There’s a saying: teachers change the world one child at a time. That’s the message CEO of nonprofit organization Teach For Armenia, Larisa Ryan, is essentially helping push forward here in Armenia. I met Larisa in April when we fatefully sat in the same row on the plane ride from Los Angeles to Yerevan. I was quickly impressed and inspired by her passion for wanting to change the narrative of teaching in Armenia, all at such a young age. After all, Larisa believes kids are the masters of change and that the future of Armenia is in our youth.
After graduating from St. Norbert College in Wisconsin and then getting a masters in Special Education at Arizona State University, Larisa herself participated in the Teach For America program, which recruits and trains teachers in 36 countries. When she was done with her schooling and trying to figure out her next steps, Larisa decided to bring the Teach For America concept to Armenia at the suggestion of her mother in early 2013. Thanks to her, TFA provides a global leadership opportunity right here in Armenia. To date, the organization has recruited 15 teachers from over 200 applicants and placed them in four rural villages: Armavir, Tavush, Lori, and Gegharkunik. Change is underway as we speak but there’s more to be done. Larisa hopes to grow the organization by 25% each year — and on a broader scale, she wishes to teach Armenia’s kids “how to fish, not give them fish.” To help this cause, first watch this adorable video of young kids expressing what they want to be when they grow up, then donate however much you wish.