GLENDALE—The Armenian Cultural Foundation (ACF) Glendale Chapter marked the opening of its long anticipated Youth Center on Sunday, July 12 as hundreds from the community attended a special ribbon cutting ceremony to inaugurate the new building, located at the center of a diverse and growing city of over 200,000.
The Krikor and Mariam Karamanoukian Glendale Youth Center, located at 211 West Chestnut St. Glendale 91204, will be dedicated to the enhancement and progression of the Glendale community.
A distinctively designed green and yellow building, the new center will also serve as a place where the city’s youth can spend their after school hours studying in the library, working on projects in the computer lab, and getting involved with various local non-profit organizations.
Among other programs, the community will have access to a host of internship opportunities, social services, gang and drug prevention programs, youth sports and recreation programs, and opportunities for the community to come together through cultural exchange. It will also work in tandem with neighboring St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church to serve as a bridge linking new generations with the faith and values of their ancestors.
The planning for the new center officially began in 2004 when the Glendale Chapter of the Armenian Cultural Foundation brought together representatives from various community organizations to embark on the unprecedented project.
A committee, composed of representatives from these organizations, was soon formed to assess the feasibility of the project and to map out a course for developing the building. Three years later, on December 18, 2007, a small groundbreaking ceremony took place to commence the construction of the building.
“There was a time when the initiative of building such a center was considered only a distant dream,” Glendale ACF Chairman Vahe Bozoian told Asbarez. “Today, through the dedication of many loyal and committed individuals as well as gracious contributors, that dream has become a reality.”
Bozoian went on to say that the new Youth Center will be considered “the pride and joy of all Glendalians for generations to come.”
Prior to the opening of the new center, community organizations had no place to call their own, meeting at several different locations in an ad hoc fashion, never certain of the availability for locations to host events.
Glendale is home to over three dozen Armenian organizations serving the community. The ACF Youth center will house the local chapters of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) (along with its Saturday school), the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society, the Armenian National Committee, and the Armenian Cultural Foundation.
At the ceremony, members from each of these organizations stood at their respective office doorsteps to greet the ribbon cutting procession, as benefactors cut ribbons for the individual offices they sponsored.
After ceremony, the crowd was invited inside where guest speakers congratulated the community and thanked all those who contributed to the establishment of the building.
Remarks were delivered by California State Assemblyman Paul Krekorian (D-43), Glendale City Council Member Ara Najarian, ARF Western US Central Committee Member Hovan Tashjian, and the Chairperson of the ACF Glendale Aharonian Chapter Vahe Bozoian.
As the event came to an end members of the Glendale AYF gathered around in building’s youth room to share ideas on how their chapter would utilize the new facilities to achieve their organization’s goals. One member, Meghedi Babakhanlou, said she couldn’t wait to start advertising the center’s free tutoring services to Glendale Youth. “I can’t wait to help kids with their school work,” she exclaimed. “There are many families who can’t afford private tutoring services for their children and I am very excited that we now have a place in Glendale to address that issue.”