“The first success of ‘Eco Unger’ came even before the launch of the program,” said Razmig Sarkissian, the AYF Montebello Juniors chapter director. “It was uplifting, motivating and fulfilling to see that the concept of the program came from our Juniors. Their vision was born out of passion; they conducted extensive research and presented a thorough plan. They focused on youth empowerment, democratic processes and working together with the local A.R.F. chapter and the AYF membership as much as they focused on environmental sustainability locally and in Armenia.”
“Eco Unger” is spearheaded by AYF Montebello Juniors member Harutyun Demirjian who is a senior at Montebello Applied Technical Center High School. Demirjian prepared the design of the garden bed in Google Sketch up and overlaid it on a Google Map satellite rendering of the Armenian Center. He combined the drawings with a program plan and proposed budget.
To help guide the program, AYF Seniors members Mikael Matossian and Flora Adamian were recruited as program co-directors.
“Environmentalism is a part of social justice, and by extension, the AYF,” said Matossian who is a UCLA graduate and co-chairman of AYF’s United Human Rights Council. “In addition to raising awareness about environmental consciousness within our community, “Eco Unger” also offers a tremendous opportunity for leadership development of our Juniors.”
The program aims to serve the interests of Armenia as much as it works to enhance the local community.
“Through our lectures, workshops and events we urge Juniors to keep in mind the current state of the Armenian environment and the urgent importance of taking initiative in preserving the homeland,” said Adamian who is an undergraduate student at Occidental College.
To coordinate activities and ensure harmony with other soon-to-launch special skills programs, the AYF Montebello Juniors chapter executive dedicated a member of its body and 11th grader at Mesrobian Armenian School, Hrag Harboyan, to operations of the “Eco Unger.”
“The AYF continues to be the platform of our community’s youth – where innovative ideas are developed and put into action” said Sarkissian. “When we empower our youth and give them the responsibility and opportunity to catalyze their inner genius, there is no mountain we cannot move.”
The AYF Juniors Montebello chapter has already developed plans to launch additional special skills programs in coming months.
“As a part of our mission and an added value to being an AYF Junior, we strive to cultivate and incubate special skills in high-impact arenas,” said Vicken Sosikian, AYF Juniors Central Council representative to the Montebello chapter. “We hope that our chapters becomes the soil where the seeds of future leaders in IT, politics, business, media, arts and the environment are planted – seeds that sprout and yield greatness to our homeland and society.”