Supporting Social Change through Youth Engagement and Empowerment : Armenia

  • 15 May, 2016

A delegation from the nation of Armenia participated in an International Leadership Visitor Program sponsored by Global Ties Arizona and the City of Scottsdale to discuss innovative ways of getting youth involved in social changes and empowering them to do something about it. The group spent a short amount of time in the Valley of the Sun, but were able to meet with many professionals in the field of youth engagement and development in the state of Arizona. Our leaders from Armenia first met with the Executive Director of the Phoenix Conservatory of Music, Ms. Regina Nixon. Ms. Nixon discussed how the Conservatory provides affordable and accessible music education to local students and families through community education classes, after-school activities, private music lessons, and college preparatory programs – and the Conservatory’s partnerships and best practices for success within the local community. The group also met with Mr. Mark Savale, he Teen Center Director for Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Foundation. Solid Rock’s primary goal is to help meet spiritual, economical, physical and social needs of teenagers in the community. Mr. Savale provided information on the programs that provide the music, arts, vocational programs and fellowship that challenge teens to discover their passion through music, dance, self-expression and creativity and show you around the facility. The Armenians met with KJZZ Facilitators at the Youth Media Center located in Phoenix. Director Kristy Roschke and Trevor Gahona, the Instructional Facilitator discussed how SPOT 127 works with at-risk teenagers as an educational outreach and dropout prevention source by providing mentoring and instruction in Multimedia production and journalism, with a focus on the KJZZ Teen Radio Project and scholarship program. In a meeting with the Executive Director of XICO arte y cultura, Ms. Donna Valdes discussed XICO’s indigenous youth art initiatives and gain insight into the local Native American and Latino populations. The group also had the opportunity to speak with youth working on the day’s art activity. They observed a printmaking demo done by youth from a local community center that XICO partners with. One of the last meetings of the Armenian groups International Visitor Leadership Program hosted by Global Ties Arizona was with the Director of the Theatre Academy in Phoenix. Mr. Arredondo told the group about their curriculum driven instruction in literature and writing. The group also had the opportunity to observe instructors demonstrate their teaching techniques and talk about strategy used in recruiting young community members. The Armenians loved that the students had a part in running the organization as a Junior Board of Directors and learn life building, management and leadership skills through doing so. After a busy few days of programming, the Armenians sat down for a relaxing evening with Global Ties Arizona members Dr. George and Susie Stavros. The group spent a few hours with the Stavros’ before heading back to their hotel. Home hospitality arrangements at homes of Global Ties Arizona members, enhance the goal of the International Visitor Leadership Program by providing a personal touch to their stay in our state. Evenings like these allow visitors to ask questions they sometimes wouldn’t in professional meetings to find a deeper understanding of the motivations of peoples in the United States to promote change in our world.

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