Posts Tagged ‘volunteering in armenia’

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[Web Wrap]: Ianyan Magazine’s Year in Review.

January 8, 2011

Highlights from Ianyan. Because we like it so much.

By Liana Aghajanian via Ianyan Magazine

As we descend into the final hours of 2010, here is a look back at what ianyan brought you this year, from a review on HBO’s Jack Kevorkian biopic, to the cultural stigma experienced by gay Armenians, volunteering in Armenia, reactions to an elevated child abuse case and more. A heartfelt thank you to all who shared, commented, linked and emailed, our greatest motivator is the audience we serve. We are excited to see what stories 2011 holds. Health and happiness to you and yours.

Please continue reading here.

Credit: Liana Aghajanian via Ianyan Magazine

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[GTech]: Birthright Armenia Volunteer Assists at GTech.

September 22, 2010

Mark Perdue, a volunteer with Birthright Armenia, is currently spending his two-month-long volunteer assignment at FAR’s Gyumri Information Technology Center, where he will assist the administration department until the end of October.

Born in Burlingame, Mark graduated from San-Francisco State University and has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science with a concentration in network administration. He now lives in San-Francisco.

“All the people I have met so far in Gyumri, have been some of the must generous and kind people I have come across,” he said when asked about his first impressions. “I was pleasantly surprised upon my first visit to Gtech. The equipment and the employees are top notch.”

Thank you, Mark for your generosity.

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Credit: FAR Staff

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[Web Wrap]: AVC Volunteers Foster Service, Leadership, and Community in Armenia.

September 22, 2010

Via The Armenian Weekly

YEREVAN—Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan once said, “No matter how big and powerful government gets, and the many services it provides, it can never take the place of volunteers.” President Barack Obama recently concurred: “The need for action always exceeds the limits of government.” The Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC) wholeheartedly agrees and apparently so do the volunteers who come to Armenia from all over the world.

Forty-three volunteers, from 21-55 years of age, came to Armenia this summer from Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Greece, United Kingdom, France, Jordan, and the United States. They served in governmental, private and non-profit sectors including, but not limited to, the Gyumri IT Center, Historic Armenian Houses, Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets, Gyumri Healthy Center, Caritas Armenia, Civilitas Foundation, Manana Youth Center, TUMO Center for Creative Technologies, Erebuni Hospital, ReAnimania Yerevan International Animation Film Festival, National Competitiveness Foundation, Journalists Club Asparez, Shirak Regional Museum of Archeology, Center for Health Services Research, American University of Armenia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Nagorno-Karabagh Republic, and the list goes on.

Please continue reading here.

The Gyumri Information Technology Center (GTech)

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Credit: FAR Staff

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[ACYOA Dispatches]: Trip to Armenia Becomes a Character Building Experience.

July 28, 2010

By Levon Lachikyan

When Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) established the American Church Youth Organization of America (ACYOA) in 1946, his aim was to join the two directions of the new Armenian-American generation’s education – Christian and Armenian.

The 2010 ACYOA ASP Group

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Credit: FAR Staff

Pursuing the same purpose, the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) has been organizing pilgrimages to the homeland in recent years. This summer, the ACYOA’s Armenia Service Program (ASP) partnered with FAR to focus volunteering efforts on FAR projects in Gyumri. During the trip (June 29 – July 20), the ASP group worked at FAR’s Ounjian School, which is undergoing renovations, and at the FAR Soup Kitchen, which serves Gyumri’s elderly community.

The group leader was the Rev. Tateos R. Abdalian, director of department for the Mission Parishes of Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern).

FAR’s Shirak Branch organized a very interesting itinerary, which allowed the youngsters to meet with their peers or with adults.

Fr. Tateos and the ASP Group
at FARs Children Center

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Credit: FAR Staff

The one-week of volunteer work in Gyumri and the travel throughout Armenia ensured opportunity for the ASPers to know Armenia from inside. They were fascinated by Gyumri’s architecture and met with families who had been living in temporary metal shelters for the more than twenty years since the earthquake hit. They listened to the wonderful music played by the children of Octet Music School, who must study in temporary shelters as well. At the same time, the ASPers witnessed the outpouring of support for the students of the Ounjian School. With great attention they listened to the stories of the soup kitchen beneficiaries and were surprised when, for instance, they learned that 73-year-old grandma Noune has been living without electricity for nearly 22 years since the earthquake struck.

Young construction group

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Credit: FAR Staff

All this brought them closer together. During this trip, they lived just as their peers in their homeland, celebrating the “Vardavar” holiday and spending a wonderful day under the arches of the Marmashen Monastery.

ACYOA ASPers hailed from the East Coast of the USA – New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and so on. Among them were James Balakian, son of outstanding writer Peter Balakian, Nickolas, grandson of famous benefactor Nazar Nazaryan, among others.

Please read all their stories on our blog.
(Please scroll down after clicking the link)

The ACYOA Bus

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Credit: FAR Staff

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[ACYOA Dispatches]: Khachkars.

July 26, 2010

By Katrina Shakarian

Our week in Gyumri is behind us. We’ve since visited the Haghpat and Sanahin monasteries in Lori Marz. We continued onto the town of Dilijan, where ASPers toured Goshavank monastery.  From there, we visited the village of Noraduz and Lake Sevan. Noraduz is a cemetery that was in use between the 7th and 17th centuries.  Currently, it houses  largest collection of Khachkars in a single location.  Khachkars are a distinctly Armenian art form. From a single slab of rock, craftsman carved out a rectangle. They’d adorn it with a cross, surrounded by intricate patterns. Many of them tell stories.

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Credit: Katrina Shakarian

Khachkars were commissioned to commemorate events like a birth, or death. Today, Armenians adorn their tombstones with pictures of the dead; a trend that emerged during the Soviet period. Traditionally, however, Armenians who could afford it, placed Khachkars on top of their graves. It took at least 4-5 months to carve one.

During our visit, we weaved in and out of the stones, now overgrown with tall grass and weeds.  We stopped to examine the patterns etched into each one.  Apparently, no two Khachkars are alike. 

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Credit: Katrina Shakarian

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[ACYOA Dispatches]: Vernissage.

July 23, 2010

By Katrina Shakarian

Vernissage is an open air market near Yerevan’s Republic Square. It’s open for business on Saturday and Sunday. ASP-ers spent their last Saturday in Armenia scouring its stalls for keepsakes to take home. In just a few blocks you can find paintings, sculptures, needlepoint work, backgammon boards, jewelry, posters, electronics, carpets, coffee sets, woodwork, ceramics, books, and much more. It’s overwhelming to make your way through the market. We spent the afternoon dodging its crowds and negotiating prices in our distinct “Armenglish” dialect.

Needless to say, we all left Vernissage with full hands and empty pockets.

Impressions from Vernissage

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Credit: By Katrina Shakarian

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[ACYOA Dispatches]: Lake Sevan.

July 22, 2010

By Arman Ayrapetyan

Nothing on this three-week trip has topped the excitement of climbing the mountains around Lake Sevan. Together our group scaled the steep mountainside along with Tigran, our tour guide. It felt as though we would never make it to the top, and I had some thoughts of calling it quits, but I forced myself to finish the climb. As we got higher, it started getting colder, our ears started to pop, and for me, it became increasingly harder to breathe.

At the top of the tallest mountain we climbed, sat what we thought was a lightning rod, surrounded by a wide field. Lake Sevan was a great view from the top, and our hotel was as small as a fingernail.

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Credit: Arman Ayrapetyan

To our surprise we heard thunder, and not too long after, it started to drizzle. After taking our pictures, we started working our way back down. The mountain became increasingly slippery and I found myself falling on sharp plants. Due to the poor traction of my sneakers, I was the last one to make it to the bottom. We then bypassed an angry dog and finished the climb with a victory picture.

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Credit: Arman Ayrapetyan