ENCINO–At the end of the 19th and early 20th century, as Armenia’s first began settling in California, from Armenia or parts of eastern United States, a few had the foresight to organize their new community under the aegis of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF). They believed the ARF had the best interests of Armenia’s in the homeland and would, therefore serve the need of the diaspora. Thus, the first California Gomideh was formed Fresno in 1909, then Los Angeles in 1909, and San Francisco in 1915. The Los Angeles Gomideh remained the sole Gomideh in Southern California until 1946 when the Keri Committee was established mainly for the youth, many of whom were more proficient in English than in Armenian. All, however, strongly believed in, espoused and followed the aims and goals of the ARF. Most members of these two Gomidehs lived in either the east portion of Los Angeles or the more central part of the city. As more and more Armenia’s moved to Los Angeles from New York, Boston, Detroit and other mainly East Coast cities, a small portion began residing in the newly growing area of the San Fernando Valley. For members of the ARF living in Hollywood, West Hollywood or the San Fernando Valley, it became increasingly difficult for them to attend meetings at the Armenian Center on Venice Blvd. in Los Angeles. While a Gomideh had been established in East Los Angeles (Mourad Gomideh) in 1955, that was nevertheless further away from the Valley. A small group of the Ungers living on the west and northwest side of town, Hollywood, Studio City, and other parts of the San Fernando Valley were unable to carry on their responsibilities because of the distance and difficulties to get to the Armenian Center for meetings. They realized, however, the importance of establishing a Gomideh to organize the community in an area that promised future growth for Armenia’s population. That became a reality in February 1957 when the Apovian Gomideh was established with 11 members that grew in a few months to 17. The Gomideh started having lectures, programs, and picnics for the public. It became evident from the number of people attending these events, that there were many Armenia’s living in the Valley, including a good portion of the young men and women who were more comfortable speaking English. (This was before the huge influx of Armenia’s from the Lebanon, Iran or the Soviet Union.) The Gomideh realized it was important to immediately organize the community. The following year, the Anahid chapter of the Armenian Relief Society was established. A major concern at that time was to find a location where the community could congregate. It was in fact at one of the picnics that the wife of one of the Ungers excitedly revealed the news of a piece of property on While Oak Ave. After seeing the property that day, a few Ungers donated money for a deposit on the property. Their goal became to establish an Armenian Apostolic Church in the Valley. Thanks to the efforts of the Apovian Ungers and ARS Anahid Ungerouhis and their foresight, the Holy Martyrs Armenian Apostolic Church was established at that location. That was not all that they accomplished. Through their efforts over the years, they played an integral part in establishing the Holy Martyrs Armenian Elementary and Ferrahian High School, the ARS — Askhen Pilavjian Pre-School, the Sardarabad Chapter of the Armenian Youth Federation, the Simon Vratsian & Arapo Chapters of the ARF Badenagan Organization, the Baryour Sevag Chapter of the San Fernando Valley Hamazkaine Cultural Association, the Masis Chapter of Homenetmen, and the Encino Chapter of the Armenian American Aging Council. The name of the Gomideh was later changed from Apovian to its present name Rosdom Gomideh, in honor of one of the three founders of the ARF. But whether under the name of Kachatur Apovian or Rosdom, this Gomideh has, in the past fifty years, and to this day continues to serve the growing Armenian community in the Valley, composed of us born in this country and immigran’s from the Middle East, Iran and Armenia. The Rosdon Gomideh realized that it was its responsibility to see that the ideals of Rosdom, and the other legendary heroes of the past and present are kept alive and passed on to our sons and daughters and to the entire community. Furthermore it was the responsibility of all its Ungers to be the guardians for the rights of our people, wherever they may be, whether in Los Angeles, the Middle East, in Yerevan, or Karabagh. The Rosdom Gomideh has come a long way in the last 50 years, and will continue to serve the Armenian people for as long as necessary. ROSDOM GOMIDEH 50th Anniversary Celebration March 18, 2007 6:00 PM AVEDISIAN HALL Holy Martyrs Elementary & Ferrahian High School 5300 White Oak Ave., Encino.