GLENDALE–More than 300 supporters of the Armenian Relief Society gathered at the Brandview Collection in Glendale Saturday to kick off the year long fundraising effort for the construction project of the new headquarters for the ARS-Western US. The event was organized by the Regional Executive of the ARS-Western US. To date–approximately $250,000 has been raised for the project.
Among those addressing the audience were Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian–Western Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America; ARS Western US Regional Executive Chairwoman Alice Madenlian; ARF Western US Central Committee member Daron Khachatourian; and Krikor Avedissian–representative of the Armenian Consul General in Los Angeles; State Senator Adam Schiff; Los Angeles County Sheriff representative Chief Lee Baca; and–Greg Krikorian–representative of Congressman James Rogan–and architect Geoffrey Sobin.
In addition to benefactors and supporters of the ARS–in attendance were members of the ARS Central Executive and of the Prelacy Executive Council.
Master of Ceremonies Raffi Hamparian acknowledged the ARS’ growing strength as manifested by its need to expand and serve a larger Armenian population in need. It appeals to the Armenian-American community with a new mission and a larger goal–he said.
Bishop Mardirossian said that the audience’s presence testified to the ARS’ mission and service. "Today–the ARS presents us with a renewed responsibility and new challenge of service to others." He explained to the audience that the current Western Region headquarters at the Nazigian Center is not conducive to the scope of its activities–and therefore the ARS is building a larger facility. The Prelate asked all friends of the ARS to provide moral and financial support to this ever so significant project.
ARS Western Regional Executive Chairwoman Alice Madenlian summarized the mission of the ARS –its 88 year history and activities. She highlighted ARS projects from the first years of the ARS when it had to deal with the Armenian Genocide–to the 1988 earthquake in Armenia–to the 1988 Karabakh liberation movement–to efforts made to accommodate the increasing Armenian population in Southern California. Madenlian acknowledged Western US ARS’ estimated $5 million contribution to Armenia through rebuilding two villages; providing school supplies and nutrition; offering psychological counseling; training counselors; establishing two psychological centers in Gumri and Spitak; starting three dental centers in Taline–Yerevan and Vanatzor; opening two school in Karabakh; providing nutrition to three orphanages in Armenia; and sponsoring thousands of orphaned children.
Madenlian cited the ARS Western US Region as the largest with 27 chapters with Saturday schools and social service offices. Regarding the new center–Madenlian explained that the initial funding was provided by the Lincy Foundation–and that the center would house the new ARS Psychological Counseling Center. She honored psychologist Armen Geonjian–who heads all psychological services the ARS Western US Region offers in Armenia–Karabakh and the Western US.
Delivering the message of the Central Committee of the ARF of the Western US–Daron Khachatourian praised the ARS for returning to the public duplicate amounts of what it receives. He offered the ARS the full support of the ARF Central Committee in its efforts to build its new headquarters.
Representing the Consul General of Armenia in Los Angeles–Krikor Avedissian also praised the ARS for its unending service to the Armenian people. He expressed gratitude to all benefactors and supporters of ARS and congratulated the audience on occasion of Robert Kocharian’s election as president of Armenia.
State Senator Adam Schiff spoke the few Armenian sentences he had learned from his staff member Mannik Khachadourian–acknowledging the humanitarian work of the ARS and commending its 88 year history.
Long-time friend of the Armenia’s–Chief Lee Baca of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office outlined the challenges with which the ARS has helped the Armenian nation deal.
Representing Congressman James Rogan–Greg Krikorian spoke about the Genocide and the orphaned children–and presented Madenlian with a proclamation from the Congressman.
Garen Gharibian performed the national anthems of Armenia and the United States. Anahid Nercissian performed songs accompanied on the piano by Levon Abrahamian.