The FAR drive was led by our ACYOA Seniors of The Armenian Church of Holy Translators (ACHT), located in Framingham, MA. In early December, we reached out to our parishioners by informing them of FAR’s background and the drive’s ultimate purpose. To implement the supply drive, the ACYOA Seniors raised awareness by placing information in weekly bulletins, on sign-up sheets in the fellowship hall, and through mass emails that went beyond the parish community.
The items we collected included school supplies, bedding, bath needs, toys, and games. Drives such as this one, are important because they provide the residents of Armenia typically inaccessible but useful daily items and simultaneously establish an emotional connection and sense of kinship with their peers in the Diaspora. Furthermore, this is a common opportunity for Armenians of the Diaspora to create interaction and linkage with their homeland of today. Thus the drive serves a mutually beneficial purpose amongst disperse Armenians across the world. It is through organized efforts like these that perpetuate the pride, culture and existence of our people.
A great way that the Armenian-American Diaspora can participate in Armenia’s youth development is through the involvement of our communities in the education sector of Armenia. Programs and initiatives involving English language learning, health education, and technological skills are all examples of how the Armenian-American Diaspora can take advantage of its own cultural abundances in order to help Armenian youth. It is also important to connect our unique Armenian culture with the culture of those living in Armenia in order to preserve our Armenian identity. Setting up cultural pilgrimages, establishing sister churches, and partaking in family exchange programs with Armenian and American students are all examples of how we can preserve such identity and promote tourism that can help Armenia’s growing economy. Setting up such programs with already established development organizations such as the Fuller Center for Housing Armenia and Habitat for Humanity would make the process of youth participation in Armenia more efficient.
The following are a series of questions inspired by the FAR drive that the ACYOA seniors of ACHT are curious about in regards to life in Armenia.
What other youth organization do they already have, are they social? Religious? Educational?
What is their education system like, especially outside of urban areas?
What is the Armenian youth pop culture like? What do they do on a daily basis?
What do their church structures need and how can the Armenian-American Diaspora best help with their improvement and construction?
How can we create more jobs for Armenia?
What else does Armenia need that we could fundraise for?