Mentor program given $5,000

The Vons Foundation on Wednesday presented the Armenian General Benevolent Union’s Generation Next with a $5,000 check.

The donation was sponsored by Glendale resident Edgar Azaryan, 29, a financial analyst at Vons headquarters who moved to Glendale after completing high school in Armenia and earning a degree from Cal State Northridge.

Generation Next is a mentorship program that works with Glendale’s Armenian youth between the ages of 12-19.

“Here you have this great group of mentors and they help them to choose their right path,” Azaryan said. “I have role models in my life. I believe that I’m here because of them.”

Dozens of teens witnessed the presentation of the check. The celebration attracted Joylene Wagner, president of Glendale Unified School District Board of Education, school board member Nayiri Nahabedian — a founding member of AGBU, a representative from state Sen. Carol Liu’s office and Glendale Police Chief Ron De Pompa.

The funds will help develop a film and music studio at AGBU.

“Hopefully, this will be something that will be passion for some of them and a way for them to express themselves, which is so important,” said Executive Director Yasmin Alpay.

Volunteers established the program in 1997 under the umbrella of the ABGU and partnered with Glendale Unified.

In the first year, AGBU provided mentors for eight students. Since 1998 they have served hundreds of teens out of the orange and dome-shaped headquarters where volunteer mentors meet with their clients at least twice a month.

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