth labor of the legendary hero, Heracles, took place in the vicinity of the traditional home, now restored, that has become ElaGaia. Dianne is part Cherokee Indian and chose to name the Greek property in their care with a combination of the Cherokee word for earth – Ela – and the Greek: Gaia. The Hero Project at ElaGaia is therefore called most suitably: “In the footsteps of Heracles: What is a hero and how do you become the hero of your own life?” Ours is a Greek-American collaboration that celebrates the heroes of the future in the home of the heroes from the past. This project for middle-school Greek children and those with special needs seeks to reacquaint Greek youth with some of the historical and cultural sites that pertain to the Heracles legend and encourage their own quest to define the hero for themselves.  The curriculum includes poetry and music and an exploration of the hero theme through a variety of artistic media. This program is ongoing, hosting 3-5 camps during the spring and summer.

The Minnette and YA Tittle Foundation - Marshall, Texas

In 2023, The Aretefund initiated The Minnette and YA Tittle Foundation at Marshall High School in Marshall, Texas. The foundation will follow the M-A Scholarship Award and provide financial assistance for continuing education to student. Continuing education can include trade school as well as college. 

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Caddo Lake Art Retreat - In 2019, we launched what we hope will become an annual retreat for a small group of artists who are willing to work in participation with others in a setting that offers refreshment to the imagination and is conducive to creativity. Caddo Lake is situated on the Texas Louisiana border and is arguably one of the wildest and most beautiful lakes in America. We enjoyed excellent cuisine, explored the lake by boat, and immersed ourselves in the wildness of the wildlife sanctuaries that flank what was formerly a family home and is now, a house that stands among the dogwoods, in the forest, and waits for artists to come!

Ama's Grove organic farming laboratory - 300 olive and fruit trees were planted in 2019 to begin what is envisioned as an organic farm purposed for research and teaching organic techniques to the farming community in the Argolida. This project will be headed up by Tom Pew and Steve de Laet. Tom is the founder of Merlin Organics in Tucson, Arizona. Merlin employs a regenerative, whole-ecosystem approach and a science-driven methodology that includes soil and plant analysis, program design and planning, organic treatment solutions, and monitoring services. The objective is to reduce the amount of pesticides used in the area, improve crop yield, and promoted agricultural sustainability. 

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