ARS of Western U.S. Marks International Volunteer Day

Scenes from the Armenian Relief Society of Western USA's round table discussion marking International Volunteer Day on Dec. 12

GLENDALE—The Armenian Relief Society of Western USA’s Regional Educational Committee organized a round table discussion to mark International Volunteer Day at the ARS Regional Headquarters, with the participation of several Armenian organizations. The event was held on Thursday, December 12.

Committee member Asdghig Chitilian welcomed ARS Central Executive Chairperson Dr. Nyree Derderian and more than 60 guests, relaying the importance of marking this International holiday in the community. She then invited John Kossakian, Principal of Holy Martyrs Marie Cabayan Elementary School and the first Executive Secretary of the ARS of Western USA, who served as the moderator of the event.

Kossakian first thanked the organizers for creating an opportunity for the community to learn more about the work that each organization conducts through its volunteer army, and mentioned how, under the leadership of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, these organizations have been mobilizing the local communities – with their affiliates doing the same globally.

The first speaker of the night was Ayk Dikidjian, Esq. of the Armenian National Committee – Western Region, who congratulated the audience on the day’s historic achievement – the unanimous consent of the United States Senate to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide, which was due, in part, to the tenacious efforts of the ANCA offices. He spoke on various activities that the ANCA-WR is involved in, including the mobilization of local communities and ongoing projects, such as the Grassroots Conference and the 2020 Census.

The second speaker at the round table was Aram Manoukian, Chairperson of the Armenian Youth Federation of Western U.S., who spoke on youth initiatives in both the community and the homeland, and focused on programs such as “AYF Youth Corps,” “With Our Soldiers,” and “Divest Turkey.”

Chairperson of the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society of the Western Region, Knar Kortoshian, was the third speaker of the day. Kortoshian gave an overview of the work of the organization through its theatre, dance, music, art, and ongoing initiatives that serve to preserve the Armenian culture, identity, and language.

Then, Nora Tchaparian from the Homenetmen Regional Executive focused on how the organization educates Armenian youth through its scouting and sports divisions. She then discussed the newly established “Hrashq” –miracle, in Armenian – chapter that gives youth with disabilities an opportunity to compete, and reaffirms that the organization is home to all youth.

The last speaker of the round table was Maral Touloumian, the Board Secretary of the Armenian Relief Society of Western USA, who gave an overview of the humanitarian vocation of the ARS and the work of its volunteers, who continuously extend their healing hands to those in their community and in the homeland. She presented the work of the organization on both local and global levels, and spoke of their ongoing projects in Armenia, Artsakh, and Javakhk.

The representatives of the organizations paid special tribute to their volunteers, whose efforts allow the organizations to reach their goals, and their tireless dedication allows them to continue improving and impacting so many lives within the community and in the homeland.

Without a doubt, the speakers shared their ideas on how, over the years, conditions have changed for NGOs and the need for volunteers has drastically impacted the way organizations function. Therefore, necessary marketing and outreach is necessary to keep pace with the changing times.

At the end of the event, Kossakian offered concluding remarks and gave the audience an opportunity to engage in a question and answer session. The discussion also paid particular attention to the involvement of the youth in all organizations.

The event concluded with the presentation of certificates by Vice-Chairperson of the ARS of Western USA, Regional Executive Board, Arsho Avakian, who thanked the speakers and guests.

On this occasion, the ARS of Western USA would like to give its heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all our volunteers and members who serve their community and homeland unconditionally and tirelessly. Interested community members can learn more about the organizations: ANCA, AYF, Hamazkayin, Homenetmen, and the ARS.

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