April 5 municipal election. In the process, they're learning about
the political process. "I can vote this year, so I feel even more
involved," said Ripsime Kirakosyan, 18, one of the few of-age
Kirakosyan volunteered for city clerk candidate Ardashes
Kassakhian, making phone calls and helping out with other
Like Kirakosyan, her classmates are making phone calls, walking
precincts, preparing posters or helping explain the voting process to
This isn't the first time students in Doom's class have
volunteered for campaign activities. His students volunteered for
candidates in the November 2004 general elections, and many of his
former students have gone on to play bigger roles in politics,
managing campaigns and being more aware.
"I want them to get involved in politics, to make the contest more
interesting," Doom said. "They have a greater appreciation for the
Students are the future of the country, and it is important to get
them involved in the political process to let them have a say in the
country, said City Councilman Dave Weaver, who is running for
"They learn how you can work a campaign," Weaver said. "They see
people at their best and worst, people asking you to get lost, people
asking you what party you belong to, like it matters."
In return, the candidates learn how to listen to younger voices.
"The basic thing is that there are some great students out there
who are anxious to serve the community," Weaver said.
Not all the work, however, is fun and exciting.
Marine Dzhanikyan, 17, experienced some of the grunt work that
goes into campaigns while making phone calls for Paulette Mardikian,
a city clerk candidate.
"After a point, it gets annoying because people are really rude,
and they hang up on you," Marine said.
Mardikian said her volunteers were a big help.
"They are very energetic and enthusiastic about the whole entire
campaign," she said.
Reaching out to the youth was an important part of his campaign,
"There's a tremendous interest among the youth to learn the
process out there," he said.
* RIMA SHAH covers business and politics. She may be reached at
(818) 637-3238 or by e-mail at email@example.com.