The Paros Foundation’s SERVICE Armenia 2018 group wrapped up another great summer of service, touring, and fun bringing the number of program alum to over 100. The nine participants and coordinator from around the United States joined us in Armenia to work on impactful service projects. During the one month program, participants also visited historic sites and developed lifelong friendships. Service Armenia was established in 2013 and provides Diaspora youth ages 17-22 years the opportunity to work on meaningful service projects and to have fun in Armenia. Next year’s program will run from June 23 to July 23, 2019. Applications are now available at www.parosfoundation.org.

This summer’s service work included renovations at the Zorakan Village School in the Tavush region. SERVICE participants painted six classrooms as part of the second floor remodel. The remainder of the second floor was completed prior to the start of classes, however, $75,000 is still needed for the renovation of the first floor of the school. The Zorakan Village School services 135 secondary school students. At the Kanakeravan Art School in the Kotayk region, participants poured the subfloor and installed new flooring in three rooms. This combined with the complete renovation of these classrooms has created a beautiful environment for the art school students.

One of the highlights of SERVICE Armenia is always visiting the Debi Arach Children’s Center in Gyumri. This year minor renovations were done at the Center and a “Packs on Backs” distribution was carried out, providing 185 children with the necessary school supplies and backpacks. SERVICE youth had a chance to get to know students at Debi Arach through a fun day of dancing, playing sports, and socializing. While in Gyumri, Dustin Hochmuth, a repeat participant of SERVICE Armenia, also spearheaded the “Groceries for Gyumri” distribution for 100 families. His efforts included raising the necessary funding, obtaining and assembling food packets with his SERVICE Armenia peers, and coordinating the delivery of basic grocery staples, fresh fruits and vegetables, and personal hygiene products to families in need.

Other 2018 highlights included four exciting excursions with the Yerevan Children’s Home, the Vanadzor Orphanage, the Kharpert Home for Special Children and the Ghoghanj Children’s Center. The SERVICE Armenia group also toured many monuments and important historic locations throughout the country, along with overnight stays in the Lori Region and Artsakh. In addition to the well known religious and cultural sites, the group was able to experience hikes at the Hunot Gorge and the Kobayr Monastery, a tour of the Areni Caves and the Historic Noy Cognac Factory, and to visit the World UNESCO Heritage sites, Sanahin and Haghpat Monasteries. From Artsakh to Zorakan, SERVICE Armenia 2018 was definitely a summer to remember.

“This program was executed perfectly for the age and the interests of our group,” said Ani Shahinian. “In the three times I’ve been to Armenia, this was my favorite experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip!”

Applications for SERVICE Armenia 2019 are available on our website www.parosfoundation.org. The program includes tours to historic, religious and cultural sites in Armenia and Artsakh, English speaking staff and guides, safe and well located accommodations and transportation combined with interesting cultural and educational activities that will ensure all will have an engaging and memorable experience. The program is open to both Armenian and American young people wishing to participate in this once in a lifetime opportunity. Knowledge of the Armenian language is not required. Join us and create a lifetime of great memories and friends. The deadline to submit the completed application is April 1, 2019.

For more information, please contact Peter Abajian (310) 400-9061 or via E-mail peter@parosfoundation.or

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