Investing in our Youth
The “Norian” Youth Connect Program’s purpose is to encourage and promote Armenian studies in the United States, and to create an environment for Armenian students to get acquainted, discuss interests, and encourage activism in their Armenian communities. The program aims to reach its goals by providing dynamic speakers to discuss current and interesting Armenian issues and topics. It is a simple attempt to create a network of Armenian college students and to help them realize their intellectual and professional potentials to help themselves and to reach out to others like them. Over 90 students annually participate in the weekend program which is financed through the Norian Endowment Fund.
The Armenian National Education Committee, a committee sponsored by the Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Eastern United States and the Armenian Relief Society of Eastern USA, is an executive body which serves the educational needs of Armenian schools and seeks to preserve the identity of the Armenian people.
The Siamanto Academy is organized for high school students and convenes once a month. The program is structured over two years and is comprised of lessons in Armenian history, culture and current events in Armenia and the Diaspora. Lessons are also posted on the internet so that they are accessible to everyone. We believe that the graduates of the Academy will aspire to be the future leaders of our communities.
The ARS has supported a shared mission with Camp Haiastan in Franklin, MA, as a place for Armenian youth to hold onto their Armenian identity. The yearly printing of the Camp Haiastan Armenian school workbook, used by each camper during their attended session, is generously provided by the Albert and Queenie Bagian fund. Over the past couple of years, ARS has also funded the purchase of several tech additions to camp, like laptops and smart boards.
The ARS of Eastern USA and its chapters continue awarding camperships for two campers each year. Campers enjoy their stay at Camp Haiastan and cherish that experience for a lifetime. The ARS continues to donate generously to meet the needs of our beloved Camp.
Scholarships have been provided by the ARS of Eastern USA to undergraduate and graduate students of Armenian descent since the early 1980’s as indicated below:
The ARS of Eastern USA sponsors an annual essay contest for students attending Armenian everyday schools or one-day schools in the Eastern Region. Each year, the essay contest features a new topic that encourages the young participants to reflect on their identity as Armenian-Americans as well as provide them an opportunity to think about topics of importance to the Armenian people and how issues may impact their young lives. Students are judged within their own grade level. Over 150 students participate in this Essay Contest every year. The winning essays are published in the Armenian newspapers, and prizes are awarded for the best essays. In 2020, the ARS updated the contest and began accepting submissions in the form of art, powerpoint, video, and other visual presentations.
Essay Contest Topics
2012-2013: If you could “go back in time,” which historic Armenian figure would you want to meet, and why?
2013-2014: If you had the chance to visit Armenia during your summer vacation, what historical site would you want to visit and why?
2014-2015: Track back your Armenian heritage back a century and tell us your family story; where is your family from, and what do you know about their lives?
2015-2016: Motherland: If you had the chance of visiting your motherland, what would you like to see? If you have already had the chance to visit Armenia, what impressed you the most?
2016-2017: What it means to be an Armenian past, present, and future? How did our ancestors keep their identity/religion? How is it different from what we do today to keep our identity? What can we do to keep our Armenian heritage in America in the future?
2017-2018: Why is it important to you that Armenia be a free and independent country?
2018-2019: Imagine that a family with kids your age just moved from Armenia to your neighborhood. What would you tell the kids they can do to maintain their identity as Armenians while growing up in Armenia? How can their parents help?
2019-2020: Tell us about your family history, in a form of writing, art, and/or videography exploring your family roots. Share your parents’ and grandparents’ stories, knowing that they lived a different life than yours.
2021-2022: How do you see your role as a young member in the Diaspora?