BY CHRISTOPHER YEMENIDJIAN
As the Armenian National Committee of America "Leo Sarkisian" internship comes to a close, I have realized the uniqueness of this particular internship. Although there are numerous internships in Washington DC, the ANCA "Leo Sarkisian" internship is clearly a step above. Sure the other internships provide you with a full work day, but with the ANCA learning does not end in the 9 to 5 work period. This year, seven Armenia’s arrived in Washington DC from around the country, and are leaving with a greater sense of Armenian pride. In addition to the daily projects of the interns, they incorporate events hosted by the local Armenian American community.
Though all interns have been active in their local communities in the past [that is a pre-requisite], at the end of this internship each of us have grown more involved in one way or another. And, although the internship may officially end on August 10th, our work for this great community is just beginning. Aside from the educational purpose it has served, it has also taught us all to be more independent. As all of us our still young, this two month period away from our family has been the longest that some of the interns have spent away from their homes. Although we all go to college, and some live outside of home, they usually visit family often. With this internship, we did not have that luxury.
Our mothers were not there to do our dirty laundry, nor were they there to wash the dishes, or cook dinner. We were forced to clean after ourselves, and insure that we had clean clothes for the coming days. In addition, we all learned the true value of the dollar, as our parents were not here to serve as our bank. Living with parents, individuals grow used to the world revolving around them. Living with seven strangers, our world is changed, as no one here can provide the daily needs which a parent provides.
Aside from the differences we have had with one another, we learn to get past petty problems, and focus on our projects, which is a great quality that an individual can possess. Working for ANCA has given all of us a deeper appreciation to our culture, our history, and our people. The most important piece that I picked up from this internship is the need for a strong and united Armenian American community, because we fuel the ANCA. Without supportive people, grassroots will fail, and we have too much at stake to allow that to happen. I look forward to going back to my community and working now and forever with the ANCA. Upon completion of this internship I can look inside me and know that I did all that I could for my community, and I must carry this pride and continue to work and never be content with our progress. Our work will not end with a two-month internship… it is the beginning of a lifetime externship.