Volunteer in your 70s… with your child

Have you ever thought you’re too old to volunteer? What about volunteering with your child? Shahin Hartooni pondered both and then turned those questions into reality. He is a proud Iranian-Armenian who has been living in Canada for the past 37 years. During his fourth visit to Armenia, he decided to embark on a new experience as a senior volunteer with the Armenian Volunteer Corps (AVC). He shared it with his daughter Anna who signed up to do Birthright Armenia as a first time visitor to Armenia!

Shahin (father, 70 years old) and Anna (daughter, 25 years old)

At the ripe age of 70, Shahin volunteered to grow plants, flowers, and trees at Green Lane Agricultural Assistance in Dzoraghbyur. But that’s not all. Shahin’s experience was extremely fulfilling as he made a small impact for a greener Armenia. He also served and continues to serve as an inspiration to so many other seniors. And this entire experience he did alongside his daughter Anna, who volunteered through Birthright Armenia! As Anna spent her days helping stray dogs and cats, Shahin did his part in supporting Armenia’s farming and land cultivation.

Background in construction, volunteering in nature

Although Shahin’s formal background is in construction and accounting, he requested a placement closer to nature. He was extremely happy with his placement as he enjoys staying active. He said, “it is not important what I am doing, but rather that I am doing something.” Not letting his age be a factor, he volunteered for two weeks and was happy to be engaged in making a difference, even if it was just a small one.

Shahin Hartooni covered by Aravot Luso in Armenian

When asked how much he enjoyed being in Armenia at the same time as his daughter, he rated his experience a perfect score of 10/10. Anna’s Birthright experience gave him the right opportunity to accompany her. This gave him an excuse to return to Armenia, a country where he feels right at home. And he was extremely happy and grateful to be with his daughter as she experienced Armenia for the first time. It was truly a special experience for the both of them! Shahin is excited to serve as an example to other seniors (including Diaspora Armenians). Because no matter how old you are, you are never too old to take small steps in bettering Armenia.

Armenia is the best place to live

Despite numerous travels throughout Europe, Asia, South America, and North America, Shahin is certain that Armenia is the best place to live. “Armenia is very dear to my heart and cannot be compared in beauty” he said. Even if only for half of the year, this senior volunteer has aspirations to move to Armenia. He is hoping (and we can’t lie, AVC is hoping too) to volunteer again for a longer period in the near future. And this time round he’ll try to convince his wife to join him.


July 31, 2022