SACRAMENTO—Senator Anthony J. Portantino announced Wednesday that his budget request of $100,000 for the Homenetmen Armenian General Athletic Union was approved by the Legislature. The funds will benefit athletic and scouting programs, while helping to expand and support the recently established Hrashq Chapter.
“Expanding Hrashq is a priority for Homenetmen, especially during the pandemic,” stated Senator Portantino. “Activities provided by scouting and other organizations are critical for the mental health and wellbeing of our young people. I am pleased to be a position to help sustain and improve the vital services Homenetmen provides to the community, particularly those with special needs.”
Homenetmen Western US Region, founded in 1968, is a volunteer based nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the Armenian American community through scouting and athletic programs. Homenetmen scouts are registered through the Boy Scouts of America Verdugo Hills Council and conduct weekly scouting activities and teach our youth to become civic leaders and exemplary citizens. The organization’s athletic programs provide an alternative for girls and boys to engage in physical fitness and learn teamwork.
Hrashq, which means “miracle” in Armenian, is the latest addition to the organization and was established in 2018 on the occasion of Homenetmen’s centennial anniversary. The Chapter is dedicated to serving youth and young adults with special needs and instilling values of inclusion, social awareness, and acceptance. Hrashq seeks to offer its core programs to those families and children with unique challenges and opportunities. In its inaugural year, Hrashq was able to unite an impressive group of participants in bi-weekly practices and competed in the 2018 Navasartian Games & Festival. The Chapter continues to grow.
“On behalf of Homenetmen Western US Region, we would like to thank Senator Portantino for his continued support of Homenetmen and Homenetmen’s Hrashq Chapter. Homenetmen is committed to having an inclusive organization. Homenetmen Hrashq enables parents who grew up in Homenetmen to share their experiences from their childhood, with their children who have special needs. Hrashq is an avenue for these parents to network, find support, share resources, and for the participants to feel welcome in a safe environment,” stated Hagop Tufenkjian, Chairperson of the Homenetmen Western US Region Executive Board.
“Advocating for public funding for Armenian projects and community service organizations is one of the ongoing priorities of the ANCA-WR,” said Nora Hovsepian, Esq., the chair of the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region. “We are grateful to Senator Portantino for his receptiveness to our request and congratulate the Homenetmen Western Region and its Hrashk program for this generous State grant.”
Senator Portantino was first introduced to Homenetmen Western US Region by attending the Navasartian Games & Festival. Shortly thereafter, he was invited to sit down with the organization’s leadership. The meeting was initiated by the Armenian National Committee of America–Western Region to provide an opportunity for the Senator to learn more about Homenetmen’s programs and needs.
Senator Portantino has an impressive record of support for California’s special needs population and this state allocation is consistent with his children centered values.