LAGUNA HILLS, Calif.- The Armenian Relief Society of Western USA (ARS) Karni Chapter held opening ceremonies for the newly purchased office in Laguna Hills, California on March 2.
Archpriest Fr. Nareg Pehlivanian officiated the blessing of the new offices, including the traditional bread, salt and water. He blessed the ARS members and hoped that the new center will serve as a means to advance the ARS work for the betterment of the Armenian people everywhere.
ARS Karni Saturday School students were on hand to sing the anthem and say the pledge of allegiance.
Lena Bozoyan, ARS-WUSA Regional Executive chairperson, and Rina Adjoian-Der Alexanian, Karni Chapter executive chairperson, cut the ribbons.
DerAlexanian explained that it is a tradition to hold requiem services on the last week of February for deceased ARS members and benefactors. She asked those present for a moment of silence in memory of Karni members and in honor of their service and dedication. DerAlexanian added, “Today, we remember Sirvart Babigian, Azniv Mirzayan and Marie Zerounian, who are no longer with us, but forever with us in spirit”.
She shared her joy and satisfaction in achieving a tremendous milestone for the chapter, remarking that it took many years of hard work and fundraising to finally have a new center. She added that this could not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the chapter members and the support of the Regional Executive board.
Lena Bozoyan, the Regional Executive Chairperson said that this is a very happy day for the board, since it is the addition of a new home, a facility, which will help accomplish the ARS mission, particularly as it pertains to the education of the young. She encouraged the former Saturday School students to join the chapter. Bozoyan congratulated the chapter and presented a plaque on this special occasion.
ARS Regional Executives, General Manager Jasig Jarahian, ARS Karni and Sevan Chapter members, ARF Armen Karo and Hamazkayin Siamanto Chapter representatives, Saturday School teachers, parents and students, in addition to Karni members’ husbands attended the opening ceremony and toured the two classrooms and office area of the new center. Donna Varner, Chair of South Orange County Regional Chamber of Commerce, was also in attendance.
The reception turned into an impromptu fundraising to help the chapter meet its new financial obligations. The new center is located at 23232 Peralta Drive, Ste. 110, Laguna Hills, CA 92653.
The Karni Chapter was founded in 1993. The chapter is named after the Karni temple, which was built in the first Century, destroyed by an earthquake in 1679, and reconstructed by 1975. Karni is located 16 miles east of Yerevan, Armenia.
The Armenian Relief Society of Western USA, established in 1984 and with regional headquarters in Glendale, CA, has 27 chapters and more than 1,500 members in five western states. The ARS-WUSA operates a Social Services Division and Child, Youth, and Family Guidance Center, and funds numerous youth programs, scholarships, and relief efforts. For further information, please visit www.arswestusa.org or call 818.500.1343.