Nikos was born in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1976 to Kostantinos Kentimenos and Dimitra Tessaromati. Growing up, his father was a handy man and his mother worked in a bakery. As a young boy, he started gymnastics and quickly excelled. Nikos had a natural talent for the sport and soon became a member of the Greek National Team. As a member of the Greek National Team, Nikos competed at the European and World Championships. He has won over 60 medals for his country and twice became the National Champion of Greece. When his gymnastics career came to a close, he began coaching women's gymnastics and quickly rose to become the Greek Women's National Team Coach. Nikos has taken his athletes to compete all over the world, including the Visa Championships and the World Championships.
Nikos met the love of his life, Giota Kladou in a coffee shop in 2003. They fell in love and married on November 1, 2008. Giota was a chemist and Nikos was the head coach for the Women's Greek National Team. Things were going well for the young couple and they added to their little family on July 14, 2009, when Dimitra was born & again on December 6, 2011, when Kyriaki was born.
Shortly thereafter in early 2012, the Greek economy collapsed and Nikos & Giota, along with millons of other Greek nationals, lost their jobs. Forced to move in with family, Nikos and Giota lived with their children in a 700 square foot home with one bathroom and nine realtives. Nikos, Giota and the kids all shared one bedroom. Nikos and Giota decided that Greece was unstable and that they wanted to come to America and pursue the American dream. They scrimped and saved and did odd jobs to earn money until they could save enough money to come to America on a visitor's Visa and seek employment.
When Nikos planned his trip to America, he decided to come to Arizona because he had an aunt who lived in Surprise. Once in Arizona, Nikos went from gym to gym looking for a job. He came to North Valley Gymnastics and was hired on the premise that he would have a working Visa. In 2012, with assistance, Nikos began the long and expensive process of obtaining an O-1 Visa which is based on extra-ordinary ability (based upon his gymnastics experience). After several months and thousands of dollars, Nikos received an O-1 Visa which allows him to work at North Valley Gymnastics for three years. Giota and the children are in the United States on dependant O-1 Visa's which means that Giota is not allowed to work.
At this time, Nikos is striving to raise $19,000.00 to cover his legal and administrative fees needed to obtain a green card and permanent residency. He is the sole provider for his family of four and the money needed is more than half his annual income. If left to pay these fees utilizing his income alone, he would never be able to do it before his Visa expires in 2016. If his Visa expires, he will be forced to go back to Greece with his family.
Nikos and Giota are amazing people and Nikos has so much to offer the gymnastics community. In the short time he has been at North Valley, he has helped train over 21 Regional and State Champions. Please join the effort to raise this money for an amazing man and his amazing family. Sowing seeds into Nikos, Giota, Dimitra & Kyriaki will reap a bountiful harvest in their lives and yours. Please consider a financial gift to help the Kentimenos family become American citizens!
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