Volunteers Take to Streets of ?Little Armenia?

HOLLYWOOD–Four hundred volunteers from all over the Southland gathered Saturday September 6 to take part in a large-scale community clean-up of Little Armenia in East Hollywood.

Organized by the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) and cosponsored by Los Angeles City Councilmember Eric Garcetti’s Office–the clean-up attracted volunteers from the community-at-large and various organizations. Volunteers from the AYF–Homenetmen Los Angeles Chapter–Armenian Relief Society Los Angeles "Mayr" Chapter–Armenian National Committee Hollywood Chapter–and the ARF Badanegan Organization removed weeds–litter–and graffiti from sidewalks and walls throughout Little Armenia.

During opening ceremonies–the Very Reverend Asbed Balian–representative of his Grace Archbishop Hovnan Derderian–Primate of the Western Diocese Armenian Church and Reverend Father Vicken Vassilian–representative of his Grace Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian–Prelate of the Western Prelacy Armenian Church–blessed both the effort of the AYF and the volunteers’ willingness to serve the community.

Welcoming the initiative of the AYF and the youth present–Armenia’s Counsel General Valery Mkrtoumian said–"You prove today–with this initiative–that you live up to the expectations of your fathers and forefathers who first established themselves on this coast; with this contribution–you not only help the prosperity of the Armenian community but also provide a valuable service to American society."

Los Angeles City 13th District Councilmember Eric Garcetti thanked the volunteers for their efforts and welcomed the initiative of both the volunteers and the AYF. AYF Public Relations Director Raffi Semerdjian commended the initiative of volunteers–promising that the AYF would not only continue–but strive to increase its public service efforts in the community.

Praising the youth gathered for the clean-up efforts–ARF Western Region Central Committee Member Hovan Tashjian said–"The AYF has taught all of us that there is no effort too great or too small in advancing our community and national goals." Noting the various undertakings of the AYF–the Hunger Strike in front of the Museum of Tolerance–protests at the Turkish Consulate–and lobbying efforts in Washington–he said–"By gathering here today to clean-up the streets of Little Armenia–you are serving the national interests of our people… What you are conveying to the community with your willingness to undertake this effort is the importance of service–and the community fully appreciates your dedication."

He praised the AYF for shaping exemplary youth–"By being here today–you are proof that members of our youth and student organizations hold a greater level of understanding of not only what our national duties demand–but also a true understanding of one’s civic duty. . . You would make any parent organization proud–and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation is in fact–very proud."

"It’s our duty to serve the Armenian nation and the Armenian people with honor and pride," said Vicken Sosikian–Public Affairs Director of the AYF. "This is one of many projects the AYF will embark on to make this home-away-from-home reflective both of the Armenian people and our homeland."

"Another step we have taken to beautify Little Armenia will be visible in coming weeks with the erection of light-post banners on Hollywood–Sunset–and Santa Monica Boulevards," said Sosikian. "It’s my pleasure to say that those banners will display the Armenian Tri-color–the Sardarabad Monument–and Mount Ararat."

The Armenian Youth Federation conveyed its sincere appreciation to the volunteers–and the official sponsors of the Little Armenia Clean-up–without whom the event would not have been a great success. Western Collision Center–Adin of California–Queen of Angeles Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center–Sun Works Tanning–Closet World–Color Depot–Postajian Chiropractic Inc.–HipHopLook.com–Karoun Dairies Inc.–Tri-Star Auto Parts Inc.–Kaiser Permanente Armenian Association–the Armenian Nurses Association–the Hollywood Beautification Team–Jons Market–Eric Garcetti’s Office and staff–and Green LA–played a fundamental role in the success of this public service effort.

The AYF of Western US strives to serve Armenian American communities west of the Mississippi through education–athletics–political activism–cultural activities and social settings. To learn more about the Armenian Youth Federation please log on to www.AYFwest.org.

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