Santa Ana, CA – On November 24th, The Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Orange County “Ashod Yergat” Chapter ended 2018 by welcoming the AYF chapters across the Western United States to the Orange County Armenian Center “Ungers Giving,” an Armenian twist on the traditional American holiday.
With approximately 75 AYF members from across Southern California in attendance, the event was widely regarded as a success. Guests were treated to a classic Thanksgiving dinner featuring entrees of turkey and ham, with sides of mashed potatoes and gravy.
The event also featured an “Open-Mic Night” portion where individuals were provided a platform to showcase their musical talents. Performers featured guests Blue Kalamianand AYF members Alique Cherchian and Krista Apardian. During his set, Kalamian performed an original song along with acoustic versions of hits from multi-platinum selling Armenian rock band System of a Down. Apardian and Cherchian, of Green KARD fame, teamed up to perform classic Armenian revolutionary songs such as “Mardigi Yerke” and “Zartir Vortyag.” The crowd was enthralled and sang along to every System of a Down hit and Armenian revolutionary song. Following the aforementioned performances, guests were invited to the outside patio and treated with delicious apple and pumpkin pie while connecting over of board games such as Nardi (backgammon) and Shakhmat (chess).
The 2018 “Ungers Giving” event raised a total of $1,000. Proceeds will be used to fund programs established by the “We are Gyumri” campaign, an AYF initiative kickstarted by the “Ashod Yergat” Chapter in 2014 to support and bring attention to Armenia’s second largest city, Gyumri. “This initiative carries great significance for our chapter,” said Seto Cherchian, Chairperson of the AYF Orange County Chapter. “With the Orange County AYF being the initiator of the program, we actively support the “We are Gyumri” campaign in hopes to have a lasting and positive impact on the youth in Gyumri.”
The “We are Gyumri” campaign is responsible for the renovation of the Shirvanyan Youth Center that opened its doors in 2016. Activities in the youth center include year-long functional programs where the youth can take part in English language classes, computer classes, dance classes, arts and crafts, and more. It is also one of the main sites for the AYF Youth Corps program’s summer day camps. The “We are Gyumri” campaign also offers scholarships for residents of the Shirak region with a record of academic excellence and have chosen to pursue their undergraduate education in Gyumri.
Founded in 1933 with organizational structures in over 17 regions around the world and a legacy of over eighty years of community involvement, the Armenian Youth Federation is the largest and most influential Armenian-American youth organization in the world, working to advance the social, political, educational, and cultural awareness of Armenian youth.