Are you looking for something meaningful to do shortly after (or before) retirement? How about volunteering with AVC to share your wealth of knowledge and skills? Armenia needs you!
The Senior Corps program is for individuals 60 or older ready to set off on a new journey and make discoveries while sharing their knowledge and skills. AVC cannot stress enough: Armenia is the perfect place for you to do this, developed (and warm) enough that seniors can enjoy a pleasant lifestyle, needing development assistance enough that elders are sure to find places where their abilities will prove useful. The minimum stay is two weeks with a small donation, one month without a donation; the maximum is one year. Senior Corps members devote 20+ hours of their time each week to developing Armenia in ways only they can and that they themselves, in consultation with AVC, have chosen.
Want to check what specific volunteer placements are available now? Click here.
Sharon Shoghig Giragosian (2022)
Shoghig is from the US. She has volunteered with AVC seven times now, the first time arriving in 2016 for 5.5 months.
When asked why she volunteers, Shoghig notes “volunteering facilitates the life you want to live. It enables you to leave your mark, effect changes for the positive, impart expertise and experience that you may take for granted, but is of the utmost importance to others and provides for a better life. When you see these changes with your own eyes, it adds years to your life and life to your soul. Come, live a life with purpose.”
Shoghig is adding years to her life by volunteering at the age of 57. So what’s stopping you?
Mollyan Freeman (2022)
Molly is 77 years old. With her husband, Molly has visited Armenia once or twice a year since 2005. This time around, Molly decided to volunteer with AVC.
“I love learning with people. When it comes to youth, especially in today’s turbulent, rapidly changing world, it is vital for educators to learn from as well as with their co-learners! Co-learning in Armenia is a gift because as the nation continues to rebirth from the Soviet Era, its strengths (priority given to relationships and the arts) become ever more important. As I witness and learn with/from the faculty and students at the American University of Armenia as well as with/from others in Ushi, the village where I have made a home, I am nourished with new energy and the joys of relationship. Volunteering in Armenia is life affirming. I cherish my prior AVC experiences with the Ministry of Education and the American Corner. I encourage others to treat themselves to learning from/with others in Armenia.”
What’s stopping you from treating yourself to learning?
Raffi Hekimyan (2022)
Raffi is 59 years old, another father who decided to volunteer in Armenia following his daughter’s path at Birthright Armenia.
“As a volunteer, I did what I wanted most – working for an organization benefiting the country I hold so close to my heart. I prepared the communication campaign for the 25th Anniversary of KASA including a communication plan, interviews, press releases, and much more. I am proud to have put a small brick in the activity of this amazing NGO. With KASA, I share love of Armenia, trust in humanity, desire for a better tomorrow, as well as their fruits – the will to think and act. 25 years ago, my dream was to come and settle in Armenia. It didn’t occur for different reasons. My experience with AVC brings back this dream and also makes it seem possible.”
Who said you’re too old to follow your dreams?
Peter van der Veen (2022)
54 and wanting to do something completely different?
After a successful career in computer programming, Peter van der Veen traveled the world. COVID put a halt to that. He moved to Armenia to volunteer with AVC with the hope of pursuing a completely new profession – becoming an English teacher. Of his experience, he says “people learn the most while teaching others”.
He learned the most about himself here in Armenia, what will you do?
Avedis Gazal (2022)
Avedis (Avo) Gazal is a 68 year old participant inspired by his daughter who decided to volunteer with Birthright Armenia. Following his daughter’s path, Avo visited Armenia for the first time as a volunteer with AVC. Originally from Turkey, Avo worked directly with the Armenian Genocide Museum Institute, supporting their research needs and translation of many of their exhibitions into Turkish. Of his experience, he notes that “every Armenian should do it, at least once”.
So what’s stopping you from doing it?
Sheila Syracuse (2022)
Sheila, is a 68 years old and to volunteer abroad has always been on her bucket list. During her many years of research of volunteer opportunities, Sheila found the Armenian Volunteer Corps and book marked it for a later time. After retiring from the corporate world at 68, Sheila began working on her bucket list and AVC was forefront in her mind. Sheila’s father is Armenian and AVC was a good fit, she asked herself if not now, then when? Sheila embraced the opportunity to volunteer with AVC for a full year and says that “volunteering does not have limitations, kindness, sincerity and giving of oneself has no age”.
Kari Komulainen (2022)
Kari, 64, is not Armenian. But his wife is. Together, from the United States, they embarked on a volunteering experience together. In Armenia, Kari volunteered both in Yerevan and Gyumri, where his work made an impact on him. He states: “I am retired. So I had time to do my best, most fulfilling work in the place that stole my heart: Armenia.”
Armenia stole Kari’s heart. Let it steal yours too. It’s never too late to fall in love again.
Laura Axelsen (2022)
Laura Axelsen, Kari’s wife, spent one month volunteering both in Yerevan and Gyumri. Upon returning home, she wrote ”I thought volunteering in Armenia would be about giving – and it was – but the biggest, most surprising gift was coming home younger and with a lighter step and a happier heart”.
Laura feels as young as ever at the age of 59, because she received a great gift while volunteering. Are you ready to feel young again?
Shahin Hartooni (2022)
Shahin Hartooni is 70 years old. He volunteered with AVC alongside his daughter, who was volunteering with Birthright Armenia.
“My roots take me from Iran to Cyprus to Italy to Canada. In the latter, I worked in accounting and carpentry. I decided to volunteer with AVC in my 70s, with a specific interest in agriculture.” Of his experience, Shahin says that “by volunteering in agriculture, I’m happy to have made a small contribution to a greener Armenia”.
Who said you are old? Even at the age of 70, you can make Armenia greener just like Shahin did. What are you waiting for?