PARAMUS, New Jersey—Earlier this year, the Armenian Missionary Association of America’s “Shogh” Children’s Day Center in Vanadzor, Armenia moved to its new location. After purchasing the building last year, the AMAA renovated and furnished the property as the new “Shogh” Center.
Children who have attended the Center since its opening in 2013 participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony, which was held on February 4. The staff welcomed the children to the new Center with applause, smiles, and the announcing of “Welcome to the Shogh Center.”
Following the opening ceremony, the staff and families were given a tour of the Center, where they saw the new furnishings in the classrooms.
In the new Center, the bee serves as a symbol of diligence, production and punctuality. The staff welcomed the children with images of the bee family. The young attendees were happy to learn that they were also members of that same bee family. The many types of flowers in their imaginary fairytale garden had conventional names such as “A Flower of Kindness,” “Responsibility,” and “Care.” They chose the flower nectar from which they will receive and bring their drop of honey into the Center, filling it with a symbolic honeycomb. Each student made their own contribution by saying, “A drop of righteousness, kindness, faithfulness …” and they posted their bees on the wall as a promise to obey the Center’s rules, each repeating, “I am the Shogh.”
A reception held following the opening ceremony was also a reminder of a hive – the organized work of bees, its efficiency, and usefulness.
“Each AMAA Shogh center is a bee hive where children are cared for, nurtured, educated and prepared to be productive citizens in society, collectively contributing to structure a honeycomb state,” said AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian.
AMAA’s “Shogh” Day Centers – located in Gyumri, Vanadzor, and Yerevan in Armenia and Askeran and Shushi in Artsakh – aim to support children 6 to 12-years-old who are living in socially underserved families. The main objective of the Centers is to help children overcome educational difficulties, grow personally, and become part of an educated and healthy society. Highly qualified and experienced professionals such as tutors, social workers, and psychologists provide social, educational, psychological, and recreational activities to nearly 290 school-age children. The “Shogh” Centers also provide a safe environment for children while their parents are at work, ensuring the safety and security of each child.
Established in 1918 in Worcester, MA, the AMAA serves the religious, educational, and social needs of Armenian communities in 24 countries around the world, including Armenia and Artsakh. For additional information, please visit the website.