After two years of working with counselors at the Mardigian Children’s Center, twelve-year-old Feliks Khachatryan has found his balance.

The Center is a part of FAR’s Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP) in the Tavush Province, and aims to help at-risk children through various games and therapies so that they can overcome obstacles like shyness, behavior and low self-image problems, and to make friends and socialize.

According to the Center’s art therapist Gohar Danielyan, Feliks was combative and would easily fight with friends and peers. Feliks recollected the day when during yet another quarrel with his friend Eric, he knocked him to the ground. “When he fell down I was scared,” Feliks recalled. A few days later, Feliks’s mother, Alina, took him to the Center.

According to his teachers, Feliks’s aggressive behavior started after Alina divorced her husband.

Coming to the Center three times a week and engaging in its play, paint, design, and listen and talk therapies, Feliks behavior gradually changed. His therapists say that he is more supportive and caring now.

“I don’t fight any more. Ms. Marieta* helped me to understand that fighting is very bad and we should not hurt each other but help each other,” he said, smiling.

Feliks plays soccer and likes to draw. He also loves music. “I want to become either a singer or a soccer player,” he said. At the Center, he has also learned to make origami gift boxes, animals and flowers, and he says that everyone tries to help him when he can’t manage to properly fold the paper.

*Marieta Manucharyan, a Center psychologist