BURBANK—At the passing of the 25th anniversary of the Gyumri earthquake, the tragic aftermath of which still carries on today, the AYF Juniors Burbank “Gaidzag” Chapter held a meeting at which they watched a video report on present-day Gyumri. After a short discussion, chapter members expressed their need to help better the lives of those in Gyumri, who still live in makeshift homes made of container boxes.
The chapter revisited the topic a week later, as they discussed the chapter’s annual Christmas gift exchange. The badanees, ages ranging from 8 to 16, decided that they would rather send gifts to their peers in Gyumri, instead.
Each member was asked to bring an unwrapped and unopened gift that they would like themselves. As the badanees prepped the room for an assembly line of gift wrapping, they were thrilled to see that their fellow members arrived with bags full of gifts: basketballs, chess sets, hair beads, art kits, dolls, blankets, Legos, kitchen play sets, toy cars, and more.
Every member wrote a note to their recipients in English and Armenian and wrapped their gifts. The gifts are being sent to Gyumri and will be distributed to the children seen in the film, as well as others who need it the most.
What the Burbank badanees showed is that good will and the desire to help one’s compatriots can be expressed at any level and at any age. Their gesture, however big or small, will no doubt lift the spirits of their peers in Gyumri.