LITTLE ARMENIA, Calif.—Supporters of the ARS Javakhk Fund gathered in Los Angeles, California at Kavar Restaurant on Thursday, March 1 to benefit the new addition and rebuilding of the Akhaltskha Youth Center in Javakhk. The Armenian Relief Society (ARS) Javakhk Fund Committee organizes fundraisers annually to support its ongoing efforts in the highly Armenian populated region.
Committee member Carnie Armenian delivered opening remarks, stressed the importance of both moral and financial support to Javakhk Armenians, and stated: “It is vital to offer our support to our brethren in Javakhk and rebuild the youth center in Akhaltskha, which offers the opportunity for young generations of Armenians in the region to remain rooted to their ancestral land.”
Armenian then introduced Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Central Executive member Puzant Berberian and ANCA Western Region Community Relations Director Dickran Khodanian to express their thoughts and experiences about Javakhk youth and Camp Javakhk.
A PowerPoint presentation was on display featuring the activities of the children of Javakhk in the Akhaltskha Youth Center.
ARS Javakhk Fund Committee Chairperson Lena Bozoyan welcomed ARS regional, chapter executives, and members, as well as Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Central Committee representative Garo Ispendjian and Javakhk Central Committee representative Artin Manoukian. She acknowledged the presence of all the supporters, especially the previous chairpersons of the ARS Javakhk Fund Committee, including Haigoush Kohler and Mako Mgrdichian. Bozoyan mentioned two important goals that the committee wanted to accomplish by organizing the event. First, to extend gratitude to all the members, donors, and supporters of the ARS Javakhk Fund, who trust the committee and help accomplish their projects. Second, to organize an intimate dinner fundraiser to raise funds and support the rebuilding and expansion of the ARS Javakhk Fund’s Akhaltskha Youth Center.
Bozoyan presented the ARS Javakhk Fund Committee’s major accomplishments throughout the past 17 years, the importance of the youth centers, and their meaning to the region. She also discussed the challenges of Armenians in Javakhk, citing discrimination and limited instruction in Armenian language and history. She further explained how the ARS Javakhk Fund strives to alleviate these difficult circumstances by sponsoring year-round educational, cultural, and social programs at the youth centers. Drawing on the impact that ARS programs have had on Javakhk, Bozoyan attested, “It is evident that, through our support, Armenians in Javakhk have become empowered and the rebuilding and expansion of the Akhaltskha Youth Center is an integral part of the strategic importance of the region.”
Bozoyan declared March 2018 as Javakhk Awareness Month and informed the guests of all the fundraising, promotional and educational events within the month. The committee will partner with local youth organizations in organizing a Javakhk Forum at Glendale Community College on March 15, 2018 at 12 noon where Glendale City Councilmember Zareh Sinanyan will present his thoughts about the region. Committee members will visit Armenian schools and educate students about the importance of supporting Javakhk. Coin banks have also been distributed to Armenian and ARS schools urging students to support Javakhk youth.
The committee announced the names of donors and a special surprise donation of $100,000 by Haigoush Keghinian Kohler, a veteran ARS member, who has held numerous leadership positions within ARS central and regional. Kohler has been the chairperson of the ARS Javakhk fund in the western region and has dedicated decades of service towards the revitalization of Javakhk. Kohler’s donation will benefit the renovation and expansion of the Akhaltskha Youth Center.
Kohler delivered remarks and expressed thanks to the committee’s members and all the supporters throughout the years. She urged guests to take part in supporting the region and give hope to the youth and the people of Javakhk. She assured that she would continue offering assistance to Armenians in Javakhk in order for the population to remain on their ancestral lands.
The event’s raffle prize was an authentic Artsakh rug.
Singer Koko Hayitian entertained guests with Armenian folk and patriotic songs. Surprise rendition of “Angin Yeghpayr” was presented by committee member Puzant Berberian and “Aghpers U Yes” by Shant Najarian.
Guests departed with renewed spirit to remain supportive of Armenians in Javakhk.
This article was originally published in our Western U.S. sister publication, Asbarez.