AYF: One Fire, Many Flames; Many Struggles, One Spirit

AYF Washington DC “Sevan” Chapter chair Sune Hamparian has deep family roots in Syunik’s village of Artsvanik, where she has spent many summers with family and, in recent years, helped coordinate school renovations and youth festivals. AYF “Sevan” members continue to work with the AYF of Kapan to create closer bonds between homeland and diasporan youth. Hamparian spoke to the significance and broader meaning of these efforts at the joint anniversary celebration of the AYF DC “Ani” and “Sevan” Chapters on November 5.

Sune Hamparian in the mountains overlooking Artsvanik, in Armenia’s Syunik region

Courage, like fire, is contagious.

Passed like a torch.

Sharing warmth.

Shining light.

From land to land.

Chapter to chapter.

AYFer to AYFer.

It is this fire the AYF spirit that set ablaze the passion that burns today so brightly in my heart.

Inspiring me to serve, to sacrifice – to make change.

Two summers ago – it was this fire that lit my way back to Artsvanik my family’s ancestral home in the heart of Syunik.

A place I had been to countless times seen now with new eyes.

Once safe.

Now at risk.

Under attack.

On the very frontier of Armenian freedom.

It was there with the help of the local village school that we rebuilt their bathrooms and floors.

Materially improving their lives, then also lifting their morale.

We held all-day camps for all the kids playing games, eating meals, dancing. And so much more.

We competed all in fun.

We cooperated always in solidarity.

And, at the end of the day, we gathered together to celebrate and sing patriotic songs around a roaring campfire.

A blaze that warmed our hearts.

That fire burns bright still in the village of Artsvanik.

Across Syunik and all of Armenia, and around the world wherever AYFers roll up their sleeves and get to work.

That’s true right here as well, in Washington DC.

The AYF spirit is strong in our nation’s capital.

For long decades, our “Ani” seniors and “Sevan” juniors have given their all for our community and cause here at home and in our homeland.

All our members recall with great warmth the Zoom we held to get to know the AYF chapter in Syunik our sisters and brothers in this sacred land.

Oceans apart, we saw we had the same hopes.

Oceans apart, we learned we share the same devotion to our homeland.

We discovered, that we were just like them.

Many flames, one fire.

Many members many ungers, one spirit.

The children of Artsvanik during a school festival last summer, coordinated by Sune Hamparian and her family. The AYF DC “Ani” seniors and “Sevan” juniors are exploring ways to expand ties with the AYF chapter in Kapan.
Sune Hamparian

Sune Hamparian

Sune Hamparian is a junior member of the AYF DC "Sevan" Chapter. She’s been a member of the AYF for over six years and was recently elected to serve as chair. Sune is in the eleventh grade and spends her summers in Armenia with her family. She enjoys volunteering at the ANCA and learning about the world of politics.

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