BURBANK—Some of the neediest children in Goris, Armenia will experience a memorable surprise this winter when they receive more than forty gifts from peers they have never met. The kind gesture, an undertaking of the Armenian Youth Federation Juniors Burbank “Gaidzag” chapter, aims to teach members selflessness, compassion and generosity while helping those who are less fortunate.
Members, some as young as nine years old, were asked to donate one new, unwrapped gift that they themselves would like to receive.
“We are a small chapter, so I was worried that we wouldn’t have enough gifts for our brothers and sisters in Goris and that’s why we brought so many,” said 12-year-old Hagop Kozikoujekian.
“Yeah! We did not want the kids in Armenia to be sad,” chimed in Kozikoujekian’s younger brother Avo.
Gifts came in all shapes and sizes and included blankets, pajamas, soccer balls, stuffed animals, puzzles, books, Barbie dolls, necklaces, bracelets and a toy doctor’s kit for a little girl.
Members of the AYF Seniors Burbank “Varak” chapter as well as AYF alumni were on hand to help wrap the gifts. Each present was accompanied by a heartfelt hand-written note wishing the recipient a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
A history and Armenian studies professor from Armenia’s Goris University has been enlisted to help distribute the gifts upon arrival in Armenia.
Even the local Shakey’s Pizza Parlor joined in on the spirit of giving and donated pizza to fuel the hardworking and caring youth.
Last year, the chapter sent gifts to the neediest children in Gyumri, Armenia. The presents were delivered specifically to families who were still suffering from the aftermath of the 1988 earthquake. When the children received the gifts, their faces lit up with smiles.