PROVIDENCE, RI—On Saturday January 25, 2020, more than 200 community members celebrated the Providence “Varantian” Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Chapter during its annual Varantian Ball. The V-Ball, as it is nicknamed, has been a beloved tradition in Providence for decades.
This year’s event was held at the Alpine Country Club, where musicians John Berberian, Leon Janikian, Jason Naroian and Bruce Gigarjian offered enjoyable entertainment.
The evening’s emcee Alysha Phillips, who happens to be in her last year as an AYF member, welcomed the crowd. The evening began with the singing of the Armenian National Anthem, Mer Hairenik, and a moment of silence for the community members who passed away in 2019. Dinner was served following opening prayers by Rev. Fr. Kapriel Nazarian, pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Church.
The program began by recognizing the chapter’s honorary members, the V-Ball committee and representatives from sister organizations. Steve Elmasian gave a special presentation honoring the life of Antranig “Anto” Avakian and his dedication to the AYF and the Armenian community in Providence. Avakian served as chairman of the Board of Trustees at Sts. Vartanantz Church and also served as a member of the Camp Haiastan Board. He held many executive positions in the Providence AYF and was chairman of the AYF Central Executive. He earned his masters degree in education from Rhode Island College and was a special needs educator in New Bedford for 38 years.
Garo Tashian, the outgoing president, spoke about the Providence chapter’s activities over the past year. The Providence chapter graduated four outstanding senior members in 2019: Sevan Donoian, Lena Minassian, Rita Minassian and Garo Tashian. All four of these members were extremely dedicated to the success of the chapter and were thanked for their countless hours of service to the community. Nerses Donoyan, the outgoing Junior president, also addressed the guests and spoke to the successes of the Junior chapter in 2019, which included several Junior transfers and a victorious basketball tournament at Junior Winter Olympics in New Jersey. Then Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) advisor to the chapter Paulie Haroian provided a few remarks on the improved direction the chapter has taken within the past few years. Nareh Mkrtschjan also offered her remarks on behalf of the AYF Central Executive.
The annual fundraising raffle was also held. Those proceeds will be donated to the junior chapter to help defray the costs of their trip to AYF Junior Seminar in Pennsylvania this spring. Juniors helped the V-Ball committee secure some of the prizes and sell tickets, successfully raising over $1,000.
At the conclusion of the raffle drawings, all the current “Varantians” gathered on the dance floor to take their annual chapter picture and kick off the dance as the band played the Providence AYF’s theme song, “Hey Jan.”
The AYF “Varantian” Chapter would like to extend their warmest thanks to everyone for their continued support! We look forward to seeing everyone next year!