LA Armenians & the Public Perception

From the Glendale News-Press, reporter Liana Aghajanian spoke to a number of Armenian community activists to understand what the impact the recent arrests of Armenian Power gang members have had on Armenians.

One of the people she spoke to was Ara Arzumanian, director of the AGBU Generation Next Mentorship program, who shares his perspective:

For Ara Arzumanian, who has worked in the field of youth development for the last 10 years, Armenian youth choosing a life of crime isn’t any different from teen suicide or depression, where multiple risk factors like socioeconomic status and drug and alcohol abuse are at play.

“The core issue of all these problems is that we as an Armenian community and broader community, we as human beings, have abandoned our teenagers,” he said. “If these kids are lost, it’s because we have lost them; if they fail, it’s because we’ve failed them. We are not involved in their lives.”

Arzumanian — a director for the Armenian General Benevolent Union’s Generation Next program, which works to mentor at-risk youth — said turning the tide is also about prevention.

“We need to get massively involved in kids’ lives so we don’t have this problem,” he said.

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