The faculty and students of the Armenian Community School honored volunteers from Fresno State at a luncheon held on Friday, April 30, in appreciation for their work.
During the spring 1999 semester, 10 students from the Armenian Students Organization of Fresno State volunteered a few hours, once or twice a week to work one on one with the children and to help the teachers at the Armenian Community School.
Nazik Arisian who works at the Armenian Community School said that the students provided an enormous amount of help, which is much needed at the school.
Shayla Srabian organized games, art projects and did tutoring as a teacher’s assistant for the third grade. Hratch DerKalous-dian, Mike Harutinian and Chad Kirkorian set up science experiments and projects for the first through eighth grade classes. Heidi Dunbar, Salpi Cardoux, Taleen Kojayan and Anna Yergat were involved in tutoring and working one on one with students in different classes. Shushan Khalachyan and Remi Canas coached soccer for first and second graders.
“The children love it,” Arisian said. “They think highly of the students and look up to them.” By acting as mentors the volunteers were able to instill within the students ideas of higher education, so that one day they may also become students at the collegiate level.
However, the students were not the only ones that benefited from this interaction with the volunteers. The students were in agreement that working with the children was a great experience for them as well. Those who volunteered not only got the experience of teaching and working with children but also took this opportunity to get involved in the Armenian community.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Shayla Srabian said. “The kids are a joy to work with, and it helped me see the importance of helping children.”
“The most rewarding thing for me was to see the smiles on the kids’ faces,” Mike Harutinian said.
The students also shared the need to get involved in their community, but for most of them, being with kids and helping them out is what really got them to volunteer.
“I wanted to do it so that I could help the kids out,” Hratch DerKalousdian said.
Arisian said that several ASO members volunteered two years ago and were such a great help and positive influence for the children that she decided to contact the ASO to possibly get some students to volunteer again.
“I was surprised by the number of students that wanted to volunteer” Arisian said.
This volunteer work has set up a bridge between the Armenian Studies Program, the Armenian Students Organization and the Armenian Community School in servicing the Armenian community of Fresno.
Arisian would like to continue this volunteer program and says the school needs help with its project to put together a library as well as more tutoring and one on one help.
“The Armenian Community School is a great school, and college students should help out and get involved in their community,” DerKalousdian said. If you are interested in helping the Armenian Community School, please contact Nazik Arisian at 233-1800.