Ethnography of an Immigrant Organization

The Hellenic American Neighborhood Action Committee’s social facets are described in this article (HANAC). The analyst served as both a participant observer and a reflective practitioner. As a result, the article contains both the benefits and drawbacks of direct observation. Furthermore, the researcher builds on the perspectives of peers in the form of interviews to better explain how coworkers interpret the working environment. An ethnographic study, according to Iacono, Brown, and Holtham (40), is profound and points out the actual circumstance of the subject, institution, or individuals being analyzed because the researcher can document the culture and social environment. Therefore, the researcher worked and interacted with the staff from HANAC organization to be able to write the following ethnographic.


Evidently, the effects of the HANAC organization are felt by more than 30,000 annually (HANAC). This contact affects not only the program participants but also their family. According to Immigration Advocates Network, the HANAC organization is located 23-1630 the Ave Astoria, NY 11102. The website is; the E-mail is; the phone number is (347) 774-8501, and the Fax is (718) 545-7758. Any person willing to contact the organization can use the email address, the phone calls and should have an appointment. Currently, HANAC is serving the Bronx, Queens, Richmond (Staten Island), Kings (Brooklyn), and NY (Manhattan). The contact person is any administrator that picks the phone or receives the email address. I was interested in the company because it deals with diverse types of the immigrants who have different needs despite living in the same place which is Astoria community. Further, the organization offers distinct services to various subgroups of the population. For instance, for the older adults, HANAC offers several treatment plans such as aftercare services (Rehab Reviews).

Mapping the Block

A Map Showing the Location of the Organization

Data Gathering

Participant Observation

According to HANAC, this organization was initiated in 1972 by George Douris to assist in settling the immigrants from Greece in the Astoria Community in Greece. Nevertheless, the HANAC organization decided other immigrants from other parts of the world despite being initiated to serve the Greeks. Previously, George used to work for the Long Island Press where he formed the friendship with many government officials such as Mayor John Lindsay who helped to get a grant of $ 75,000 that he used to start the HANAC organization. Initially, the company was started with the need to improve the new Americans with settling in the USA. Therefore, George sought the help of the New York University (NYU) students and Columbia as the appropriate area to do the study that would identify the necessary services that the new organization should give.

After the one year survey, the scholars identified that the organization should prioritize meeting the needs of the old people in Astoria as well as other problems related to the immigrants. With the report, the firm submitted proposals to the City and State which were successful. Henceforth, throughout the years the HANAC organization has continuously submitted proposals that enable their funding. Most importantly, the group has created a lot of employment, entitlements, rehabilitation from substance abuse as well as counseling. Also, the organization has provided necessary services to the youth, families, and the elderly.


I interviewed with one of the boards of directors Mr. Charles Capetanakis and another one with the Chairman Mrs. Evangeline Douris. During the meeting with Mrs. Douris, we discussed the factors that facilitated the conception of this firm. According to her, together with her husband Mr. Douris, they found the need to give back to the community by building an organization that would help settle the Greek immigrants who came to America. According to the mission of the organization;

It is meant “to develop, implement, and administer the operation of service programs for the betterment of the community. To provide these services to any and all who are needy without discrimination as to race, creed, national origin, or another defining characteristic. And to work closely with other providers, the city, state, and federal governments for the betterment of the community” (HANAC).

Mrs. Douris confirmed that currently, the organization can develop and administer the mission when it comes to the development of the community groups such as the youth, immigrant services, youth, education as well as employment programs. One of the remarkable achievements is the ability to give affordable housing services and counseling for its participants, therefore, the betterment of the community. She emphasized that she was very proud of the fact that they started the organization because it is through it that they have been able to achieve the dream of helping the people in need. Mrs. Douris commented “most of all I am proud of the many lives that we have saved from substance abuse by not only rehabilitating them but also giving them employment opportunities that allow them to feed themselves and their family. The impact is a clear indication that we not only give hope to people but actualize their dreams and turn them into important people in the community.”

On the other hand, the interviewee with Mr. Charles concentrated on plans as well as the corporate social responsibility. Mr. Charles stated “I am enthusiastic to be part of this organization because it is humanitarian and helps to change the lives of people in the most unimaginable ways. I cannot imagine what the immigrants undergo when they go to new places where they do not know anyone. First of all, these people are faced with cultural shocks that majority of them cannot recover from if they are not given the appropriate help. Therefore, I am grateful to our founders Mr. and Mrs. Douris for this brilliant idea.” Accordingly, the organization was initiated with the aim of helping the Greek immigrants alone. Nevertheless, with rampant research, HANAC embarked on providing for other dire services within the Astoria community. Further, with time, the organization realized that other counties required services and that is how the team has managed to expand to all those levels. Mr. Charles confirmed that the team has friendly and hardworking employees who relate well to the participants and offer them the services that they require.

Also, due to the conducive working environment, they are many people who volunteer to work in the organization to help with settling the immigrants and the rehabilitated individuals. Most importantly, Mr. Charles is thankful for the many firms, individuals, the government, and international bodies that have given regular donations in forms of money, clothing, and food that enable the carrying out day to day operations. Mr. Charles concluded by saying that the organization seeks to expand nationally and internationally in future so that they can help the many immigrants and people in need in the different countries. Most probably, Mr. Charles stated it would be better if the organization expanded to developing countries especially in Africa because those are the areas that need a lot of services considered there are still issues such as poor amenities.

Photos and Material Culture

Image 1. Certificates issued to qualifiers for Pre-High School programs in English and Spanish

Image 2. Some of the staff from HANAC Inc.

Image 3. A view from the HANAC offices

Works Cited

Iacono, Jessica, Ann Brown, and Clive Holtham. “Research Methods–a Case Example of Participant Observation.” Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods 7.1 (2009).

“HANAC – The Hellenic American Neighborhood Action Committee.” Hanac.Org, 2017,

“HANAC Community Services Center – Immigration Programs (Astoria Office) – National Immigration Legal Services Directory – Nonprofit Resource Center.” Immigration Advocates Network, 2017,

“HANAC, Inc. Is A New York City Based Multi-Faceted Social Services Organization.” Hss.Hanac.Org, 2017,

Reviews, Rehab. “The Hellenic American Neighborhood Action Committee (HANC) Reviews, Cost, Complaints.” Rehab Reviews, 2016,

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