By: Zara Hovasapyan
After eight and a half weeks of being an ANCA-Western Region intern, I would like to reflect on the internship. First, I want to emphasize that no blog can honestly give a clear idea of how awesome it is to work for the ANCA-WR and how enjoyable it is to be with amazing people everyday and accomplish something we all care about as Armenian-Americans.
(Above: Erik, Maria and, Shahan racing to answer the phone)
To begin with, I want to thank the people: William Bairamian(Executive Director), Tereza Yerimyan(External Affairs Deputy), Shant Meguerdichian(Internal Affairs Deputy) and the interns, Aram Hovasapyan, Erik Kzhmalyan, Janet Shamilian, Christine Feghali, Shahan Goenjian, Maria Martirosyan and Vahe Assarian. Because of these amazing individuals, my internship was something I looked forward to every weekday! Thanks for the countless laughs and many learning experiences. I am so happy to have been able to build a relationship with each of you and I know that our friendships will last beyond the end of this internship.
(Above: William Bairamian, Janet Shamilian, Christine Feghali, Erik Kzhmalyan, Zara Hovasapyan, Shahan Goenjian, Aram Hovasapyan, Vahe Assarian, Tereza Yerimyan, not pictured: Maria Martirosyan and Shant Meguerdichian)
Some of the awesomeness to share: meetings with Anthony Portantino, Eric Bauman, Adam Schiff, Mourad Topalian and more! The ANCA-WR hosted two events to promote bestselling author Chris Bohjalian’s new book, The Sandcastle Girls, about the Armenian Genocide. We blogged! Writing these blogs was so rewarding when people commented and shared their opinions of it. People that we do not know read our writing and liked it!!!! We manned a table at the California Republican Party Convention and educated people about the issues we care about. We tweeted, we did media reports and we answered the office telephone (I felt good about doing that). And, for our main project, we worked on Hye Votes.
(Below: Hye Votes Balloons at the Navasartian Games and Skype session with Vache Kahramanian from ANC Australia!!)
(Above: ANCA-WR Bruins!!!)
Despite meeting these remarkable individuals and going to places that I would otherwise not go to, most of all, I enjoyed working on the Hye Votes campaign. In order to amplify the Armenian voice, the ANCA started the Hye Votes campaign to register Armenian-Americans to vote. The campaign first began at the Navasartian Games when we were faced with the challenge of registering Armenians with the loud music and the countless distractions. But, for the past several weeks, the interns went door-to-door canvassing to register people in Little Armenia to vote in upcoming elections. I’ll be honest, the heat was unpleasant and the streets of Little Armenia are home to some rather strange people but, the hospitality of the Armenians was very evident and we were welcomed in almost every home that we went to. Not only where they all so willing to help the Armenian cause, but almost everyone invited us in, offered us coffee, gave us sweets, and commended us for our work. Our encounters with so many kind and generous Armenians are the highlight of my internship. I live in Glendale, the epicenter of the Armenian-American community, but nothing compares to meeting a person for the first time and being received with such warmth. You would have to go door-to-door in Little Armenia to experience what I am trying to convey.
(Above: Meeting with Steve Dedeian)
And, I had the privilege of working with the ANCA-WR staff. I sincerely want to thank William Bairamian, Tereza Yerimyan, and Shant Meguerdichian for their dedication to the Armenian cause. Though we all care about Hye Daht and try to contribute as best as we can, it is the diligence and commitment of only a few people that produce results and progress. We truly appreciate your efforts and the countless hours you put into getting the job done! Thank you!
(Above: Meeting with Anthony Portantino)
To all the Armenian youth, apply for this internship! Words can’t describe what you’ll get from it and how much you’ll love giving to it!