Joyce Deliyiannis, Founder of HelpIs.org was recently awarded Outstanding Citizen of the Year by the Town of Burlington and the State of Massachusetts Senate for her dedication to the community.
Here is more information about Joyce and HelpIs, provided by Joyce and written by Terri Tarpey Clement.
Joyce was born and raised in Greece, she came to America in 1976. She met her husband and was married in 1979 to Stellios together they had two children both girls. They settled in Burlington where they raised their girls who both went through the Burlington school system.
Joyce has always been a kind and giving person. Working as a hair dresser is how she got the inspiring idea of HELPIS. Her creative and easy going personality got to be contagious with her clients and all Joyce had to do was talk and cut hair. She wanted to help people in a way that enabled them to keep their dignity while getting help. So in 2009 she started telling clients that if they knew of anyone that couldn’t afford a hair-cut for whatever reason, whether poor or, just lost their job, or just down and out that she would do hair-cuts on Mondays at the salon she works at (Dellaria Salons) on her day off for free. But that wasn’t enough for Joyce she didn’t want people to come and have to explain or be embarrassed so she made up business cards that she would give to her paying clients for them to give to people who couldn’t afford or to an organization that helped people for them to give them out and on the back of the business card it simply said “the person presenting this card was entitled to a free hair cut”. No explaining, no reason just pure kindness. Joyce’s kindness brought more and more kindness just from person to person.
The huge response to Joyce’s act of kindness gave Joyce a driving push to have a month of kindness. Joyce reached out to Washington to have a month of kindness enacted and was told it was impossible “it would never happen”. This did not stop Joyce it made her push harder. She took all the right steps to achieve her goal, first was developing a nonprofit organization and obtaining a 501C number in 2011. She wanted the organization to be called Elpis which means Hope in Greek, but the name was taken. So Joyce put in a silent H making it HELPIS which stands for “Help me Help Someone”. Through her organization Joyce has grown into a major nonprofit corporation seen by all as KINDNESS. Joyce alone has provided over 7000 hair-cuts for free to help and enable people, that, just need a little kindness. Charity is not a word used in her organization anywhere or ever – it is Kindness. The organization takes nothing that is not given without complete KINDNESS…
Joyce’s close contact with organization like Plummer Youth Promise, Boston Healthcare for Homeless, Limbless & Disable Vets and many others organizations constantly keeps the kindness flowing. As Joyce says “KINDNESS has no Borders, HELPIS arms spread wide not thin” HELPIS has recently built a library in one of the homeless shelter for the children. The books are to keep and are replenished constantly.
Joyce has a journal book that is available to her paying clients and friends of friends who want to forward kindness. The book is written in by Joyce’s clients that are in need, it consists of stories of why someone is in a situation and what their needs might be, what their looking for, job, housing, children’s’ cloths etc. Someone might read the journal and see someone needs a job and that persons company is looking for someone. It all goes full circle as to how kindness works and how easy it is. The journal matches people with needs and people who want to help in some way. As Joyce says it’s a win win!!
People stop by Joyce’s house all the time leaving things that can be given to another. These thing are brand new or in perfect condition that can be donated to someone in need. Someone might have a business suit that’s in perfect condition that they don’t wear anymore and a person going on a job interview might need a suit. Joyce says putting things together with the right fit is all part of Kindness..
In 2016 April 28, Joyce’s dream became reality. The Governor of Massachusetts signed an official law declaring the month of May is KINDNESS month. Joyce has planned to go to Congress to have the Month of May be Nationally recognized as the Month of Kindness.
Power of Message: Never let anything stop you. This is why Joyce Deliyiannis is our Outstanding Citizen.
By: Terri Tarpey Clement