Who we are

n_polaroidNatalie Tzobanakis

I am a designer and an experienced Sunday School teacher and coordinator, volunteering since 2013 at my local Greek Orthodox parish, St. Demetrios of Union in New Jersey. Working in this rewarding ministry, I soon realized that I truly enjoy planning lessons and taking advantage of my artistic and design background to produce colorful teaching tools for the little ones. This led to the creation of Orthodox Pebbles, a website and small business to which I am now devoted full-time, offering illustrated hands-on religious education resources for the Orthodox Christian classroom and home.

I was born in New York City and raised in Athens, Greece, where I spent most of my life. I first studied medicine, and then graphic and interactive media design, children’s illustration, and Byzantine iconography. Currently, I am one class away from receiving a B.A. degree in Greek Civilization Studies from the Open University of Greece, and I am also approaching the completion of the Teacher Certification Program of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. I have worked as a freelance graphic designer and as a Greek School teacher.

In 2012, the Greek economic crisis brought me, my husband, and our three children from Athens  to New Jersey. Even though we have been living in the United States for a while, my dream to one day return permanently to my beloved home country is still very much alive.

Find me online:

  • Portfolio with samples of my work.
  • Homeschooling blog, where I recorded my experience teaching Greek History to my own children (in Greek).
  • Personal blog, where I wrote about my transition from Greece to the U.S. (in Greek).

d_polaroidDespina Lachanaris

Born and raised in Athens, and with origin from the beautiful island of Chios, I have been living in New Jersey since 2003. I am currently a full-time teaching assistant both in regular and special education classrooms at the Madison School District, which brings me a step closer to earning an official teaching certification. I am also wife to Andreas, and mother to Myrsine and Nicholas.

I am grateful to be teaching Sunday School at the Greek Orthodox parish of St. Demetrios in Union, NJ, as this activity has helped channel my longtime passion for religious education. I also feel fortunate to be a contributor to the Orthodox Pebbles venture as a researcher and writer. I hold a B.A. degree in Statistics and Actuarial Studies, and I have previously worked as an administrative assistant, book-keeper and business software analyst. I love reading, painting, hiking, and getting together with friends over a cup of coffee – even tea.