WATERTOWN, Mass.—Armenia Tree Project expanded its presence in Southern California with a visit to the region by Executive Director Jeff Masarjian and Deputy Director Jason Sohigian for a series of meetings and events. The trip was organized by Southern California Development Director Hermine Mahmouzian with the assistance of Anahit Gharibyan and highlights included a fundraising dinner in Pasadena and a presentation with students at the AGBU School in Canoga Park.
David and Margaret Mgrublian hosted a dinner reception for ATP at their magnificent home in Pasadena on March 13. The event co-chairs were George and Flora Dunaians, Alfred and Sabine Eisaian, Shahen Hairapetian and Arax Mansourian, Mark Howell, and Joseph and Joyce Stein.
Founder Carolyn Mugar greeted the 40 guests while they enjoyed an exquisite four course meal, explaining the reasons for starting the organization in 1994. She invited Anahit Gharibyan–ATP’s first employee in Armenia who is now an assistant to the development director in Southern California–to recount the early years of the organization.
Anahit recalled being asked on the first day to set a goal to plant 50,000 trees per year and how she thought it could never be done. She proudly announced that since that first week, ATP’s Community Tree Planting program has planted more than 1,000,000 trees at over 850 sites all around Armenia.
Last year, Alfred and Sabine Eisaian of Glendale contacted ATP about their plans to build a Yoga and Wellness Center in Aghtsk Village near Byurakan. Their goal is to help the local economy and spread the love of yoga and healthy eating.
“We have been supporters of Armenia Tree Project since its inception,” noted Sabine at the event. “We are excited about ATP’s experts initiating environmental education in the local school and planting trees in Aghtsk Village.”
In addition to hosting the event, the Mgrublians generously sponsored the planting of a tree for every guest. “These trees planted in your name will become a living legacy of your support of Armenia and ATP’s mission to plant trees for future generations,” Anahit emphasized.
On March 11, ATP accepted an invitation to visit the AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School in Canoga Park, where a large group of students donated one dollar per week for four weeks to sponsor the planting of 55 trees in Armenia.
Jeff Masarjian and Anahit Gharibyan presented ATP’s Building Bridges environmental education program to a group of 300 enthusiastic students from kindergarten through fifth grade. The visit was coordinated by the school’s Armenian teachers, and the donation to ATP was proudly presented by Principal Hagop Hagopian.
“For the school’s 35th anniversary, the Elementary Armenian Department wanted to ‘Give something to our Homeland.’ Since we knew about ATP, we decided to help turn Armenia green,” explained Armenian teacher Maral Voskian.
“The students were happy that they were going to plant trees. Meanwhile they also learned something new about their Homeland since we conducted lessons about the importance of saving Armenia’s flora and fauna by using ATP’s Building Bridges newsletters,” she added.
“We are grateful for this tree planting donation and extremely proud of the initiative taken by the young students at the Manoogian-Demirdjian School. We look forward to working together to raise awareness among the youth about environmental issues in Armenia,” stated Mr. Masarjian. The school visit was part of ATP’s Building Bridges program, which was designed to connect diasporan students with Armenia’s rich natural heritage.
ATP’s mission is to assist the Armenian people in using trees to improve their standard of living and protect the environment, guided by the need to promote self-sufficiency, aid those with the fewest resources first, and conserve the indigenous ecosystem. ATP’s three major programs are tree planting, environmental education, and sustainable development initiatives. For more information about ATP, please visit the Web site.