AVC volunteers turned spring into a season full of community service, complementing the service they already bring as part of volunteering in Armenia.
Early this spring, AVC volunteers helped paint a classroom and hallways at the middle school in Nor Kyugh, a village just outside of Yerevan where students from the SOS-Children's village attend school. Volunteers and students from the school also helped clean the school grounds. This community service project helped beautify the areas where the children spend their time, both indoors and outdoors and provided an opportunity for volunteers to give back and learn about the SOS-Children’s Village and their involvement in the community.
“I enjoyed learning about the SOS-Children’s village by painting with fellow volunteers, students from the school, and staff from the SOS-Children’s village,” said Vicken Muradian from France, who took a three month break in between jobs in China and France to volunteer at the National Competitiveness Foundation. “This was a great way to compliment my main volunteer service.”
In early April, volunteers helped clean the gardens at Our Lady of Armenia Boghossian Education Center in Gyumri, an AVC volunteer placement site.
“I enjoyed helping the Center with some spring cleaning and preparation,” said Dawn Huckelbridge from the United States, who volunteered in Armenia for two months, splitting her time between the Women’s Resource Center and the International Center for Human Development “It was especially meaningful because we had an opportunity to learn about the Center and the work it does in Gyumri.”
On April 27, volunteers joined the Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets (also known as SunChild) for the second year in a row to help recycle the flowers laid at the Tsitsenakaberd Armenian Genocide memorial on April 24. The flower petals are used to make recycled paper which the Genocide Museum uses for invitations and cards.
“Recycling flowers was a meaningful experience for me,” stated Meredith Derian-Toth from Michigan. “I was happy to help an organization that is forward thinking in their approach towards recycling. I hope this is a small step in the direction of a country-wide program." Derian-Toth is spending three months volunteering with Bars Media and the Seda Ghazaryan Memorial Foundation.
But that isn’t all.
During a May excursion to Artsakh organized by Birthright Armenia, AVC volunteers, alumni, and Birthright Armenia participants spent the day painting classrooms at the Daniel Ghazaryan Music School in Shushi. Volunteers painted three classrooms after which they challenged some of the students to a game of football, basketball and other games.
“Painting classrooms a warm orange color at the school in Shushi was very rewarding. It really meant a lot to me because I was able to do something tangible for the Artsakh community in a small way,” stated volunteer Nathalie Demirjian (USA), who volunteered at Knyazyan & Partners, a law firm specializing in intellectual property. “The children at this school are the future of Artsakh and Shushi, so making sure they have a warm learning environment is really important!”
Serving Armenia through volunteerism and enhancing a culture of service in Armenia is AVC’s mission. Volunteers do this not only through their specific volunteer placement but also through organizing and participating in community service projects.