WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (A.W.)—The Armenian Relief Society (ARS) Eastern U.S. “Agnouni” chapter—one of the four Armenian Relief Society’s chapters in New Jersey—celebrated its 40th anniversary during its annual Mother’s Day event on May 8, at the Seasons Catering and Special Events.
Over 160 people attended the ceremony, at which the 11 founding members of the chapter—six of them who were present—were honored for their service. The member’s biographies and personal achievements were read and their service to the local community was acknowledged. The founders, or a family member on behalf of them, were each presented with a bouquet of flowers.
Master of Ceremonies Talin Apkarian-Kochayan led the event with clarity and poise. The program consisted of welcoming remarks by ARS “Agnouni” Chairperson Zepure Tekeyan. Congratulatory remarks were then made by ARS Eastern U.S. representative Sonia Bezdikian. The event and dinner prayer were led by Sirvart Akillian, one of the founders and a senior member of the “Agnouni” chapter.
During the event, Ani Panossian Mouradian and Karine Kocharyan were sworn into the ranks of the chapter with ARS members standing for the oath ceremony. The event also featured performances by violinist Diana Vasilian and vocalist Vicken Makoushian.
The highlight of the event was a 40th anniversary remembrance film, prepared by Vartivar Kachichian, which incorporated the history of the ARS and the “Agnouni” chapter. The message conveyed was “the strong Armenian woman” through the ARS, who stepped up to challenge of securing the humanitarian needs of her community for the past 108 years.
All in attendance were in good spirits while taking photos, enjoying each other’s company, and bidding on the 44 raffle gifts available for the fundraising auction. The event was a great success, which was made possible thanks to the unwavering efforts of the chapter members and the support of the community.
In her closing remarks, ungerouhi Kochayan thanked the ARS members and the attendees for their dedication and continued support of the ARS and the chapter. She pointed out the vital role that Armenian women play in preserving the Armenian heritage and serving Armenian communities, all while balancing a their family and professional lives. Kochayan assured that the dedication of these women ensures a bright future for the ARS.