2017: Our Year of Benevolence
There is something very human about being benevolent. Everything from a simple act of kindness to large-scale philanthropic endeavors can inspire something common in all of us: the very human need to connect.
This was a topic of discussion at our latest AGBU Youth meeting earlier this year. Sitting at the same table we sit around each month for our regular meetings, we found ourselves sharing stories about how happy it makes us that AGBU provides the space and structure for people to meet and to socialise.
The key, we concluded, was having a kind and open approach that is welcoming to anyone who wants to learn about Armenian culture, hang out with Armenian people, or help support the Armenian community. After this discussion, as a committee, we decided that whenever AGBU Youth feels lost or without direction this year, we are going to let the ‘B’ in AGBU guide us through.
Service to the community
A history of war and destabilizing hardship is a staple of Armenian identity. This hardship, which is still deeply felt by many, has inspired the need to support one another in times of challenge or strife. This may explain why charitable hearts and philanthropic minds abound in the global Armenian diaspora.
Acts of charity and kindness are also ingrained in the AGBU history and culture. Benevolence plays an important part in AGBU’s foundation and development over time, from the orphanages of its early history to the vast network of schools that it now operates across the world and the multiple humanitarian campaigns designed to assist victims of violent conflicts. The global AGBU community has supported many individuals and groups in their pursuit to freely practice education, dance, sport and religion over its 110 year history.
There appears no end in sight to AGBU’s consistent goal to connect small communities to wider, global, supportive networks. The accumulation of this long history of helping (Armenian) people flourishes both inside and outside of the diaspora. Helping people to feel a sense of belonging has set in motion a domino effect that encourages each new generation to continue this legacy of benevolence.
Our goals of benevolence
When reaching for benevolent goals, the best place to start is at home. For us, that means ensuring that our day to day activities continue to provide a platform to give young Armenians and young people in general a place to come together, belong, develop and enjoy themselves. This also means providing an opportunity for our members to contribute to the direction of AGBU Youth and encouraging them to reciprocate through service to the community.
We will also strive to support the broader Sydney-Armenian community. We will continue to work with other community organisations and expand our social links with them.
It is however also important to think beyond ourselves if we are going to be true to the spirit of benevolence that is such an important part of our history. There are always people outside our own communities who rely on the kindness of others. In this spirit we will also spend the year supporting local organisations who make a difference in the lives of the marginalised and disadvantaged youth of Sydney.
We are excited to start our year of benevolence, and we invite you to come along for the ride!
Please feel free to contact us at [email protected] for any questions or suggestions, or to lend a hand 🙂
AGBU Youth Committee