GLENDALE—The Armenian Youth Federation will kick off the 20th anniversary celebration of its successful Youth Corps program with a reception to take place on October 12 at 5 p.m. at the Pasadena Armenian Center at 2242 E. Foothill Boulevard. The event is open to the public.
The reception will bring together past Youth Corps participants, community leaders and benefactors to introduce the future vision of the program as it enters its third decade of service to the homeland. Organizers hope that in addition to celebrating the success of the program, the community will heed the call to raise much-needed funds for the expansion of the program, as well as institutionalizing it in Armenia by opening and staffing an office in Armenia that will coordinate the efforts on the ground.
The AYF Youth Corps program began in 1994 with nine volunteers venturing to Artsakh a mere two months after a cease fire agreement was signed. The volunteers worked in the village of Ashan, in the Martuni region to refurbish a school gymnasium and soon became an important part of the fabric of village life there.
In 2008, the AYF decided to expand the program to include running of summer camps serving local youngsters in Armenia and Artsakh, thus expanding the foot print of Diaspora Armenians in the homeland.
To date some 200 Youth Corps volunteers from the Western US have participated in the program, impacting thousands of young Armenians in Gyumri, Proshyan, Martuni and Stepanakert in Artsakh and for the first time, in 2014, in the border village of Baghanis.
The key to the success of the program has been the enthusiasm of the volunteers from the Western Region, the excitement and anticipation of the children participating in the program in Armenia, as well as the consistent and generous support of the community.
“True to its mission, the AYF conceived of the Youth Corps program 20 years ago to become a true bridge between the Diaspora and the Homeland,” said Arpa Hatsbanian, chairwoman of the AYF Western Region Central Executive. “The volatility of the situation in Artsakh and Armenia did not deter the AYF from sowing the seeds of this program and against all odds, our volunteers began a tradition—both here and in the homeland—that continues to grow with every year.”
“With the October 12 event, we hope to bring together community members to acquaint them about the Youth Corps and the hard work that goes into the organizing and coordinating the effort every year,” said Aida Dimejian, the chairwomen of the Youth Corps 20th Anniversary Committee. “Our aim is to engage the community so each person can take ownership of this extremely worthwhile project and to ensure that the project will grow and impact even more children in Armenia.”
The evening will feature an exclusive performance by 2004 Youth Corps volunteer Raffi Semerdjian. Semerdjian is well known for his band Palm of Granite, which performs unique renditions of Armenian folks songs. He is also an artist and a painter. He recently moved to Armenia, but will be making a special trip to Los Angeles to be present at the Youth Corps 20th anniversary event.
Join the AYF in celebrating this important milestone and become a part of the Youth Corps’s future and ensure that the program will expand and grow. For more information visit the event Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/events/521626837971998/