Once every other month, Maple Creek Elementary School in Clovis, California holds a cultural education night. They do this to introduce their young students to the history and culture of the different groups of people who inhabit the Central Valley in the hopes of creating a sense of tolerance and understanding.
For the month of January Willow Creek chose to focus on the Armenian people. The administration asked Fresno Armenian Youth Federation Kevork Chavoush Chapter and ARF’s Kristapor Mikayelian Badanees to put together a small program that would educate their students on Armenia’s history and the culture and beliefs of its people. The night started off with the schools parents and children enjoying popular Armenian foods such as tabouleh, Armenian summer salad, and pilaf.
Then, Ung. Paul Sarimazian, Badanee advisor, began the program by speaking of Armenia’s history, its wars, their victories, and of course, its tragedies. He passed around vibrantly colored photos of places in Armenia’such as Garni and a map of what was historical Armenia. Then our fellow Ungerouhis: Lori Havatian, Tania Kasparian, Rita-Marie Costanian, and Aline Makaryan out together an interpretation of a historical dance by combining elemen’s from dances they learned in Hamazgayin. Afterwards, Badanee Zaven Ohanian introduced the fascinated students to the oud and how its notes work, and later, he sang for them.
Our night at Willow Creek ended with the children coloring in an Armenian flag as our members explained to them the meaning of the three colors. It did our hearts good to see all of those little faces, of all different ethnicities, so excited to learn about the Armenian people. They watched in awe as our ladies danced and looked vigorously for the correct colors of our flag. Once they were all done, they proudly held up their drawings and explained to their parents what the three colors stood for.
GLENDALE–Over 50 young Armenia’s came together from across Southern California Wednesday to give their support to the Armenian Youth Federation’s Youth Corps program, raising funds for its summer camp in Armenia with an evening of bowling at Glendale’s Jewel City Bowl.
The AYF Youth Corps program, established in 1994, is open to all youth over the age of 18 who are motivated and enthusiastic about helping Armenia. The program gives dedicated individuals a unique opportunity to spend approximately six weeks in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, working with people on the ground to make a tangible contribution to the homeland.
Last summer, AYF Youth Corps established a free day camp for underprivileged children in the Gyumri. For one month, program participants served as counselors at Camp Gyumri, providing much needed assistance to many of the city’s struggling families still grappling with economic and social challenges created 20 years after the earthquake destroyed their homes.
Wednesday’s event, organized with the AYF’s Burbank Varak chapter, is part of a year-round effort by the AYF Youth Corps committee to work with the organizations 14 regional chapters to further bolster its activities in Gyumri. The committee has undertaken to raise an unprecedented amount for this year’s program.
One of the goals for Youth Corps is to make the program strong enough, financially, to support its ambitious agenda, explained Knar Kitabjian, a member of the AYF Youth Corps committee. Through a variety of fundraisers, such as community breakfasts, bowling nights, car washes, and other community events, we will be able to meet our goal and provide a very vital service to Armenia’s in the Diaspora and the Homeland.
This past December 7, members of the Orange County Ashod Yergat AYF Chapter teamed with AYF Youth Corps committee for the program’s inaugural fund raiser at the Orange County Armenian Center. Held on the 20th anniversary of the 1988 Armenian Earthquake, the fundraiser marked the somber occasion by supporting Youth Corps’ humanitarian operations in Gyumri, one of the city’s hardest hit by the earthquake.
These fundraisers, Kitabjian added, are also meant to support the activities of the AYF’s local chapters. Each unique event is organized with a different chapter, giving them an opportunity to work alongside the Youth Corps committee to raise money for the program and their chapter simultaneously.
As a chapter, we felt that the proceeds from this event should fully go towards benefiting the Youth Corps program, said Shahan Boghigian, a member of the Burbank AYF’s executive body.
Last year, the AYF annual convention decided that every chapter of the organization would help organize at least one fundraiser for the program, Boghigian added, noting how the resolution has made it possible for the organization to begin raising the kind of funds required to truly develop the program into what will become one of the AYF’s lasting legacies in Armenia.
Editor’s Note: Patil Aslanian is a member of the San Fernando Valley Sardarabad Chapter of the Armenian Youth Federation.
LOS ANGELES–Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (HPMC) has partnered with the American Red Cross and Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) along with other community organizations for a large-scale blood drive that will take place on Thursday, March 5, 2009 at the hospital’s auditorium, 8am to 8pm.
"A single blood donation can help save the lives of up to three people," explained Jay Yoo, Director of Special Projects at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. "An adult of average weight has about 10 to 12 units of blood, so one pint is easy to spare. Once donated, blood can be separated into several components including red blood cells, platelets and plasma."
While donating blood is an easy way to save lives, people surprisingly do not donate. For this reason, Mr. Yoo reached out to volunteers from the AYF, Southern California Korean College Student Association, Asian Journal, Korean American Women’s Association, and various Filipino groups, who have committed their participation.
"Our hospital is a community institution that serves the local Armenian, Korean, Filipino, and Hispanic populations. We’re a family that helps each other," Mr. Yoo explained.
Approximately every two seconds, someone needs blood, and one out of three people will need a life-saving blood transfusion in their lifetime.
“Since accidents and emergencies can happen anytime, to any one, it is important to maintain an ample blood supply,” said Vache Thomassian, the Chairman of the AYF. “The AYF is a community organization committed to the well-being of our local population.”
“Giving blood is the greatest gift–the gift of life.” He added.
According to the American Red Cross, the process of donating takes about an hour, starting with registration, a health history and a mini-physical. The actual donation usually takes less than 10-12 minutes. Donors are then are asked to rest for a few minutes before returning to normal activities.
Some of the basic requiremen’s are that donors be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in good health.
Donors may sign-up online for the March 5 blood drive at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center by visiting www.givelife.org. and entering "hpmedcenter" in search field. Instead of the usual snacks, the hospital will provide a complementary Korean Barbeque lunch to donors on site, or $10 gift card to Starbucks or Subway Sandwiches.
Prospective donors may call toll free 888-590-3883, or visit www.givelife.org for additional information and online sign-up.
The Armenian Youth Federation’s Eastern Region has initiated an on-line petition through which Diasporan Armenia’s may convey their concern regarding recent developmen’s in Armenia’s foreign policy, as well as reaffirm their views on Armeno-Turkish relations.
This petition will be sent to His Excellency Tatoul Markarian, Armenian Ambassador to the United States. All Armenia’s are asked to sign this petition by March 15th at: http://www.armenianpetition.com
In recent months the Armenian government has signaled an imminent shift in its posture toward Armeno-Turkish relations. For the AYF, this has become cause for serious concern. There have been indications that the government’s approach may be significantly at odds with, what the AYF believes to be, Armenian national interests.
The petition addresses reports of possible concessions being considered by the Armenian government as it seeks to normalize relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan. In it, the AYF asks for support to stand against:
* A possible bilateral commission to examine the issues surrounding the Armenian Genocide;
* An imminent deal to concede the liberated territories of Artsakh as a precondition for a settlement with Azerbaijan.
* A growing role for Turkey as a broker in the Transcaucasus, and specifically over the Karabagh negotiations.
It is the goal of the AYF Central Executive to bring attention to this very serious matter and open a frank discussion of the situation at hand.