BY PATTYL APOSHIAN KASPARIAN
It was the night of alpha females. The success of the kick-off celebration surrounding the 120th anniversary of the ARF was highlighted by the energy, confidence and power of the organization’s female supporters.
As I observed the guests exchanging warm greetings over cocktails, I couldn’t help but notice the poise, confidence and determination of the women.
Here walks in Hoori Melkonian, a few steps behind her charismatic husband Varant. With her dark hair framing her face, she looked glamorous in an elegant knit suit. Hoori is a philanthropist, activist, educated and intelligent wife and mother of three. If that’s not enough to keep her head from spinning, she is a role model– not just for her family, but for the entire community.
Mina Shirvanian is a devoted and prominent Armenian American with years of knowledge and experience to share.And the list of strong, driven and dynamic women continues.
Christina Jabarian is an amazingly energetic, stylish and career-oriented socialite.
Aida Yeghiazarian is a sophisticated, business-savvy Hai Tad activist.
Rosalie Tcholakian is a young, strong-willed and self-directed perfectionist.
Eva Garibian is a modern-day Rosie the Riveter—nurturing our privileges in the professional arena.
Hilda Baghdassarian is a long-time supporter who connects with her community and spreads positive and powerful messages.
Mention any of this to them and they are quick to deflect it to two words—my husband.
The evening was a celebration of sorts. Community leaders, organizational representatives, activists and benefactors were among the guests at the home of Mihran and Rosalie Tcholakian who graciously hosted the kick-off event on Wednesday, November 3.
During the intimate sit-down dinner, Dr. Viken Hovsepian, ARF Bureau Member and Avedik Izmirlian, Chairman of the ACF briefed guests about the events surrounding the 120th anniversary celebration.
Izmirlian thanked our hosts, guests and supporters. He outlined the upcoming events and encouraged everyone to take ownership of the celebration. “This celebration belongs of every individual here tonight. This celebration belongs to our community.”
Remarks from Hovsepian highlighted the organization’s strength and value. “How can I define what the ARF does?” suggested Hovsepian. “It’s like a complicated calculation. Try to take the ARF out of the equation and see what you are left with,” continued Hovsepian. “Would we have our freedom, our independence or our right to speak?”
As if she just stepped off the cover of a high-end magazine, Jasik Jarahian took center stage. She captured the hearts of all the guests. Once in the capable hands of Jarahian, the program took a life of its own as supporters stood for brief remarks and announcements. Guests committed to table sponsorships and donations. More importantly, every single individual took ownership of the Banquet celebration and committed to a sold out event!
The evening was unique in many ways. It was genuine. It was uplifting. It was enlightening!
I felt the commitment. I felt the strength. I felt the power and unity of our community.
I saw the many faces of our supporters, volunteers and friends.
Angelo Ghailian is an educated, career-oriented father of 5-month-old twin boys and a proud volunteer and supporter.
Haigoush Keghinian Kohler. If you don’t know her by name, you certainly know her by her work and dedication to the Javakhk Foundation and the many ARS world-wide projects.
Nazareth Sadorian is a seasoned professional with strong ties to the Montebello community.
Nora Yacoubian is all smiles—full of warmth, passion and drive. She is the volunteer who will swap her strappy stilettos for sneakers without second guessing her actions for the betterment of the community.
Hacop Shirvanian took my breath away. As he stood up to say a few words, I was struck by the magnitude of his presence. Amongst us stood a leader, a pillar of strength. His generosity matched by his unparalleled patriotism and dedication to the Armenian Cause makes him a man I’m proud to say is one of us.
Now, more than ever, I am excited to be an integral part of the 120th anniversary celebrations. I am a part of an organization that doesn’t take no for an answer. I am a part of an organization that is driven by purpose. I am a part of an organization that is strategically aligned with its goals, objectives and vision.
One person does not and should not carry the weight of the Armenian Cultural Organization alone. The organization has us—hamageers, the million plus supporters around the world connected under one mission, one cause.
The Organization has me. The Organization has you. The Organization has us all!