Young Activists Raise $361 for Haiti Relief Selling Hot Chocolate


ST. CATHERINES, Ontario–The images of the disaster in Haiti are being broadcast to all corners of the world, and folks of all ages are worried, concerned, and saddened by the events unfolding after last week’s 7.0 earthquake.

One of those watching the images was 11-year-old Armand Istanboulian, a sixth grader whose family attends the St. Paul Armenian Church in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.

The 11-year-old activists attend the Briardale School in St. Catharines (from left to right) are Mikodo, Seager, Malavai, Armand, and Chris. Photo credit: Natalie Istanboulian

Armand began asking a lot of questions about the images, especially those of the children trapped in rubble or going without food and water.

“He was trying to comprehend the loss of lives,” says Armand’s mother Patty. “He was asking a lot of questions, and we talked about a way that we could help and remembered that a couple of years ago sister Natalie did a fundraiser for cancer research.”

Armand and his sister Natalie had set up a Kool-Aid stand a few years ago with their father Vicken (an AYF Alumnus) and mother Patty to raise funds for cancer research. But since it’s extremely cold in St. Catherines, which is near Niagara Falls, Armand thought a hot chocolate stand would be a better option instead of Kool-Aid.

“Armand and his friends had been talking about the earthquake, so he thought it would be a good idea to have them join in and within a couple
of days the event was organized,” says Patty.

Armand and his friends met on the Friday following the Haiti Earthquake, January 15, made posters and flyers, decided on what price to charge for the hot chocolate and baked goods.

On Saturday morning, the 11-year-olds handed out  flyers to neighbors, and on Saturday afternoon these young activists held their fundraiser between two and four in the afternoon.

“The response was amazing,” says Patty. “Almost everyone who stopped by gave an additional donation. That day they raised $306.29, and since then have raised an additional $55 from friends and family who were unable to come by on Saturday.”

The young activists will be taking the money to the Canadian Red Cross office this Friday, January 22. The amount raised can provide more than 1,500 hot meals to the victims of the earthquake.

Armenian Youth Federation Issues Call To Action


We Armenians are born humanitarians. We know that each human life counts.

We witnessed death and destruction in the 1988 Earthquake.

We saw villages raised and thousands uprooted in Artsakh.

We bear the scars of the Genocide.

But in our moments of despair, activists, humanitarians and relief organizations came to our aid.

In return, we have also come to the aid of others, fighting to end the Genocide in Darfur, stop child abduction in Uganda, and raise money for the victims of Katrina.

As Armenians, as humanitarians, it’s time again to respond, to help the victims and survivors of the Haiti disaster. This is our moment.

Fundraise and Donate, then send the AYF your message about why everyone should contribute to the fundraising. Record your messages on your webcams or on your phones and e-mail us ( so we can share your message with other Armenians around the world.



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One Comment;

  1. arsine said:

    This is such a beautiful, heart warming story. Good job, Armand (and parents)