By Dianne Chilingerian
WELLESLEY, Mass. – When planning began for the AMAA Boston Orphan and Child Care Committee’s 2021 gala, none could have predicted what a delightful and well-attended evening November 10 would be.
Committee chairs Susan Adamian Covo and Phyllis Dohanian were hopeful as they worked tirelessly with committee members to plan an event to help children. On that crisp fall evening, the Wellesley Country Club provided a glowing backdrop, as did the warm renderings of soulful, classic Armenian melodies by educator, composer and guitarist John Baboian. The evening was lit with the energy and enthusiasm of stunning emcee host Miss Grand Armenia 2021 Kristina Ayanian, who was an exemplary advocate for bringing love and faith to children and the future of Armenia. Young attendees were also represented beautifully by Norayr Orchanian, who offered an inspiring invocation before dinner as well as a moment of silence in remembrance of martyrs who gave their lives in the recent Artsakh War.
Longtime AMAA board member Jeanmarie Papelian then enlightened guests about the work of the Avedisian School—an “amazing place” where students—many of whom come from families who are “desperately poor”—learn multiple languages, science, art, dance, and all go on to university. Her lovely daughter Grace Bottomley narrated a video presentation introducing the group to four such families. One of these families lived in a 130 square foot home and tended sheep in lieu of rent. Guests may never forget the child who said with such depth of heart, “I love my school.”
A moment of excitement then followed when a very generous donation was announced in honor of Michele Simourian and her 30 years of service to the AMAA. Guests’ energy and enthusiasm for multiple opportunities to contribute throughout the night—the wine pull, silent auction, live auction, child sponsorships, etc.—was evident, and many departed with one-of-a-kind designer items, event tickets, travel and sports packages. More importantly, they left with a feeling of gratification that comes only from the goodness of giving. As one guest so aptly said, “I did not want to miss an opportunity to help,” adding that we must never forget to appreciate all that we have.
In his message addressed to the attendees of the event, AMAA executive director and CEO Zaven Khanjian said, “Christ propelled hope and a strong will to survive in us. Anchored on our faith, the grace of God and good samaritans like you, this nation is destined to resurrect, recover and rejuvenate. Thank you for anchoring AMAA’s endurance and thank God for His infinite love.”