For 19-year-old Anahit Abrahamyan, a FAR Mardigian Scholarship student from Berd, volunteering to help out during a three-day summer retreat for children in need offered her a chance to not only build her skills as a social worker in training, but also gave her the chance to challenge herself in a new role as a team leader.
Together with three other Mardigian Scholarship students, Anahit volunteered to lead different interactive and intellectual games and discussions. Children who attended were either beneficiaries of FAR’s Mardigian Child Protection Center or BCPP-supported kids from Berd. Many battle behavioral, emotional or family issues at home or in school.
The three-day retreat held in August helped 25 participants to acquire new knowledge, become more open-minded and develop team-building and collaboration skills.
Anahit, who had previously spent much of the summer volunteering at the center, encouraged the children to socialize and work together as teams. “At Mardigian Child Protection Center, I saw children who had difficulties expressing themselves, even though they knew the answers to my questions. We talked to each of them individually and explained the advantages of teamwork and team building. I hope we’ll continue such talks and works in the future,” she said with a smile.
During the camp, the children also learned national dances, an activity aimed to raise an overall sense of group belonging and national consciousness.
“One of the key topics that we touched upon during camp was appreciation for nature and environmental protection. I was fascinatingly impressed when the children raised their concerns that people engrave things on trees with a knife or a stone, and we could explain them that it’s very detrimental to the trees. Trees are the main source of human oxygen and by doing so we damage them,” said Anahit before noting that they also went to Mardigian Children’s Park for a cleanup.
The Mardigian Child Protection Center is a part of FAR’s Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP) in Tavush Province and aims to help at-risk children through various games and therapies so that they can overcome obstacles like shyness, behavioral and low self-image problems, and to make friends and socialize.
BCPP is sponsored by Edward and Helen Mardigian Family Foundation.