Armenian Service Program: participants depart for homeland

Armenian Service Program: participants depart for homeland

Armenian Service Program 2007Young volunteers to serve Armenians in need


On 5 July 2007, participants of the ACYOA Armenia Service Program (ASP) left for the homeland. The 27 young adults, ages 18-27, will be touring the country and working as counselors and instructors at Tzitzernak Camp in Vanadzor in the northern part of Armenia.


This year's leader is the Deacon Artak Khachikyan (Deacon-in-Charge of the St. Gregory of Narek Church of Cleveland, Ohio).


The participants represent eleven parishes in nine states in the Eastern Diocese (Etchmiadzin related). They had a day-long layover in Prague (the Czech Republic), where they spent the day touring the city. The participants arrived in Yerevan on 7 July 2007, to begin their journey of self-discovery and service to others.


“I was attracted to the Armenian Service Program because a number of my friends who have been to Armenia were deeply affected by it,” said Arda Paylan, a parishioner of the St. James Church of Evanston, Illinois. “They felt a deep connection to Armenia and I was inspired by their love of the country and its people. But the most important thing that appealed to me was the service dimension of the program.”


The participants are John Flanagan from Connecticut; Gevorg Azizi and Arda Paylan from Illinois; Amanda Kavjian from Massachusetts; Karen Dardarian, Kimberly Karakashian, Brent Palaian, Allison Parks, and Mary Parsigian from Michigan; Lauren Ashbahian and Alissa Bonjuklian from New Jersey; Olivia Derderian, Paul Der Ohannesian, Michael Givelekian, Emily Krolian, Callan Schanz and Christina Sirabian from New York; Christina and Zachary Kowalski from Ohio; Jim Keshgegian, Garen Nigon, Paul Sookiasian and Danielle Uber from Pennsylvania; Sasoon Hovsepian, Aleen and Jack Klachian from Texas, and Syona Marout.


Many of the participants are following in the footsteps of friends and family.


“My father (Dn. Albert Keshgegian) was an ASP participant back in 1972, so I've been hearing about Etchmiadzin, Yerevan and Mount Ararat all my life,” said Jim Keshgegian, a parishioner at the Holy Trinity Church of Cheltenham, Pennsylvania. “I can't wait to finally experience these sites for myself. I'm hoping to learn more about my family, our people and who I am during this trip as well as strengthen my faith.”


“The ASP is one of the best things we do,” said Nancy Basmajian, ACYOA Executive Secretary, who coordinates the trip. “I'm always amazed at how the young people who participate are profoundly transformed by the experience of living and working in the homeland. I always look forward to their enthusiasm when they return!”


(with adjustments)


Department of Communications
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Jake Goshert, Media Relations Specialist
Tel: (212) 686-0710 Ext. 160; Fax: (212) 779-3558
[email protected]
5 July 2007