NEW MILFORD, NJ – Hundreds of community members from across the Eastern Region and Canada gathered on Saturday, December 3 for New Jersey’s Armenian Relief Society (ARS) “Shakeh” and AYF-YOARF “Arsen” Chapters Camp Javakhk fundraiser, featuring Karnig Sarkissian and his band.
The event began with an opening prayer by Der Sahag Dzayrakouyn Vartabed Yemishyan of the Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Apostolic Church.
The evening’s Master of Ceremonies, Nairi Diratsouian, welcomed community members from near and far and touched on the purpose of the event, raising funds for ARS Camp Javakhk – a free program for local children in Georgia’s Armenian-populated province, primarily run by Armenian youth counselors from North America.
Niree Kaprielian gracefully led the crowd in singing the national anthems, followed by formal remarks from ARS New Jersey “Shakeh” Chapter president Ani Keshishian. “Javakhk needs all of our support,” she said in Armenian. “Let us heed the call for help from Javakhk, remembering that it is the call of the Armenian land, the alarm bell of the existence of the Armenian people. Let us lend an earphone to that call, for the sake of our children,” continued Keshishian.
AYF New Jersey “Arsen” Chapter Executive member Niree Kaprielian represented the voice of the youth and shared her experience as a Camp Javakhk counselor.
As keynote speaker, AYF New Jersey “Arsen” Chapter president Victoria Ezgilioglu delved into the daily life of a Camp Javakhk participant, highlighting the unique education and experience campers receive. She reached into her wallet and pulled out a Camp Javkakhk attendance sheet that she has kept on her person since serving as a counselor, moving the crowd and truly demonstrating the impact that the youth of Javakhk have on their counterparts in the diaspora. “With your support tonight, kids like Seta, Levon and Serj will not only be able to strengthen their Armenian roots by learning our song and dance, but also receive a unique education all while connecting with the Armenian diaspora,” Ezgilioglu concluded.
After the inspiring program, Sarkissian took the stage and energized the audience with patriotic songs. Young people waved flags and stood arm in arm in support of the Armenian nation, displaying that they are with the youth of Javakhk.
The community expressed its moral and financial support of Camp Javakhk as the event raised over $12,000 in donations.