LOS ANGELES—Supporters of the ARS Javakhk Fund gathered in Los Angeles, California at Kavar Restaurant on Thursday, September 1, 2016 to benefit the expansion of the Akhalkalak Youth Center in Javakhk. The ARS Javakhk Fund Committee organizes fundraisers annually to support its ongoing efforts in the highly Armenian population region.
The evening’s program began with an invocation by Archpriest Father Vicken Vassilian representing St. Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church in Hollywood.
Committee member Christine Hovnanian delivered opening remarks, welcoming ARS Central, Regional, chapter executives and members, as well as the ARF Central Committee, Gomideh members and supporters. Hovnanian stressed the importance of both moral and financial support to Javakhk Armenians.
Following a video presentation displaying the challenges of Armenians in Javakhk and detailing the vast accomplishments of the ARS Javakhk Fund Committee, Chairperson Lena Bozoyan delivered the Committee’s remarks mentioning the two important goals that the committee wanted to accomplish by organizing the event. First, to thank and appreciate all the members, donors and supporters of the ARS Javakhk Fund, who trust the committee and help accomplish their projects. Second, to organize an intimate dinner fundraiser to raise funds and support ARS Central Committee’s pledge to purchase and expand the ARS Javakhk Fund’s Akhalkalak Youth Center.
Bozoyan acknowledged the presence of all the supporters, especially the previous chairpersons Haigoush Kohler and Mako Mgrdichian, as well as the presence of Shant Student Association members. She presented the ARS Javakhk Fund Committee’s major accomplishments throughout the past 16 years, the importance of the youth centers and their meaning to the region. She also discussed the struggles of Armenians in Javakhk, citing discrimination, inadequate access to healthcare in rural villages, limited instruction in Armenian language and history. She further explained how the ARS Javakhk Fund strives to alleviate these difficult circumstances by sponsoring year-round educational, cultural, and social programs at the youth centers. Bozoyan reminded guests of the significance of the day, September 1st, stating “Today marks the 25th Anniversary of Artsakh and a day to celebrate our victories. It is a day where we remind ourselves of our national priorities and if we are gathered here tonight to support and fundraise for Javakhk and celebrate Artsakh, we, each one of us, are taking part in nation building.”
The ARS Javakhk Fund Committee Chairperson also used the occasion to thank all ARS, ARF members, sponsors, donors, supporters, Prelacy school principals, directors, and teachers, who have lent their unwavering support to advancing the welfare of Javakhk Armenians.
The evening’s keynote speaker, John Kossakian, thanked the committee for including him in their events and stressed the importance of supporting the efforts of the ARS Javakhk Fund. Drawing on the impact that ARS programs have had on Javakhk, he attested, “It is evident that, through our support, Armenians in Javakhk have become empowered and the expansion of the Akhalkalak Youth Center is an integral part of the strategic importance of the region.” He also explained the importance of Javakhk for Armenia and all Armenians living in the Caucasus region.
The ARS Regional Executive Board’s remarks were delivered by Chairperson Rebecca Berberian, who stressed that the Armenian Relief Society is always prepared to assist Armenians in need wherever they may be found. She thanked the Javakhk Committee for always doing its utmost to organize and accomplish whatever the needs are in the region.
The committee announced, intermittently, the names of the donors, especially the owner of Kradjian Imports, Raffi Kradjian, who sponsored the entire amount of the additional expanded land in Akhalkalak. The event’s raffle prize was a ticket to Armenia donated by Qatar Airways.
The event came to a close with well-known singers Koko Hayitian and Krisdapor Arabian, who entertained guests with Armenian folk and patriotic songs.