GLENDALE—The Armenian Relief Society of Western USA held its ARS Day Celebration on Sunday, October 14, 2018 starting at 5 p.m. at the Wilson Middle School auditorium in Glendale, California. Official guests in attendance included Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian; Kana Hovhannisyan, Second Secretary of the Consul General of Armenia to Los Angeles; ARF Bureau Member and Keynote Speaker Dr. Viken Yacoubian; ARF Central Committee members Garo Ispendjian and Razmig Haroun; Hamazkayin Regional Executive Chairperson Seta Simonian; Homenetmen Regional Executive member Aram Yermian; several guests, supporters, and ARS members.
The event’s opening ceremony commenced with a flag ceremony by Homenetmen scouts, followed by the singing of the American national anthem by Souren Hazarian. Thereafter, a group of ARS school students collectively sang the Armenian and ARS anthems, accompanied by Lusine Meliksetian on the piano.
ARS member Sona Madarian and Ara Yacoubian, a high school senior at Rose & Alex Pilibos Armenian School, served together as the event’s Masters of Ceremonies, guiding the event’s program and presenting the mission and goals of the organization with the public.
Remarks were delivered by newly appointed Second Secretary Kana Hovhannisyan, who highly commended the work of the Armenian Relief Society and extended deep appreciation to the wide array of work carried out by the organization and its members. She extended wishes for continued success and greater achievements.
Cultural performances then ensued, including a violin performance by Nanor and Dzovag Seraydarian of Gomidas’ “Yerginkn Ambel A” and “Grung,” accompanied by their father Hovig on the piano. Next, the Hamazkayin Ani Dance Company, under the leadership of Yeghia Hasholian and Suzy Barseghian-Tarpinian, performed two beautiful girls’ Armenian dances, which captivated guests.
A video presentation highlighting the 35 years of service of the ARS of Western USA was viewed by the audience. Thereafter, the ARS Regional Executive Board’s message was delivered by Maral Touloumian, who highlighted how the day’s celebration served as a symbol to the spirit and dedication of the Armenian woman. Placing focus on the organization’s philanthropic work and activities, Touloumian gave mention to the fact that the ARS is comprised of true heroes and humble leaders serving under the same cause. She gave respect and remembrance to the members serving faithfully, diligently, and unselfishly, all the while glorifying goodness.
Touloumian reflected on the region’s 35 years of service, its chapters that further the organization’s mission, the work of ARS schools, and programs in the Diaspora, Armenia and Artsakh, while affirming that the ARS was founded for its people. She stressed that ARS members have dedicated themselves to offering aid and assistance, as well as alleviating the hardships and challenges faced by its people. In conclusion, Touloumian encouraged community members to work in benefit of the Armenian people with full and united dedication.
Following the Board’s message, singer Tro Krikorian and Ara Dabandjian of Element Band performed two Armenian patriotic songs for guests, inspiring attendees with their music.
The event’s keynote speaker was ARF Bureau member Dr. Viken Yacoubian, who stressed the importance of the Armenian Relief Society as an influential, valuable, lively, and powerful organization committed to humanitarian and philanthropic service, cultural preservation, educational and social welfare assistance, education, and collaboration with organizations with similar aims. He affirmed that the organization and its members would continuously serve the Armenian nation and bring valuable meaning to people’s lives.
Following the keynote speech, ARS school students sang “Sardarabad,” after which the “Artsakh” dance was performed by the Hamazkayin Ani Dance Company. Amidst the moving atmosphere, Mrs. Maral Varjabedian recited poetry pieces of Alicia Ghiragossian. The audience followed with silence and admiration. Thereafter, guests enjoyed another performance by the Hamazkayin Ani Dance Company, this time of the “Hoy Nazan” dance.
Prior to the conclusion of the program, Archbishop Mardirossian was invited to the podium and recognized ARS chapters, which have been celebrating milestone anniversaries. The Prelate gave special mention to the ARS Hollywood Mayr Chapter’s 100th Anniversary and presented a certificate of commendation to Regional Executive Chairperson Silva Poladian, who then presented it to the ARS Hollywood Mayr Chapter Chairperson Mayda Chahinian.
The ARS Day Celebration served as a prime occasion to present to the public the ARS of Western USA’s service to communities both locally and internationally over the past 35 years. With stage management conducted by Arick Gevorkian, audience members expressed their enjoyment of the event with great applause.
The Armenian Relief Society of Western USA, established in 1984 and with regional headquarters in Glendale, CA, has 26 chapters and more than 1,200 members in four western states. The ARS operates a Social Services Division and Child, Youth, and Family Guidance Center, one-day schools, and funds numerous youth programs, scholarships, and relief efforts. For additional information, visit www.arswestusa.org or call (818) 500-1343.