GLENDALE—The Armenian National Committee of Glendale brought Christmas in the Spring by donating toys to more than 400 children at the Glendale YWCA – Domestic Violence Center, as well as the Oglala Lakota College Head Start Program and the Indian Health Center’s Children’s Ward at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
“Four years ago ANC Glendale started a great tradition of kicking off the New Year with a Christmas Celebration that requested guests to bring donation items, after which community members were encouraged to participate in our various drives. In years past, our chapter collected hundreds of books that were donated to GUSD, food items that helped Salvation Army of Glendale restock after the holiday season and toys for low income children,” stated Elen Asatryan, Executive Director of ANC Glendale. “Given the devastating realities in which the children of Pine Ridge Reservation live in, we chose to split our donation this year between our very own Glendale YWCA and the reservation; hoping to spread smiles beyond Glendale,” added Asatryan.
The toys for the Pine Ridge Reservation were accepted by Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice, Randall R. Murphy who serves as the Director of Ironwood Hilltop Sundance Committee.
Upon receipt of the donation from the ANC Glendale Murphy stated, “These toys and stuffed animals are vitally important to the Native American children on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Without the generosity of the ANC, the Head Start children would have no new toys to play with. Neither would the children in the children’s ward have the stuffed animals and other soft toys. It is heartwarming to receive support from a community, many of whose members are recent immigrants to this country, who recognize that physical and cultural genocide, such as that visited upon the Native Americans and the Armenians themselves, has long lasting effects on a people.”
The Pine Ridge Reservation occupies the second poorest county in the United States where unemployment rate is at 85 percent, teenage suicide rate is 150 percent higher than the U.S. national average, and the infant mortality rate is the highest on the continent at about 300 percent higher than the U.S. national average. Head Start and Early Head Start are comprehensive child development programs which provide a full range of services to meet the needs of Lakota children from 0-5 and their families addressing cognitive, emotional, physical, nutritional, mental health, and culture development of children and the development needs of families.
“On behalf of the Glendale YWCA Board of Directors and the women and children in our care, thank you to the ANC Glendale Chapter for the generous donation. It is due to collaboration with generous organizations like yours that we can continue to operate our core programs, EncorePlus – a free breast and cervical cancer screening opportunity for low income women, and our Domestic Violence Service Center -empowering women who are victims of domestic violence to move forward and start their lives anew. Your support is crucial to our ability to provide life saving support to these women and children in need,” stated Annette Kosker, Volunteer Coordinator at the Glendale YWCA.
Since 1926, the YWCA of Glendale has worked on empowering women and children in our community to achieve independence, self-sufficiency and a life free from violence. More specifically, the YWCA of Glendale Domestic Violence Center provides outreach, counseling, education and training services, legal and administrative assistance as well as a confidential, emergency shelter at Sunrise Village.
The Armenian National Committee – Glendale Chapter advocates for the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of the city’s Armenian American community and promotes increased civic participation at the grassroots and public policy levels.