ARS Western Region Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Exciting plans are underway to celebrate the Armenian Relief Society Western Region’s (ARS-WR) 20th Anniversary–with an exquisite program and banquet set for Saturday–March 13–7:00 pm at the elegant Hilton Glendale Hotel. The evening’s key note speaker is Dr. Chake Der-Melkonian Minassian. The celebration is sponsored by Dr. Alber Karamanoukian–president of St. Mary’s Adult Day Health Care center in Glendale

The Armenian Relief Society is a philanthropic organization founded in New York City in 1910. The primary mission of the organization is to provide emergency help and social services to the communities throughout the world. The first and largest Armenian International Women’s organization–it is governed by volunteers.

In 1915–the first chapter of the Western United States was founded in Fresno (Mayr Chapter)–followed by the "Mayr" Hollywood chapter of Los Angeles in 1918. Thereafter–as the region grew–so did the number of chapters.

In response to the growing needs of the communities in the Western United States–the ARS-WR was established in 1984. Today–the region includes 26 chapters–13 Saturday Schools–3 Day Care Centers–3 after school programs in Public Schools–5 Social Service Offices–and a Child–Youth–and Family Guidance Center.

Throughout the years–the ARS has reached out to newly arrived immigran’s–providing citizenship classes–English language classes–job placement–and other social services.

Proceeds from federal–state–county–and city government gran’s–as well as from foundations and corporations–help support these endeavors–enabling the ARS to offer assistance to over 50,000 people annually through its social service offices.

Ari Guiragos Minassian Elementary School–Armenian Mesrobian Elementary & High School–Holy Martyrs Armenian Elementary & Ferrahian High School–Krouzian-Zakarian-Vasbouragan Elementary School–Rose & Alex Pilibos Armenian Elementary & High School–and Vahan & Anoush Chamlian Armenian School are strongly supported by the WR and local chapters. Public school students also benefit annually from numerous ARS-WR college scholarships.

Through the concerted efforts of its chapters–ARS-WR donates thousands of dollars to Armenia–Karabagh–and in recent years–Javakhk in Georgia.

After the 1988 Armenia earthquake and with Mountainous Karabagh Republic’s independence–the ARS-WR developed several programs to provide comfort to those most in need. Its "Sponsor a Child Program" specifically targets orphans and indigent children in Armenia & Karabagh–while programs in several orphanages provide daily hot food.

The ARS has completely rebuilt the villages of Noyemperian–Sariyar–and Grashen; founded two psychological centers in Gyumri and Spitak–both devastated by the 1988 earthquake; reconstructed the Vanatzor Pedagogical Institute–and established three Optic Centers–in Talin–Yerevan–and Vanatzor to provide work for earthquake victims–as well as free glasses to those in need.

The ARS provides assistance to Armenia’s and non-Armenian programs through collaboration with international organizations such as the United States Agency for International Development–the World Health Organization–the World Council of Churches–United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)–Medicines Sans Frontieres–Medecins du Monde–Pharmacies Sans Frontiers–Christian Solidarity International–and various Red Cross organizations. The ARS has a long history of participating in international cooperative disaster relief efforts.

Its international stature is further confirmed through membership in the Department of Public Information of the United Nations Non-Governmental Organizations.

Its dedicated base of grass roots supporters and unwavering support of present and past donors has enabled ARS-WR to fulfill and meet the challenges of the 20 years; its long commitment to growth and leadership is–in fact–based on this partnership. Without the dedication and countless volunteers’ hours of its chapters and members–none of this tremendous work is possible.

To celebrate these vast accomplishmen’s–the ARS-WR Executive Board invited former Regional Executive members and all chapter Presidents to serve on the 20th Anniversary Celebration Committee–which also includes the ARS-WR Board Members.

Because of its committed sponsors and loyal members–the ARS will surely face challenges of the 21st century with renewed enthusiasm and dedication to its communities.

Tickets for the celebration are $100 and can be purchased through local members or by calling the Executive Offices at (818)500-1343. The Glendale Hilton is located at 100 W. Glenoaks Boulevard.

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