HOLLYWOOD, CA—For the seventh consecutive year running, the Armenian Youth Federation rallied community youth from across California for a massive one-day effort to beautify the streets of Little Armenia.
The Little Armenia Beatification Project attracted more than 200 volunteers, who crowded the courtyard of the Rose and Alex Pilibos Highschool on Sunday morning to take part in the project. With rakes, shovels, brooms, bags and other utensils in hand, the young volunteers proceeded to pick up trash, plant new trees, and remove graffiti throughout Los Angeles’ Little Armenia neighborhood.
The event, organized by the AYF’s Hollywood “Musa Dagh” Chapter, was put together in conjunction with Councilmember Eric Garcetti’s office to help revitalize the streets of this densely populated district of East Los Angeles. The AYF took on the project after the official designation of Littler Armenia in 2000.
The effort, like in past years, was managed by a committee of local volunteers from the “Musa Dagh” chapter, who took on every aspect of planning, organizing and executing the cleanup.
The committee began work early in the year; we collected several donations, called the city for permits, and mapped out the regions that needed to be cleaned,” explained committee member Lori Tashdjian. “We spent so much time working to ensure this event would be as effective as always. The support from our community and the hard work of the youth is exhilarating and encourages me to work on this project again next year.”
After listening to the opening remarks at Pilibos, participants, adorned in bright blue shirts, were split into three groups and began canvassing the entire region making up Little Armenia. Several AYF members took up their pre-designated roles as group leaders and guided their fellow volunteers throughout the various sections of the district.
During the cleanup, Baidsar Thomassian, a representative from California State Assembly member Kevin De Leon’s office, spoke to volunteers, encouraging their efforts and their dedication to the community. Christine Khanjian, A member of the greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council, also thanked the participants for dedicating time to the betterment of their community.
“Currently a large number of Armenian families live within Little Armenia and multiple local stores are regulated and owned by Armenians therefore, we want to help them out by keeping the streets clean for visitors,” said Hollywood AYF chairperson Maria Maadanian. The day’s effort, she explained, resulted in the collection of more than 3,200 pounds of trash. “More important, however, is that we had the chance to connect with our neighborhood,” she added.
In years past, the City of Los Angeles Sanitation Department has estimated that more than 23,000 pounds of trash has been removed as a result of AYF volunteer efforts.
Aside from its more obvious goal of cleaning up Little Armenia, the project also seeks to unify Armenian youth from local and surrounding neighborhoods around common goals and a shared community.
“The Little Armenia Beautification Project gives our youth an opportunity to volunteer for the betterment of the Armenian community,” said AYF Central Executive Chairperson Arek Santikian. “By maintaining the upmost cleanliness of these streets we can ensure the vitality of the Little Armenia region of Hollywood.”