During the month of March, the Orange County Armenian community hosted two events aimed at increasing awareness of AYF’s ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign. Both gatherings featured presentations on the progress made by the initiative since its launch last year, with the goal of helping address the medical needs of the veterans of the Artsakh Liberation struggle.
The first event, a community forum open to the public, was organized by the local AYF ‘Ashod Yergat Chapter’ on Sunday, March 3rd at the Orange County Armenian Center. About fifty activists and members of the public were in attendance to hear reports from the ‘With Our Soldiers’ task force chairman, David Arakelyan, and Artsakh War veteran Balabek Barsamyan, who shared personal stories about his participation in the liberation struggle and answered questions pertaining to the current situation on the border between Artsakh and Azerbaijan.
In his presentation, Arakelyan reported that approximately 50 freedom fighters and members of their families were given medical assistance through AYF’s initiative. He informed the audience about the procedures implemented by the ‘With Our Soldiers’ task force to verify the identity of the veterans and the types of treatments and surgeries being funded through the program. During the Q&A session, Arakelyan answered questions regarding the financial aspects of the campaign, including the total funds raised and spent during the course of the year.
“Our community is very supportive of this initiative,” said Hrache Novruzyan, the chairperson of the AYF ‘Ashod Yergat’ chapter. “This event was organized at the request of our friends and supporters, who have been closely following the activities of the ‘With Our Soldiers’ campaign and are very excited about the work that is being done to help our veterans.”
On March 15th, another presentation about the Artsakh Liberation struggle and the state of veterans in Armenia was delivered by the task force to the Orange County AYF Juniors Serop Aghpiur chapter. The members were informed about AYF’s work aimed at bringing vital medical aid to our veterans and were given an opportunity to ask questions about the campaign. During the open discussion session that followed, the youth voiced concerns about the conditions of veterans in the Homeland and talked about ways in which the Diaspora can assist Armenia in solving some of the problems that the country is facing.
“It is very important that we tell our kids about the issues and difficulties our people are encountering in our Homeland at an early age,” stated Nairy Cherchian, the advisor of the Orange County AYF Juniors chapter. “These stories are very powerful, and they will hopefully motivate our youth to work hard to keep their culture alive and to continue the efforts aimed at strengthening our nation, both in Armenia and in the Diaspora.”
Founded in 1933, the Armenian Youth Federation is the largest and most influential Armenian American youth organization in the United States, working to advance the social, political, educational and cultural awareness of Armenian-American youth.