For the last month and a half, Tatev Abrahamyan, a senior majoring in Psychology at Cal State Long Beach and a nationally renowned chess champion, has been volunteering every week at the AYF Central Office in Glendale in an effort to give back to her community.
I really enjoy volunteering at the AYF, says Abrahamyan. Every day I see and hear about people who go out of their way to be involved in their community and make an impact, which is really motivational. I hope my contributions are also helpful.
Abrahamyan initially approached the AYF in mid-February, looking to volunteer as part of a requirement for a university course. She wanted to fulfill her volunteer hours working with an Armenian organization rooted in the community because, as she explains it, At times I felt isolated from my culture and not as involved as I should be.
After meeting with AYF Executive Director, Serouj Aprahamian, Tatev was welcomed as an intern and given a series of specially-tailored projects related to the AYFs Haytoug magazine, community outreach initiatives, translation, and grant research.
There is always an abundance of work to do here at the AYF so, of course, we were glad to hear from Tatev when she contacted us, says Aprahamian. We are a volunteer-based organization that opens its doors to any and all youth interested in serving the community.
In addition to being a student and volunteer, Tatev is an accomplished chess player. She gained a love for the sport in Yerevan, where she was born, and carried on her passion after moving to the US. She has competed in both national and international competitions since 1996, earning 2nd place in the 2011 US Womens Championship and tying for 3rd place during the 2010 Womens Olympiad. She has her sights set on one day being designated as a Grandmaster, the highest title awarded by the world chess organization.
She also plans to continue her education in psychology and eventually become a college professor. I have a lot of respect for education, says Abrahamyan, and I want to be able to make my own contribution.
The AYF continues to accept interns and volunteers on a year-round basis. It also recently inaugurated the second year of its annual Karekin Njdeh Future Leaders Program, an intensive 8-week program for students seeking to gain experience in community activism.
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.