ARS Social Services: Meeting Our Community’s Needs

Case Worker Mimi Eskandarian conducts case management and assists clients in completing forms
Case Worker Mimi Eskandarian conducts case management and assists clients in completing forms

Case Worker Mimi Eskandarian conducts case management and assists clients in completing forms

Operating out of a regional headquarters in Glendale, Calif. and three other service locations in the Pasadena, North Hollywood, and Hollywood communities is the Armenian Relief Society of Western USA’s Social Services Division. On any given day, offices are bustling with activity as dedicated staff work tirelessly to offer comprehensive social services to clients in need. Services are wide-ranging and aim to address the ever-changing needs of our communities.

From case management to employment services, senior citizen services, completion of various forms, assistance with housing and transportation issues, English as a Second Language classes, citizenship preparation assistance, translations/interpretations, referrals to counseling, food/gift distribution during the holiday season and beyond, the services offered through ARS Social Services are intended to promote the welfare of low-moderate income individuals and families. With 36 years of experience in the field of social services, the Division has flourished to become a reputable organization throughout the communities in which it serves.

ARS Job Developer Victoria Stambulian assists a client in preparing his resume to submit for employment openings

ARS Job Developer Victoria Stambulian assists a client in preparing his resume to submit for employment openings

Stemming from the Armenian Relief Society’s humanitarian mission, vast efforts are exerted by ARS Social Services to improve the standard of living of those it serves. The organization aims to minimize the myriad of struggles and challenges facing an overwhelming number of individuals and families in society and to allow them to transcend above their current circumstances…from immigrants, refugees, and asylees struggling with acculturation as they attempt to integrate into a new society, to individuals seeking employment to provide for their families, those in search of affordable housing, older adults and disabled individuals in need of various services, and the rising population of those most vulnerable in our community – the impoverished, on the brink of homelessness, or those already living without shelter or food. It is in all these areas of service and more where ARS Social Services strives to address the pressing needs of individuals.

Receptionist Arax Karabidian performs intake for a walk-in client

Receptionist Arax Karabidian performs intake for a walk-in client

During the fiscal year ending in 2015, ARS Social Services was able to offer over 43,000 services to clients throughout Glendale, Pasadena, Hollywood, and North Hollywood, in addition to Burbank residents through its Glendale main office. Individuals throughout the Greater Los Angeles area visit these offices for a variety of needs and seek the help and support of ARS Social Services due to its linguistically competent and culturally sensitive approach. “As a participant of the ARS Refugee Employment Program, I was able to gain work experience in the United States. In a few short months, I obtained full-time employment and have become self-sufficient as a result, no longer in need of public assistance,” states client Yevgineh Khajik Gerigouri.

Services are made possible through allocation of funding through County of Los Angeles grants, Community Development Block Grants through local city governments, and foundations. As such, programs are closely monitored in an effort to ensure that goals are met and measurable outcomes are sustained. Throughout its decades of service, countless individuals have gained employment; honed their job search, resume and interview preparation skills; received assistance to comprehensively complete forms for various public benefits programs (SSI, MediCal, welfare, food stamps); immigration forms, including travel documents, green card, etc.; strengthened their command of the English language; received effective preparation assistance to become naturalized U.S. citizens; found caregivers for aging loved ones; received emergency assistance, appropriate referrals and more, as a result of their link with ARS Social Services.

While populations and needs continue to change throughout communities, ARS Social Services remains committed to being responsive to all those in need of assistance.

ARS Social Services offices:

Glendale – 517 W. Glenoaks Blvd., Glendale, CA 91202, (818) 241-7533
Pasadena – 740 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91104, (626) 797-6208
Hollywood – 1205 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90029, (323) 669-0471
Studio City – 11719 Moorpark St., Studio City, CA 91604, (818) 487-3985

 

ARS Job Developer Victoria Stambulian assists a client in preparing his resume to submit for employment openings

ARS Job Developer Victoria Stambulian assists a client in preparing his resume to submit for employment openings

During the 2015 calendar year, the Armenian Relief Society Social Services served:

  • An increasing number of individuals and families on the brink of homelessness or already homeless by providing emergency assistance, such as temporary accommodations, food, transportation, clothing, appropriate referrals, and more. These services benefiting the most vulnerable in our community are made possible through the support of community members and private donations. To further support this cause, please contact (818) 241-7533.
  • English as a Second Language classes to 80 older adults, employment services to 35 adult individuals, and general social services to over 1,000 individuals through its Community Outreach Program funded by the City of Glendale Community Development Block Grant
  • Close to 4,000 refugee and asylee participants through the Los Angeles County Refugee Employment Program with employment services; case management; local work experience, vocational training and community service referrals
  • 400 older adult refugees and asylees through the Los Angeles County Older Refugee Discretionary Grant with citizenship and ESL/Civics classes, as well as senior networking services
  • 400 clients through City of Los Angeles grant-funded programs for the Hollywood and North Hollywood communities; over 100 clients through the City of Burbank Community Development Block Grant; and over 200 clients through its Pasadena office
  • 350 older adult clients through the Los Angeles County Area Agency on Aging program and 198 older adult clients through the Los Angeles County Community Services Block Grant
  • Responses to thousands of telephone inquiries regarding various social services needs, providing information, necessary guidance, and referrals
  • Aside from its grant-funded programs and requirements, ARS Social Services offered thousands of general social services to clients, alongside its assistance to countless walk-in clients searching announcement boards for employment opportunities, housing, and care providers
  • Distribution of turkeys and/or meals to 140 individuals and families in need during the Thanksgiving holiday through the generous support of Mr. & Mrs. Shahab and Nadia Shamsi, Chamlian Armenian School, Congresswoman Judy Chu’s annual turkey donation program, and Pasadena City Mayor Terry Tornek’s Operation Gobble Gobble
  • Distribution of hundreds of canned foods to individuals and families in need thanks to the support of ARS chapters, Chamlian Armenian School, and Pilibos Armenian School
  • Collaboration with local community-based organizations, including but not limited to the Treasure Little Children’s Holiday Celebration, and special programs by public officials, such as the Pasadena Mayor’s Christmas Party for Children ; and
  • Will distribute over 500 toys to needy children of its clients for the Christmas holiday with special thanks to Senator Kevin De Leon’s office, Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell’s office, ARS chapters, Armenian schools, including Ferrahian, Chamlian, Pilibos, and Armenian Sisters Academy, as well as the coordination of donations for numerous families in need during the holiday season.
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