Hasmik, 72, Aregnas, 85, Lesing, 80, Roza, 76, and 92-year-old war veteran Mekhak are people who battle loneliness on a daily basis and who could often use a helping hand with maintaining their households. So it was a big surprise for them when, one morning, their doorbells rang and they each found a large group of young men and women waiting outside their doors, gardening tools in tow, ready to go to work.

The group of 22 was from FAR’s Mardigian Children’s Support Center in Berd. Each of them had volunteered to help some of the local elderly with their gardens and to clean their houses as part of the Center’s new initiative called, “You Are Not Alone,” which aims to not only help older people with their households, but to also facilitate intergenerational interaction between youth and the elderly. Ultimately, the day proved to not only be just about housekeeping but also about sharing some special experiences.

“Grandma Aregnas even taught us how to cook pipert. It was really fun and so easy to help them!” said 17-year-old Alina with excitement.

“We’re proud and happy to support these young people who often organize social initiatives to help the elderly feel valued by society. All of our goals with this were met,” said Astghik Hakobyan, social worker and head of the Mardigian Center.

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, behavioral and low self-image problems, and to make friends and socialize.