LOS ANGELES—The Armenian Relief Society of Western USA’s Gala 2017 gathered nearly 400 members and supporters on Friday, February 3 at Taglyan Cultural Complex. The elegant evening featured an entertaining program combined with live entertainment by the Allen G. Orchestra.
In attendance at this major event were Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian; ARS Central Executive Vice-Chairperson Nyree Derderian, Secretary Rita Hintlian and Advisor Maral Matossian; ARF Central Committee Representative Garo Ispendjian; Armenian National Committee – Western Region Chairperson Nora Hovsepian and Executive Director Elen Asatryan; Hamazkayin Regional Executive Chairperson Manoug Choukhadjian; Homenetmen Regional Executive member Aram Yermian; California State Senator Anthony Portantino; Glendale City Councilmembers Zareh Sinanyan and Vartan Gharpetian; Glendale City Clerk Ardashes Kassakhian; Glendale Unified School District Board President Dr. Armine Gharpetian; Vice-President of the Glendale Community College Board of Trustees Dr. Armine Hacopian, as well as representatives of various other organizations.
A silent auction took place during an intimate, pre-dinner cocktail hour as the organization’s newly revamped website was also on display for guests. The evening’s official program commenced with the singing of the Armenian, American, and ARS anthems by tenor Raffi Kerbabian, accompanied by pianist Hovsep Torossian.
Christine Hovnanian, ARS Gala Organizing Committee Chairperson, delivered welcoming remarks and reflected that in the same spirit that His Holiness Aram I has proclaimed 2017 as “The Year of Renewal,” the ARS will carry forward its wide-ranging humanitarian programs with a renewed spirit and common purpose. She then introduced the evening’s Master of Ceremonies Mrs. Alice Petrossian, an avid ARS supporter who currently serves as the President of the Los Angeles County Commission for Women and Chairperson of the ANC Educational Committee.
Reflecting on her personal and familial involvement with the Armenian Relief Society, Mrs. Petrossian recognized the official guests and dignitaries present at the event and praised the noble work of the organization. Thereafter, Archbishop Mardirossian performed the invocation and conveyed his blessings.
Rebecca Berberian, Chairperson of the ARS Regional Executive, delivered the Board’s message. She drew attention to the current reality that vulnerable populations face today and reflected on the fact that these circumstances remind us of similar conditions, as a result of which the Armenian Relief Society was founded. “As we did over a century ago, we will continue acting as a leading pillar of support and a beacon of hope for our communities. The current political climate and newly enacted policies, which we are dealing with today, call for the diligent work of our organization now, more than ever. The realities that we face today, reaffirm the significance and weight of our organization, one which was established over a century ago to meet the every-changing needs of people, to ease struggles and hardships, and to promote the welfare of individuals and communities near and far,” asserted Berberian.
Berberian touched on the services delivered through ARS Social Services and the ARS Child, Youth and Family Guidance Center, the 16 one-day ARS schools that currently offer instruction to nearly 750 youth, and the organization’s wide array of programs in the Diaspora and throughout the homeland, in Armenia and Artsakh, including support of the recent ARS Stepanakert “Soseh” Kindergarten Rebuilding Project. Berberian then acknowledged the dedication of ARS members and supporters, who help implement the organization’s purposeful work.
Following Chairperson Berberian’s remarks, guests viewed a video presentation, which provided an overview of the ARS of Western USA’s multi-faceted programs and projects, which reach local communities, as well as Armenia, Artsakh, Javakhk, and Syria.
A candle lighting ceremony then took place with the participation of 38 candle lighters. During the program, California State Senator Anthony Portantino also presented a proclamation to the ARS for its service, which was received by Chairperson Berberian.
At the end of the evening’s official program, the Allen G. band entertained guests, who enjoyed a pleasant and lively atmosphere. As one of the region’s major fundraising events, the ARS of Western USA extends its deepest appreciation to its members, supporters, event donors and sponsors, who contributed to a successful event.