July, 2016 marked the opening of the Shirvanian Youth Center in Gyumri, Armenia. After recently celebrating the center’s 5th anniversary, the “We Are Gyumri” committee held a fundraising event in Encino on Friday, July 30.
The fundraising event was attended by more than 125 guests, supporters and sponsors who helped raise $90,000 to advance the mission of the “We Are Gyumri” initiative. The evening’s event was sponsored by Koko Topalian.
The Shirvanian Family and Mr. & Mrs. Vahik and Alice Petrossian pledged $50,000, earmarked specifically to benefit the “We Are Gyumri” Mina Shirvanian Scholarship Fund in the coming years, which to date has provided 37 students with scholarships.
The scholarship is named in honor of the late Mina Shirvanian and her role as a community benefactor, who always provided an unwavering support for Armenian youth. The scholarship fund is intended for residents of the Shirak Province to pursue their undergraduate education in their native region. All scholarship recipients must commit to completing volunteer hours at the Shirvanian Youth Center in Gyumri. In the coming weeks, the committee will announce the 2021-2022 scholarship recipients.
“On behalf of the committee, we want to thank the Shirvanian Family, our supporters, our dedicated staff in Armenia and the community,” said the “We Are Gyumri” committee member Garine Izmirlian. “This is a Western Region initiative and the community’s steadfast support allows us to continue to fulfill our mission.”
During the event guests were treated to performances from Varand and Jirair Barsamian. Guests also had an opportunity to Skype with Shirvanian Youth Center Manager/Project Coordinator, Gohar Karapetyan, who highlighted the centers activities, thanked the guests for their continued backing and identified future opportunities to expand outreach and youth programs. Lastly, guests watched a special five year anniversary video prepared by the volunteers at the Shirvanian Youth Center which demonstrated some of the body of work organized by the volunteers and staff at the Shirvanian Youth Center.
The mission of the “We Are Gyumri” committee is to create a positive and lasting impact on youth in Gyumri, Armenia. The campaign restructured and renovated the Shirvanian Youth Center in Gyumri that had been destroyed during the 1988 Spitak earthquake. A year-round functional program was created at the Center to teach youth in Gyumri everyday skills, to provide them with the essentials they need for a brighter future, and to serve as a bridge between youth in Gyumri and their peers in the Diaspora. As another component of the campaign, the “We Are Gyumri” Mina Shirvanian Scholarship Fund is intended for residents of the Shirak Province to pursue their undergraduate education in their native region. “We are Gyumri” is an ARF Western U.S. initiative.