Since its start in 2014, Ayo! has earned a reputation for being an effective initiative that unites young Armenians—both in Armenia and in the diaspora—around their desire to advocate for positive change. Earlier this year, the Fund for Armenian Relief’s crowdfunding initiative launched the Ayo! Ambassadors program. In less than one year, 12 young people have already been recruited from parishes across the U.S.—from New York to Detroit to LA.
Current Ayo! Ambassadors represent the following congregations: Holy Martyrs, Bayside, NY; St. Gregory, Chicago, IL; St. Sarkis, Dallas, TX; St. James, Evanston, IL; Sts. Joachim and Anne, Palos Heights, IL; St. John, Detroit, MI; Holy Translators, Framingham, MA; Sts. Sahag and Mesrob, Providence, RI; Holy Trinity, Cheltenham, PA; St. James, Watertown, MA; St. Mary, Hollywood, FL; and St. George, Hartford, CT.
Each Ayo! Ambassador selects a number of Ayo! projects for which they help to raise money within their home parish.
“The ambassador program was designed to create the possibility for young people living in different parts of the world to connect with their counterparts around an issue. The friendships and connections of every single young person can help raise funding and awareness for Ayo!’s plans to improve local communities in Armenia,” says Ayo! Program Director Laura Gevorgyan. “These young people have the potential to make a huge difference in Armenia.”
Ambassadors already channeled their energy to raise funds in support of Ayo!’s Vis[ability] campaign earlier this year, which supported access to eye care for children in underserved rural communities.
“Old men may dream dreams, but it is the youth who prophecy the future,” says Der Yeprem Kelegian, FAR Board Member and dedicated Ayo! supporter. “The ambassadors post on their social media accounts. They encourage parishioners in their churches to learn more about Ayo! and FAR through church e-communications. They also work with other organizations in the parish, for example, the Sunday schools and the Armenian schools. They are united in their love for making a difference in Armenia.”
To learn more about Ayo!, go to www.weareayo.org.