An Enlightening Experience

Youth Corps participants visit Lighthouse Foundation offices
Youth Corps participants visit Lighthouse Foundation offices

Youth Corps participants visit Lighthouse Foundation offices

BY SAREEN OHANNESSIAN

Since the beginning of my trip to Armenia with the AYF Youth Corps, I have been exposed to many enlightening experiences. In this case, “enlightening” is proper word use when describing our visit to the Armenian Lighthouse Charitable Foundation located in the Armavir Province of Armenia.

Seta and Zohrab Ghazarian formed this organization about 20 years ago when they noticed a lack in the Armenian community supporting help to those dealing with domestic abuse, homelessness and poverty. Basic needs and necessities are provided by the organization via sponsors and volunteers. Doctors, dentists, psychologists and gynecologists come together to help women and children stay happy and healthy. This all occurs in one 10,000 square foot building, which has been dedicated to the Foundation for nearly 20 years.

Other programs organized by the Armenian Lighthouse Charitable Foundation include feeding the elders of Armenia and providing housing and basic living needs to Syrian immigrants. The organization also provides independent living opportunities for those women who have chosen to live on their own. Of course, this adjustment can be difficult for those who have been relying on the help of the Armenian Lighthouse Charitable Foundation. For this reason, the Foundation has made a continuous effort to keep in touch with previous residents and provide them with anything they may need.

During our visit, one of the participants asked about ways we can help the Foundation after we return to California. Seta excitedly replied, “we need the young generation in California to help us send clothes as we are getting old.” After speaking with Mrs. Seta and touring the building, I was reminded of the idea of a growing and improving community the Armenian youth ultimately strives for. This organization further proves that when the government’s desire or ability falls short, there are individuals who are willing to step up and satisfy that demand. In a country that is constantly trying to catch up to the rest of the world, it is refreshing to see the progress being made by the efforts of the Ghazarian family. My last impression of Mrs. Seta Ghazarian left me in awe. When a participant asked why she decided to work specifically with a female demographic, she simply answered, “it’s a calling.”

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