Little Big Things


AYF members from across California were among the many volunteers who spent the day in the Horizon studios answering calls and accepting donations. Photo by Nora Yacoubian

AYF members from across California were among the many volunteers who spent the day in the Horizon studios answering calls and accepting donations. Photo by Nora Yacoubian

As I watched the ANCA Endowment Fund telethon each announcement of a large donation further instilled a sense of strength in me. With each major donation came the realization that our beloved organization will be taking yet another step towards the achievement of our goals. Yet the announcement that spoke to my heart and earned my absolute respect was that made by the AYF Orange County and Crescenta Valley chapters. It reminded me of the story in the Bible of the old lady and her offering of two coins.

AYF Zartonk and AYF Ashod Yergat members present their donation on air.

AYF Zartonk and AYF Ashod Yergat members present their donation on air.

The two chapters jointly pledged $3000. This sum was nothing special, a mere fraction of the total collected and quite small compared to the larger donations made throughout the program. Yet, I still felt most moved by this donation, mainly because I am well familiar with the efforts that go behind making such a pledge.

As an alumnus of the AYF Crescenta Valley ‘Zartonk’ Chapter I try to follow and support the work of the chapter I spent ten years in. I watched the members of the chapter plan two events to help raise money for the telethon – a local car wash and a booth selling coffee at the Armenian Independence Day Festival in Little Armenia. 

During the festival I was impressed by the sales tactics the chapter members used to increase revenue from the coffee sales. Instead of waiting for people to approach the booth, they approached the people. Two members paired up in shifts and circulated the crowd advertising their delicious Armenian coffee. The revenue per sale… $2. 

Little big things.

The car wash was even more impressive. Representatives of the chapter visited our agoump and solicited their pre-sale tickets. The outpour of support from the local gomideh and members of the Zavarian gomidehyutiun displayed the faith and trust the elders have in our youth. 

The dedicated AYFers told the community that they will labor for hours washing cars under the hot sun in exchange for an $8 donation to the ANCA Endowment Fund. Seeing their activism and motivation the community was inspired and contributed to the AYF effort greatly.

Little big things.

AYF Zartonk member Levon Abrahamian helped fellow chapter members sell coffee to raise money for the chapter's donation to the ANCA Endowment Fund Telethon.

AYF Zartonk member Levon Abrahamian selling coffee to raise money for the Endowment Fund

I would estimate that, collectively, the members of the chapter spent about 100 hours physically working to reach their goal; joined by the efforts of the Orange County chapter they contributed $3000.

Little big things.

Days prior to the telethon, President Barack Obama was in Los Angeles. In less than 72 hours, amid college and university finals, the AYF was there demonstrating and demanding that the president keep his promise to the Armenian people.

Little big things.

Weeks prior to that, with brooms and paint buckets in hand, the AYF descended upon Little Armenia for the sixth annual “Little Armenia Beautification Project”- to clean the streets of an area of Los Angeles, which bears the name of our homeland.

Little big things.

And a few weeks from now, the AYF, through its Youth Corps program, will travel to the homeland to organize its second annual camp for the children of Gyumri. The camp, a free service, offers children a fun and healthy atmosphere where they are taught basic English and vital computer skills.

AYF Zartonk chapter member Saro Haroun was among the many talented individuals to host the telethon. Photo by Nora Yacoubian

AYF Zartonk chapter member Saro Haroun (l) was among the many talented individuals to host the telethon. Photo by Nora Yacoubian

Little big things.

The little things the AYF does are in fact quite massive. The AYF goes where no one else wants to be. The AYF delivers where it is most needed. The AYF speaks out when others want to remain quiet. The AYF acts while others are still thinking. The AYF teaches our children what is not taught in school. The AYF creates leaders. The AYF empowers its members. The AYF develops skills.

The AYF does this and much more. 

No matter how hard I try, my days as a member of the AYF will never return; so I will satisfy myself by supporting and encouraging the dedicated young men and women of the organization I love so much.


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  1. manooshag said:

    Armenians, together, united shall succeed in justice for the
    Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks. The
    denials by all the subsequent Turkish leaders who maintain
    their Ottoman stance.
    Armenians, together, have spoken against the
    Genocide of the Darurians by the Sudanese.
    Armenians, together, will continue to speak out and bring
    the nations of the civilized world together to end the cycle
    of any and all Genocides…..
    Armenians, our middle name is ‘Persistence’……Manooshag

  2. Angela Savoian said:

    Vicken jan, your heartfelt comments about the AYF fills me with pride. I remember your dedication while you were in the AYF and helped organize the walk to Sacramento.Only with this dedication can the community can go forward. I remember my ten years of active membership in the AYF Vahan Cardashian chapter so many years ago as an important base for my continued community service.

  3. Roza said:

    We are few but we are called Armenians
    We do not put ourselves above anyone
    Simply we also admit that we, only we have Mount Ararat
    And that it is right here on the clear Sevan
    that the sky could make its exact duplicate
    Simply David has indeed fought right here
    Simply the Narek was written right here
    Simply we know how to build from the rock, a monastery
    How to make fish from stone, how to make man from clay
    To learn to become the student of the beautiful,
    the kind, the noble, and the good

    We are few, but we are called Armenians
    We do not put ourselves above anyone
    Simply our fortune has just been so different
    Simply we have just shed too much blood
    Simply in our lives of centuries long
    When we were many and when we were strong
    Even then we did not oppress any nation
    See, centuries have come and centuries have passed
    Yet over no one have we become tyrants
    If we have enslaved, only with our eyes
    And if we have ruled, only with our books
    If we have prevailed, only with our talents
    And if we have ever oppressed,
    it has only been with our wounds

    Simply with us death had fallen in love
    Yet we willingly did not give ourselves
    And when we were forced to leave our own land
    Where ever we reached, where ever we went
    Everywhere we left indelible trace
    We have joined efforts for everyone, always
    We plowed everywhere, we built bridges, we tied arches
    We plowed everywhere and we brought forth crops
    We gave everyone mind, proverbs, and songs
    Another words we defended them from spiritual coldness
    Every where we left our eyes reflection
    A peace of our soul and a sacrament from the heart itself

    We are few, truly, but we are Armenians
    And by being few we do not succumb
    Because it is better to be few in life, then to control life by being many
    Because it is better rather to be few, then to be masters by being many
    Because it is better to be few, then to be swindlers
    We are few, yes, but we are Armenians
    And we know how to sigh from yet unhealed wounds
    But with a new juice we rejoice and we cheer
    We know how to thrust into the foe’s side
    And how to lend a helping hand to our friend
    How to repay goodness which was done to us
    by compensating for each one by ten
    And the benefit of it just in the sun
    We vote with our lives, not only with our hands
    Yet if they desire to rule us with force
    We know how to smoke and how to quench their fire
    And if it is needed to disperse darkness
    we can turn into ashes like burning candles
    And we know as well how to make love with lust
    And we do this always by respecting others
    See we do not put ourselves above anyone,
    but we know ourselves We are called Armenians
    And why should we not feel pride about that
    We are, We shall be, and become many.

  4. Roza said:

    Մի՛ խառնեք մեզ ձեր վայրի,արջի ցեղերին,
    Մեր երկիրը ավերված, բայց սուրբ է ու հին.

    Որպես լեռն է մեր պայծառ տեսել հազար ձյուն,
    Այնպես նոր չեն մեզ համար դավ ու դառնություն.

    Բաբելոնն է եղել մեր ախոյանը՝ տես-
    Անհետ կորել, անցել է – չար մշուշի պես:

    Ասորիքն է եղել մեր թշնամին – ահա՛
    Դաշտ է տեղը և չկա քար քարի վրա:

    Ամրակուռ է մեր հոգին – դարերի զավակ՝
    Շատ է տեսել մեր սիրտը ավեր ու կրակ:

    Շատ է տեսել երկիրն իմ ցավ ու արհավիրք,
    Լաց է այնտեղ ամեն երգ և ողբ ամեն գիրք:

    Գերված ենք մենք, ո՛չ ստրուկ- գերված մի արծիվ,
    Չարության դեմ վեհ սիրտ միշտ, վատի դեմ ազնիվ:

    Բարբարոսներ շատ կըգան ու կանցնեն անհետ,
    Արքայական խոսքը մեր կըմնա հավետ:

    Չի հասկանա ձեր հոգին և ծույլ, և օտար,
    Տաճար է մեր երկիրը՝ սուրբ է ամեն քար:

    Եգիպտական բուրգերը փոշի կըդառնան,
    Արևի պես երկիր իմ, կըվառվես վառման:

    Որպես Փյունիկ կրակից կելնես, կելնես նոր
    Գեղեցկությամբ ու փառքով վառ ու լուսավոր:

    Արիացի՛ր, սիրտ իմ, ե՛լ հավատով տոկուն,
    Կանգնիր հպարտ որպես լույս լեռն է մեր կանգուն:

  5. Katia said:

    Roza…. You brought tears to my eyes with Paruyr Sevak’s English version of “Menk Kitch enk, paytz mez Hay en asoum”
    I will have my kids read it. It is as beautiful as ever, and it rings as true as ever. We need to always be proud of our rich heritage, but also be fierce and persistant in the defense of what is rightfully ours. Noone will do it for us. All the so called civilized and democratic countries betrayed us in the past, and approach our political issues through the prism of their own interests. Being an Armenian is a unique feeling only shared by fellow Armenians. We need to always keep this bond special and unbreakable. We should also trust noone else but ourselves with our cause. We need to work diligently on prospering Armenia. Armenia needs to produce something that it can barter with. I hear technology is alive and strong in Armenia. We should delve into designing solar, wind and alternative enegy products. That is the waive of future power. Strong economy, and a united front will earn us respect in the region and around the world.

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