BY SELIN PETROSIANS
I have been volunteering at the Armenian Relief Society of Western USA Social Services (ARS-SS) office in Glendale, California since June 2012. My interest in volunteering at this non-profit organization grew when I learned they are a major source of social service programs and educational programs in the Armenian community here. Another reason why I became interested in volunteering at the organization was because I came across an obstacle during my undergraduate years when I decided to write a paper on gender roles in working Armenian couples. I was surprised to find very few articles that I could use for my research so I decided to do my own gender roles research on Armenian working couples. I am very passionate about the Armenian community and I believe there is much needed research to be done on them since they are one of the largest communities here in Southern California.
As a Sociology Major at California State University, Los Angeles, I was interested in the Armenian community, especially the new immigrants and the elderly. Since I have been volunteering at ARS-SS, I have experienced firsthand the passionate staff that goes far beyond what their job requires to serve their community as the waves of hopeful clients walk in the doors. Whether it is simple bill payment or immigration paperwork, ARS-SS staff is ready to help by educating and filling out the proper paperwork. One major program is finding jobs for the unemployed. From building resumes, to applying for jobs and teaching interview techniques, ARS-SS staff dedicates their time to do their best in serving the population. ARS-SS provides senior citizens with citizenship and English as Second Language (ESL) classes to help them adjust and adapt to the American society and gain independence. Other services that the center provides is helping the needy with basic necessities and helping immigrants with a smooth transition to a new culture and community.
In my experience, I was able to not only learn more about the needs of the Armenian community, but the needs of the organization as well. I am proud to say that for the past year it has been my privilege to work with this dedicated and passionate staff side by side and helping them with whatever it is they need me to do. I have been fortunate to teach a Citizenship class and an ESL class to an elderly group and I must say it was not only educational for me, but it was a lot of fun. I recently graduated from California State University, Los Angeles with a Major in Sociology and a Minor in Gerontology and I must say that volunteering at ARS-SS has definitely been one of the most rewarding experiences that I have had.
Selin Petrosians is a 29 year old volunteer at the Armenian Relief Society of Western USA’s Social Services office. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology with a minor in Gerontology from the California State University, Los Angeles.