A Glowing 55th Anniversary Celebration for the ARS Anahid Chapter

Members of the ARS Anahid Chapter

ENCINO, Calif.—With 300 members and supporters in attendance, the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) of Western USA’s Anahid Chapter, the largest of the 27 chapters and one of the backbones of the Regional Executive, celebrated its 55th anniversary on September 14, 2013, at the Holy Martyrs Ferrahian High School’s Avedissian Hall in Encino, California.

Following the singing of the national and ARS anthems by Heghine Harboyan, who was accompanied by Armen Aharonian on the piano, mistress of ceremonies Arousyak Melkonian invited the Holy Martyrs parish priest, Rev. Fr. Razmig Khachadourian, to bless the tables. Der Razmig noted that the chapter is the pride of the community, since the early days, when it helped the establishment of the San Fernando Valley community spiritual and educational structures, Holy Martyrs Church and Ferrahian School.

During her welcoming remarks, Arousyak Melkonian, who chaired the organizing committee, noted the presence of ARS Central Executive Board member Annie Kechichian, ARS Regional Executives headed by chairperson Lena Bozoyan, Prelacy Executive Council chairperson Rima Boghossian, Holy Martyrs Board of Trustees Chairman Zeron Titizian, and representatives of the local community organizations: ARF Rosdom and Arshavir Shiragian committees, and Hamazkayin Barouyr Sevag and Homenetmen Masis Chapters. Melkonian thanked everyone for their support of the ARS Anahid Chapter’s humanitarian role in service of the persevering Armenian people, advancing Armenia and inspiring new generations.

ARS Anahid Chapter Executive Chairperson Silva Poladian provided a brief overview of the history and accomplishments of the chapter, which included other than establishing its own Saturday School in Encino, but also that of the current ARS Sepan Chapter’s Saturday School and the Chapter itself in Glendale. Poladian noted the ongoing scholarships to Ferrahian High School students, awards to public high school graduates, funding for the Holy Martyrs ARS Ashkhen Pilavjian Preschool, ARS Sosse Kindergartens in Artsakh, ARS Mother and Child Clinic and Birthing Center in Akhourian, ARS Javakhk Fund and ARS regional programs, including social and counseling services. She noted that 30 new members joined the chapter in 2010 and the 60th anniversary of Anna Nshanian’s musical career was celebrated in 2012. Poladian honored the memory of the ARS founding members and thanked the Armenian people for funding and motivating the members to pursue the accomplishment of all the programs.

ARS-WUSA Regional Executive’s message was delivered by chairperson Lena Bozoyan, who congratulated the chapter’s 55th anniversary and affirmed that the Anahid chapter has been and continues to be the backbone of the Regional Executive. Bozoyan added that the chapter’s Saturday School teachers continue to pass on the Armenian language and culture to the new generation, and hoped that these students will take on leadership positions in the community. She noted that the region is being faced by many challenges, such as the struggling economy, the daily struggle for survival of the Armenians in Syria, and the upcoming centennial of the Armenian Genocide. Bozoyan hoped that the chapter would continue to flourish with a technologically advanced generation, leading the region to new heights, serving for the betterment of Armenia and the Armenian people. She handed a commemorative plaque to the Chapter Executive chairperson Silva Poladian.

The program continued with the Hamazkayin Niari Dance Group’s performance of two dances. Seventy members and supporters participated in candle lighting. Poladian was joined with the other members of organizing committee, as well as Annie Kechichian, Lena Bozoyan and Khatoun Shakarian as she cut the cake, then the Dark Eyes Band enchanted the audience with familiar melodies making this a night to remember.

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