BY PATTYL APOSHIAN-KASPARIAN
There’s an adage that says Washington is run by a bunch of 20-somethings. Washington is a city of timeless buildings and seasoned politicians but we know for certain that there is an army of young talent responsible for much of Washington’s day-to-day operations. Bright and fresh out of grad school, young staffers and interns are there to learn. And Washington is eager to teach and prepare its future leaders.
The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) shares a similar blue print.
The ANCA is developing talent to drive and advance the Armenian Cause in a global society and the ANCA Endowment Fund Telethon serves as the perfect example.
Average Age: 22
Average Volunteer Hours a week: 30
I feel fortunate to be surrounded by exemplary leaders and role models as well as passionate activists from all walks of life who embrace activism in every aspect of their academic and professional lives. As a past intern and current ANC-WR Board Member, I spend a great deal of time telling the ANCA story and sharing what drives our excellence. In short, I say, it is our people. It is our grassroots and the ongoing dedication to advance the Armenian Cause– locally, nationally and throughout the world.
For most, the Telethon’s goal was two-fold– fundraising and messaging. However, behind the scenes interaction painted a different picture—one which serves more as a long term theme. The Telethon abetted to evolve and engage supporters, activists, donors and volunteers as it is this mix of extraordinary talent which serves as our natural advantage.
Given time constraints, no short cuts were taken when it came to explaining the process. No matter how busy we were, time was taken to answer questions and explain why certain decisions were made. Instead of saying, “just do it,”—I heard, “Here’s the background and the current situation. Can you handle it?”
To some, this may seem like a trivial operation. However, to the active, vibrant and eager volunteer, it reinforces their role in our organization and allows them to take ownership of our mission.
During this phase of my life, I’m divided amongst several categories. I’m not in the 20-something group anymore. But I’m not in the seasoned leadership either. Hence, I have the opportunity to participate on all levels. I can teach novice activists all the while advance and develop my skills.
Additionally, our organization operates with no barriers to collaboration. We encourage volunteers to learn from donors and donors to partner with activists as new direction comes from the interface of these different relationships. We all did work we had to do—from strategizing to planning to meeting with corporate sponsors to organizing launch parties to writing articles to presenting at local schools and youth centers to buying cookies and erecting signs and hanging balloons– we did it. And, we did it well.
Thousands of emails, hundreds of meetings and countless supporters contributed to the success of this telethon. Emails from 5:50 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Multi-hour meetings. Skype. Conference calls. From Washington D.C. to Los Angeles. From Las Vegas to Chicago. Donations and pledges came from all over the nation. It became contagious as actions produced results. Every request came to fruition and every interaction turned into a powerful learning experience.
Excellence has a multiplier effect. I am confident that the success surrounding the 2012 Telethon will carry our dedication and passion to higher levels.
To every supporter, we thank you for your confidence and trust.
To every volunteer, we applaud you for your commitment.
To our new supporters and friends, we welcome you with open arms.
To our leaders, we commend you for entrusting the 20-somethings and 30-somethings with a seat at the table and giving us the opportunity to direct, learn and develop under the ANCA vision.