GLENDALE—The Armenian Cultural Foundation’s “We Are Gyumri” Campaign hosted a wine tasting event on February 1 at Phoenicia Restaurant to provide updates to the community about the work of the campaign.
More than 130 supporters were in attendance. The event, combined with donations in memory of longtime volunteer and benefactor Mina Shirvanian, raised more than $50,000 for the campaign’s scholarship fund and future projects. The scholarship, which provides financial assistance to citizens of Gyumri who are pursuing higher education in Armenia, will now be named the “Mina Shirvanian We Are Gyumri Scholarship Fund,” in honor of Mrs. Shirvanian’s leadership and passion for supporting Armenian youth.
The evening began with a musical program by the band Paris Chansons, followed by opening remarks by committee member Nazeli Khodabakhsh, who described the impact of the We Are Gyumri Campaign on the lives of children and young adults in Armenia, and thanked the attendees for their ongoing support. The audience received a report on the activities of the innovative Shirvanian Gyumri Youth Center, which hosts art and music lessons, English classes, technology workshops, and encourages volunteerism in the community. The “We Are Gyumri” Campaign committee also provided an update on its scholarship program, which for the past two years has sponsored nine students studying in Armenia. Singer Mariette Soudjian presented another musical interlude.
A video made by Vanuhi Avagian, a volunteer at the Shirvanian Gyumri Youth Center was also presented to guests – https://www.facebook.com/WeAreGyumri/videos/1539116199520436/. Vanuhi is pursing a master’s degree in applied mathematics and information and communications technology. “We are very proud of the expanding programs at the Shirvanian Gyumri Youth Center, and are excited to see our volunteers and students continue to take leadership roles in the Center, in Gyumri, and in Armenia,” said, Hrache Novruzyan, a member of the We Are Gyumri Campaign committee. “None of this would be possible without support from the generous individuals who see the importance of investing in youth in Gyumri, to help provide them with the resources they need to thrive,” Novruzyan continued.
The Committee closed the program by providing an award to local volunteer and activist Joseph Krikorian, founder and president of Code 3 Angels. In 2017, Krikorian and his staff travelled to Armenia to provide CPR and First Aid training in multiple cities. More than 100 people were trained on critical emergency medicine at the Shirvanian Gyumri Youth Center.
The mission of the “We Are Gyumri” Campaign is to create a positive and lasting impact on youth in Gyumri, Armenia. The campaign restructured and renovated the Shirvanian Youth Center in Gyumri, Armenia, that had been destroyed in the 1988 Spitak earthquake. Further, a year-round functional program was created at the center to teach youth in Gyumri everyday skills, to provide them with the essentials they need for a brighter future, and to serve as a bridge between youth in Gyumri and their peers in the Diaspora. As another component of the campaign, the “We Are Gyumri” Scholarship Fund is intended for residents of the Shirak Region to pursue their undergraduate education in their native region.