More than 300 Armenian Relief Society members gathered on Sunday, January 3, 2016 to celebrate together during the ARS Regional Executive Board’s annual New Year celebration at St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church Armenag Der Bedrossian Hall. Members were in great spirits and excited to welcome the New Year together, while they enjoyed a lively event program.
Guests included representative to His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Reverend Father Komitas Torrosian, ARS Central Executive members Rita Hintlian and Maral Matossian, ARF Central Committee Representative Garo Ispendjian, Homenetmen Regional Executive Vice-Chairperson Sako Garabedian, former ARS Central Executive Chairperson Vicky Marashlian, St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church Board of Trustees representative Anahid Zarkarian, Eat and Feed organizers and volunteers, and Gisapatz Lusamud TV host and producer Hrach Muradyan.
The program commenced with the invocation by Reverend Father Komitas Torsosian and opening remarks by Regional Executive Board Chairperson Rebecca Berberian, who wished everyone a Happy New Year and reflected back on the past year’s activities, which also marked the Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide Centennial. Berberian also highlighted the important work carried out by ARS Social Services and the ARS Child, Youth, and Family Guidance Center and thanked all those who wholeheartedly work to make ARS programs successful.
Singers Gagik Badalyan and Salpi Mayelian entertained guests with traditional Armenian folk and patriotic songs. Mariam Yevryan, a young adult from Artsakh, sang songs dedicated to the country in its dialect, inspiring all and receiving their praise and commendation.
Two significant recognitions highlighted the evening. First, the Regional Executive Board recognized former ARS Central Executive members Vicky Marashlian, Annie Kechichian, and Rosie Bedrosian. Chairperson Rebecca Berberian proudly presented the three members and on behalf of the ARS family extended appreciation and thanks for their humanitarian work. While members Annie Kechichian and Rosie Bedrosian could not be in attendance, Berberian invited Vicky Marashlian and presented her with a memorable gift.
Marashlian expressed thanks for the recognition and stated that it is each individual’s responsibility to serve the ARS, Armenian people and homeland. She dedicated the recognition to all ARS members because it is through their dedicated efforts that the ARS, as a humanitarian organization, is able to serve its people and nation. She wished all those in attendance a Happy New Year and Merry Christmas, also extending wishes for peace in the world and great success for ARS programs.
Next, Eat and Feed fundraiser organizers surprised the ARS with a generous donation of $8,000. The Eat and Feed program has been being organized for the past three years by two close friends Arthur Kirakosyan and Albert Kirakosian. With the help of a group of volunteers, they organize fundraisers in the month of December, during which volunteers prepare food and sell them to raise funds. Proceeds of the fundraisers are donated to a philanthropic organization. This year, the ARS was selected as the recipient for the funds. All those in attendance commended the work of the organizers.
Chairperson Berberian thanked the Eat and Feed organizers and presented them with plaques of appreciation on behalf of the ARS Regional Executive, encouraging them to continue their philanthropic program benefiting humanity and the Armenian people.
ARS Regional Headquarters General Manager Jasik Jarahian was the Master of Ceremonies, creating a joyous atmosphere throughout the entire evening. This event also served as an opportunity for members from near and distant chapters to spend time with one another while celebrating a New Year with renewed commitment to continue fulfilling the ARS mission and goals.
The Armenian Relief Society of Western USA, established in 1984 and with regional headquarters in Glendale, CA, has 26 chapters and more than 1,200 members in four western states. The ARS operates a Social Services Division and Child, Youth, and Family Guidance Center, and funds numerous youth programs, scholarships, and relief efforts. For additional information, visit www.arswestusa.org or call (818) 500-1343.