The Armenian Relief Society of Western USA, Regional Executive traveled to Northern California on February 23 for a three-day trip to visit and meet with the three chapters in the community, including the ARS San Jose “Agnouni,” Oakland “Erepouni,” and San Francisco “Garin” Chapters.
Upon their arrival, the Board’s first visit was with the ARS Oakland “Erepouni” Chapter’s Friday School, during which they had the opportunity to meet with the school’s principal Chaghig Minassian Walker and the teaching staff. Thereafter, board members visited the school’s five classes and followed their instruction in the Armenian language. Students gathered and performed a cultural program for their guests, including singing of the Armenian and ARS school anthems, as well as other group songs. Students were praised for their performances and words of encouragement were delivered by ARS Regional Executive Board Members Nora Shirikian and Maral Touloumian, both of whom also expressed sincere thanks to parents for entrusting the education of their children to the ARS one-day school and to the school’s teachers for their commitment and dedication.
On Saturday, February 24th from 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., the Board held a meeting with the three ARS chapters at Khachatourian Hall in San Francisco. Chairperson Silva Poladian provided information and updates on regional programs, including the ARS Gala, educational seminar, ARS Social Services, the ARS Child, Youth, and Family Guidance Center, and more. She proudly highlighted the fact that during the 2018 year, the region will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ARS Hollywood “Mayr” Chapter, the 50th anniversary of the ARS Montebello “Nairy” Chapter, and the 60th anniversary of the ARS San Fernando Valley “Anahid” Chapter. Thereafter, Chairperson Poladian also provided information on programs of the ARS Central Executive, including the ARS “Soseh” Kindergartens; the ARS Mother & Child Clinic and Birthing Center in Akhourian, Armenia; and expressed appreciation to the region’s chapters for participating in the ARS Central Executive Board’s “Sponsor a Bed and Change a Life” Project by sponsoring 16 hospital beds at the Military Disability Rehabilitation Center of Yerevan’s No. 1 Hospital where wounded and disabled soldiers recuperate.
Thereafter, Vice-Chairperson Ani Bostanian provided information on the “Breaking the Silence” educational seminar, which was held in Southern California in January 2018, focusing on the topics of domestic violence, sexual harassment, and more.
Following remarks by the ARS Regional Executive Board, the chairpersons of the three Northern California chapters, including Vera Kambourian (Agnouni), Judy Jingirian (Garin), and Hasmig Kozanian (Erepouni) reported on their respective chapters’ current and upcoming programs and activities.
Prior to the end of the meeting, Chairperson Poladian congratulated the chapters on their collaborative efforts in making an impactful difference in Northern California communities, including offering aid and assistance to families most recently affected by the wildfires in the area. Later the same day, the Board held its plenary meeting.
On Sunday, February 24, 2018, the full Board and ARS members attended church services led by Very Rev. Fr. Barouyr Shernezian at St. Gregory The Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church in San Francisco, where requiem services were also held in the memory of departed ARS members and benefactors. Every year, on the last Sunday in February, ARS chapters throughout the western region hold these services at Western Prelacy churches to pay their respects.
The ARS Regional Executive Board’s visit to the Northern California area greatly encouraged the chapters operating in the region, who will continue to determinedly pursue the mission and goals of the Armenian Relief Society.