Never could I imagine that being a volunteer during the preparation for a fundraising event might be so fun and memorable.
It was nearly a year ago when our Ayo! team organized an event at Kharberd’s Specialized Orphanage where I participated as a volunteer. The preparations started the day before, and since lots of food and other decorations had to be prepared beforehand, we gathered in the orphanage to help the staff and workers. As soon as I stepped into the building, a tiny, lively figure suddenly ran from the other side of the corridor and jumped on me. While I was trying to figure out what was happening, the lovely little creature with two ponytails started kissing and hugging me without stopping. This young person was a little girl with Down Syndrome– full of love and joy in her heart that she wanted to share with someone. As it turned out later, her name was Iren, the same as mine, and this coincidence made us create strong bonds with each other. Soon, the other children joined us with shining eyes and sincere smiles on their faces. The positive emotions they carried with them completely overwhelmed me, and in a moment I lost myself in the sincere and loud laughter of the kids. These joyful scenes stirred all my emotions, making my heart tremble even faster. This is the moment that I captured in my mind for it made me realize a very important thing: the concept of feeling happy underlies the process of sharing and receiving positive energy with people surrounding you. The amount of positive emotions that these children passed to me that day was limitless.
After playing activity games with the children and enjoying many laughs together, we turned to help the workers with event preparations. It was a great opportunity to get acquainted with wonderful people and have interesting conversations while working and preparing the food table for the following day’s event. The overall atmosphere was so engaging that we even didn’t notice how time flew. While we were finishing with the preparations and getting ready to leave, suddenly Sasun came in with newly-baked, warm bread and some Armenian cheese and suggested that we share a small evening meal in a friendly company. I should admit that it was the tastiest and the most wonderful bread with cheese in the world that I have tried in my life.
Overall, it was a great experience for me to volunteer in Kharberd. Many happy moments and cheerful sounds from that day stayed captured in my mind. Till today I remember the blissful face of Iren and the other kids running towards us to play and have a fun time with them. The late evening dinner with the orphanage’s staff members was also unforgettable since the warm and friendly atmosphere was all that was necessary after a hard day of preparatory works. All these moments made me realize that sometimes the most amazing and joyful parts of the upcoming event are actually happening “behind the scenes” when everybody is on the run and the crazy working atmosphere ends up creating a warm company of friends and unforgettable lifetime memories.
By Iren Khachikyan