With approximately 1,200 members and 24 chapters, the Armenian Relief Society of Western USA plays an instrumental role in the Armenian Relief Society, which marks its 110th Anniversary in 2020. Since its establishment in 1984, the region contributes substantially to advancing the pan-Armenian programs of the organization.
Chapters were founded in the Western United States starting in 1915 and have continued to contribute to the Armenian reality in all aspects throughout community and national life.
The Armenian Relief Society of Northern America’s 64th International Convention was held in Los Angeles in 1984, during which the foundation was laid for the establishment of the ARS of Western USA region, which encompasses chapters west of the Mississippi River. Priorities for the region included securing funding, addressing social services, and initiatives that would address organizational and community needs.
The ARS of Western USA’s wide-ranging programs have included the following since the region’s establishment:
- 17 one-day schools and 3 preschools
- Armenian language instruction in public schools
- Scholarships to students
- Moral and financial support to Armenian schools
- Counseling services through the ARS Child, Youth and Family Guidance Center
- Educational activities
- Fundraising initiatives
- Social Services offices operating since 1979
- Assistance to individuals and families in need
Armenia, Artsakh, Javakhk:
- Assistance to earthquake victims
- Sponsorship of orphans
- Construction of housing units in impoverished areas
- Aid to Artsakh
- Establishment of health and psychological centers
- Support of orphanages and kindergartens
- Ophthalmological centers in Talin, Yerevan, and Vanadzor
- Moral and financial support to Javakhk Armenians
- Renovation of Maralik Health Center
- Renovation of a department in Vanadzor University
- Construction of dental clinics in Gyumri, Vanadzor, and Spitak
- Construction of apartments, a school, and kindergarten in Noyemberyan, Krashen, and Sariar
- Professional training of physicians from Armenia in the United States
As such, from the 1988 earthquake in Armenia through the independence of the Republic of Armenia and liberation struggle in Artsakh, the ARS of Western USA has diligently served to meet the needs of the Armenian people. The ongoing work of the ARS Regional Executive, its committees, and chapters serves as a testament of the organization’s commitment to its humanitarian service both locally and on an international level.
Regional committees remain at the forefront of furthering the work and activities of the ARS of Western USA and include the following:
- Board of Regents of ARS Schools
- Educational Committee
- Fundraising Committee
- Armenia-Artsakh Committee
- ARS Javakhk Fund Committee
- Public Relations Committee
Through grant funding, ARS Social Services operates through four offices in Glendale, Hollywood, Pasadena, and North Hollywood to serve the needs of local community members through the delivery of comprehensive social services including but not limited to the following:
- Case Management
- Employment Services
- Senior Services
- English as a Second Language/Life Skills Classes
- Assistance with Housing and Transportation Issues
- Homelessness Prevention
- Distribution of food and clothing
Based out of the ARS Regional Headquarters, the ARS Child, Youth and Family Guidance Center provides individual and group therapy; comprehensive treatment, support and resources; assistance with parental skills, and more.
With its lengthy tenure of service, the Armenian Relief Society remains committed to serving humanity and developing programs aimed at meeting our people’s needs, all the while preserving the Armenian language, culture, and traditions.