Originally from the Boston area, she graduated from Boston University and New York University, where she studied educational theater.
She began working for Global Kids in 1996 as a program director.
Now, Hantzopoulos is responsible for everything from the organization's budget, to administrative and program oversight and development. Global Kids serves 14,000 youth a year in after-school programs.
This summer its Human Rights Activist Project (HRAP) will conduct an Environmental Justice Intensive, a two-week paid internship program this summer for demonstrated leaders from Western Queens, including students from Long Island City and William Cullen Bryant high schools.
It also has programs in its Manhattan headquarters.
“We have young people in and out of our space everyday,” said Handtzopoulos, who now lives in Astoria. “This is why I love the fact that we run programs out of our space.”
One of the main challenges of her job, she said, is doing more with less, as she struggles to raise her budget every year.
However, Hantzopoulos said she is proud that Global Kids hires full-time, year-round professionals, while New York City's unemployment rate was above 8.5 percent at the end of 2011.
“We really invest in our staff and support them,” she said. “It helps us run really wonderful programs.”
The biggest reward she said is watching kids grow to be responsible, independent thinkers.
“To really see them kind of be able to achieve all these amazing things and become really informed about the world and what's going on in their communities,” Hantzopoulos said of her favorite part of her job. “They're really learning how to be engaged and informed citizens.”
She added that the kids are “not only concerned about their own block, but they really view the world as their own backyard and also really develop the skills that they need in order to help influence policy and make change.”