Empowered to Take Action

Representative and Mrs. Joe and Sandy Knollenberg (R-MI) with the 2007 ANCA Interns

BY ALIDZ OSHAGAN
ANCA Leo Sarkisian Intern, 2007


This week represents the half-way mark for the duration of the ANCA Leo Sarkisian internship program. Upon realizing this yesterday, I panicked. Four weeks are nearly over, and there are only four more weeks to go until we must say goodbye to our time at the ANCA. Before coming to D.C, I thought of the 8 weeks as a long stretch of time during which I would be able to know the ins and outs of what it means to work in Hai Tahd. However, at this point, I feel very much like a fresh intern. I am still completing the first project that was assigned to me and am just getting a handle on how things are carried out at the ANCA, or how to speak to a staffer or representative on Capitol Hill.
Initially, I felt frustrated with myself. To me, this point was an indicator of how successful I would be at the ANCA at the program’s completion. My fellow interns felt the same way. Time was running out and we felt that we had not done enough to contribute to the organization we had such high respect for. However, after going through, week by week and remembering the lectures, projects, erran’s, and trips to Capitol Hill, I realized how much I and the rest of the Leo Sarkisian team had really accomplished. Our accomplishmen’s were not in numbers, per say, but in their quality and how they influenced us as Armenia’s trying to become better contributors to the Cause.
One of these accomplishmen’s was our ability to become motivated to meet nearly every Representative who attended the Congressional Baseball game that took place a few weeks ago. The interns set aside their intimidation of elected officials and approached them head-on, thanked them for their support of the Genocide Resolution and asked to take a picture with them. The Representatives we met totaled 8 and included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Rep. Joe Knollenberg of Michigan. Our accomplishment at the baseball game reflected our dedication to using every opportunity to further Hai Tahd. We made an impact (however great or small) on these Representatives, but a greater impact was made on the interns. We understood how easy it is to add our voice to the political process and that is a powerful feeling.
I have realized that, while an important part of the ANCA Leo Sarkisian Internship Program is for interns to contribute to the organization and make a difference during the eight weeks we are here, an equally, perhaps more important part of the program is for the ANCA to make an impact on the interns. For me, the program has made me realize that becoming excited and motivated about ANCA work is more memorable than the various projects we will complete once the program is finished. And those feelings will become the motivation for us to continue Hai Tahd work once we leave the program and try to make our impression in our own communities.

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