AYF Juniors Members Combine Service to the Homeland with Personal Passions

Areni and Zabelle Hamparian playing soccer with kidsin Ashan
Areni and Zabelle Hamparian playing soccer with kids in Ashan

Areni and Zabelle Hamparian playing soccer with kids in Ashan

Three members of the AYF Juniors Pasadena “Nigol Touman” Chapter are giving back to Armenia. 14 year old Kareen Manuelian, 17 year old Areni Hamparian, and 16 year old Zabelle Hamparian have found ways to utilize the skills, knowledge and experience they have gained as AYF Juniors to pursue their personal passions and love for service.

Manuelian has been supporting homeless dogs in Armenia, and the Hamparian sisters look to renovate a soccer field in the town of Ashan, situated in the Martuni region of Artsakh.

“I believe that you are never too young or too old to make a difference. My goal is to make positive changes in my local community and in my homeland—to be the voice for voiceless animals,” said Manuelian. “I recently discovered a non-profit based in Armenia called Dogs of Gyumri and have since supported their work to promote the well-being of animals through education, information, and advocacy.” Manuelian has recently been conducting presentations regarding the current condition of dogs in Armenia. Funds she raises from supporters help secure food, crates, and toys for dogs.

Having held soccer as a major part of their lives, the Hamparian sisters recently decided to begin Kickoff for Artsakh fundraiser to renovate a soccer field in Ashan. “My sister and I have found joy playing soccer for so many years, and we want to give back to the homeland that has given so much to us,” said Areni.

Kareen Manuelian presenting Dogs of Gyumri at an AYF Juniors meeting

Kareen Manuelian presenting Dogs of Gyumri at an AYF Juniors meeting

Ashan, located near the line of contact with Azerbaijan, is home to many heroes who were active participants in the Artsakh liberation movement, and to some who gave their lives for the freedom of our people. The field the Hamparian sisters would like to see renovated is on a plot of land that needs substantial improvement.

“This project aims to bring a beautiful soccer field to the kids of Ashan, so that they can use the sport as a means of bringing the youth together through healthy competition, physical activity, and happiness,” said Hamparian.

“While the welfare of dogs in Armenia or the renovation of a soccer field in Artsakh, may not be a high priority concern for some, these members are commendable for their desire to implement change through their unique personal interests,” said Talin Saklarian, the AYF Juniors Pasadena Chapter director.

“Our members are taught to serve and love their communities and homeland through educational activities that teach them hands-on organizational skills,” said Saklarian. “I am pleased and fulfilled by their desires to connect personal passions with service to the homeland and look forward to seeing more youth become active in these capacities.”

The AYF Juniors strives to nourish its members with experiences, information and resources to become ambitious and successful in their pursuit of civic, academic and career excellence, so they are best equipped to serve our communities, nation and cause. We serve our mission through active participation in our communities and during weekly gatherings held at all ten of our chapters in the Western United States. For more information or to join, visit our website, send an e-mail or call (818) 500-8883.


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  1. Sarkis Ghazarian said:

    Congrats to the 3 AYF Juniors for finding ways to help their fellow Armenians in the homeland!!!
    May other young Armenians living in the Diaspora find their own unique ways to be of assistance to people living in Armenia & Artsakh

  2. Jannette Danielian said:

    Theses young woman are role models to us all keep following you passions ladies.