This week, Sosé & Allen’s Legacy Foundation announced the recipients of the 2014 AYF Youth Corps Legacy Fellowship. Four young Armenian-Americans were chosen from a pool of incredible candidates to each receive $500 to help cover expenses related to participation in the AYF Youth Corps summer volunteer program in Armenia and Artsakh.
The recipients are Nayiri Khatchadourian, a 19 year-old freshman studying Human Biology and Society at UCLA, who has a strong interest in connecting with her brothers and sisters in Armenia on a direct level; Nicole Sabbagh, a 21 year-old from Houston Texas who graduated business school from Texas A&M, who volunteers her time with various organizations including Big Brother Big Sister, Houston Food Bank and St. Kevork Armenian Church. Dickran Khodanian, a 21 year-old studying history and Armenian Studies at Cal State Northridge, who is very active with the AYF “Sardarabad” chapter and has been instrumental in the development of the AYF special needs basketball program; and Annie Guedikian, a 19 year-old honors student studying Biology at UCLA, who hopes to pursue her education in the medical field and become a physician.
For many years Sosé Thomassian-Yekikian and Allen Yekikian were involved with the planning and implementation of the Youth Corps program and saw the importance of a new generation making a connection with the Homeland. Through their involvement with Youth Corps, they eventually decided to move to Armenia and make their home there. Tragically, their lives were cut short in May 2013 as a result of an automobile accident.
“With this annual fellowship we want to carry on Sosé & Allen’s vision of encouraging and supporting young diasporans to get a first-hand experience of living and working in Armenia. AYF Youth Corps goes way beyond tourism, and that’s what they were all about,” said Legacy Foundation Director Vaché Thomassian.
Established in 1994 and currently its 20th year, the AYF Youth Corps program has connected hundreds of diasporans with their Homeland and provided a meaningful avenue for young people to take part in the nation-building process in Armenia and Artsakh. To find out more about AYF Youth Corps, visit www.AYFYouthCorps.org.