July 28, 2013
I came here with a vision. Wanting to do what I’ve dreamt of doing my entire life- volunteer in my homeland. I knew it would be difficult, putting my life on hold for four months; I packed my bags and left Toronto to come to Armenia. Prior to AYF Canada’s Youth Corps, I was working in Yerevan and Vanadzor for two months. Constantly being asked by taxi drivers and tatiks selling sunflower seeds in Opera why I would leave my country to come live here, I realized the more I interact with locals the more I open their eyes to what it means to be a spurkahye wanting to come here and work. I knew I wanted to make an impact, not by my work but by my presence. The difficulty I’ve lived with all my life in a country that does not belong to me was evident in my first trip to Armenia in 2006. Since then I vowed to come here and make my own impact. My experience here has opened my eyes to view my country in a different way. Seeing locals so interested in who I am and what I do made me feel appreciated and welcomed. Starting AYF Youth Corps I was anxious and excited to meet the children I would be working with for the next two weeks. It brought tears to my eyes every morning seeing the eager eyes that would greet me as I walked into the camp, and the same eager eyes that turned into sad eyes at the end of the day. This is the impact I wanted to make coming to Armenia. Our group of volunteers were welcomed everyday with an overwhelming appreciation from not only the children but the parents too. Our program here in Vanadzor is something that these children have been looking forward to all year. From the first day they would tell us how they did not want the camp to end and how they did not want us to go back to Canada. I truly felt like I was giving them the best two weeks of their summer. As Armenian youth we should not shy away from coming to Armenia as volunteers. AYF Youth Corps is an excellent way to give back to your homeland. I strongly urge any Armenian youth interested in coming to volunteer in Armenia to join AYF Youth Corps.
-Nairi Sharabkhanian – AYF Canada Youth Corps 2013 Volunteer
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