With a current BR and AVC alumni base of over 2,300, which continues to grow by 325+ annually, investing in our participants’ next steps is key to achieving our long-term vision of true engagement. That’s why over the years we’ve funded 29 “Next Step” alumni grants to further support the impact and echo our alumni make across the globe and in Armenia – and strengthen their leadership skills and confidence that they can make a difference. For 2019 we’ve awarded grants to the top four projects we feel will leave the largest mark on the local communities and beneficiaries they serve. We’re happy to announce the 2019 winners are:
Canadian-born Ardem Tutunjian, 37, will be expanding the project Orphans and their Dogs, whose purpose is to rescue street dogs and give them a home at an animal sanctuary. Ardem has chosen to partner with Centaur to train and then take the dogs to visit various orphanages in Armenia to work as therapy dogs with special needs children. With this $7,600 Next Step grant, Ardem will be able to expand the project by seven additional kennels to rescue, safely and properly house, and train more dogs.
Artur Gasparyan, 24, has relocated from Russia to live in Armenia for one year since the completion of his volunteer service. He founded the KIDO Children Center in Gyumri, whose mission is to give all children the opportunity to get a quality education regardless of life circumstances. At KIDO the children are encouraged to reveal their true talents in an atmosphere of love and kindness. His $7,200 Next Step grant will cover costs associated with building and furnishing the LEGO room, Village Room, the Big Nature Room, and the Boards room at KIDO so the center is equipped to support the childrens’ educational journey.
Partnering with Children of Armenia Fund (COAF), Armineh Victoria Babikian, 28, is an occupational therapist and psychologist. She has been granted a $4,000 Next Step grant to work with COAF, which will cover the cost of printing 500 copies of an Occupational Therapy Guidebook. The Occupational Therapy Guidebook to Inclusion is intended to provide simple, clear information about common diagnoses, exercises with diagrams to strengthen physical, cognitive, sensory processing, and behavioral skills, as well as practical classroom strategies. It will include video demonstrations and aims to enhance participation in school, self-care, leisure activities, and community integration for Armenia’s children. The Guidebook will also include worksheets that can be photocopied and a resource library of Armenian disability services.
Aussie Tadeh Karapetian, 26, has been awarded a $2,225 Next Step grant to produce a “Guidebook to Rock Climbing in Armenia”. The purpose of this guidebook is to encourage the global rock climbing community to consider Armenia as an option for their next adventure, and stimulate tourism in the rural areas in Armenia.
Garni Baroni, 27, packed up his Los Angeles bags and became a repat alum living in Armenia since 2018. His Next Step grant proposal was a strong one, but too large in scope and budget for us to fund under the program’s parameters. But we saw the strength and possibilities in what he was proposing so we sent it to the Hovnanian Foundation for consideration. That resulted in Garni being the proud recipient of a Hovnanian Foundation grant award in the amount of $38,375 to produce the summer 2020 Hoor Folklife Festival in Gyumri -- Armenia’s first international folk music festival. This event will promote Armenia as a bridge between east and west, as well as pay tribute to Gyumri’s culture, artists and intellectuals, all the while bringing the world to this beautiful city.
For more information, or if you have any questions or comments, connect with the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.