ARS of Eastern USA: Highlighting a year of challenges, milestones and united efforts

The ARS at work following the earthquake in Syria

In a world marked by constant change, the Armenian Relief Society of Eastern USA (ARS EUSA) has remained steadfast in its commitment to serving our community and humanity with resilience and compassion. The Year in Review recap serves as a poignant reminder of the challenges we faced, the milestones we achieved and the transformative power of our united efforts. Throughout 2023, our organization worked tirelessly to address the evolving needs of our community, both locally and abroad. From humanitarian assistance to educational initiatives, healthcare programs to cultural preservation, every project reflects our dedication to fostering positive change. The collaborative efforts of our volunteers, donors and partners have played a crucial role in achieving a meaningful impact, and this recap details the projects and initiatives of 2023.

We began the year by providing crucial humanitarian aid in response to the earthquake that struck Syria. As rescue teams were searching through the rubble of the many buildings that were destroyed, the ARS EUSA was one of the first to begin an urgent fundraising campaign to assist the humanitarian relief work of the Armenian Relief Cross of Syria (ARCS). The funds raised were instrumental in addressing the pressing needs of the affected community.

ARS volunteers in Lebanon preparing meals

ARCS utilized these resources to ensure the sustained operation of the Tarmanadoon (Health) clinic, extending its hours late into the evening to meet urgent health needs. Funds were channeled to mobilize the “Petag” kitchen, which diligently prepared meals for both search and rescue teams and community members. The assistance extended further to provide winter essentials, hygiene supplies, nutrition and medication. We also supported the installation of solar panels on the Tarmanadoon clinic to ensure its continued functionality.

In the neighboring country of Lebanon, grappling with persistent economic instability, the ARS EUSA continued its commitment by contributing to the Armenian Relief Cross of Lebanon (ARCL). These ongoing donations supported vital community programs aimed at assisting those in need in the country.

ARS members visit the Hekyat Kindergarten

In the homeland, we extended support to ARS programs and projects, including the ARS Akhourian Mother and Child Health and Birthing Center, the ARS Outstanding Student Program for those excelling in high school and the ARS Sponsor a Child and Student Programs. We offered financial assistance to the Hekyat Kindergarten in Armenia, facilitating the installation of a heating system to ensure a warm environment during the severe winter months, and assisted in the overall facility upgrades of the school. We also extended assistance to the Javakhk community, addressing the persistent needs in the region.

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Throughout the year, despite our unwavering commitment to fundraising for Artsakh, the community still grappled with the blockade and violent assault by Azerbaijan, exacerbating challenges for our compatriots. The repercussions were significant, resulting in a mass exodus that displaced 100,000 individuals, causing them to lose homes and livelihoods. Confronting this crisis, our organization remained steadfast, acknowledging the pressing need to extend support to those affected. We promptly provided assistance to alleviate the burdens faced by the displaced families. Our ongoing efforts focus on assisting and standing by our compatriots and ensuring the provision of essential aid.

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Here in the United States, in an effort to nurture the potential of our youth, we organized the Norian Youth Connect program at Columbia University under the leadership of Dr. Khatchig Mouradian. The daylong program for university students featured short talks, roundtables and discussions on a variety of topics ranging from art and culture to international affairs and Artificial Intelligence. This program continues to be a testament to our dedication to empowering the next generation and fostering leadership skills that will contribute to a brighter future of our community and homeland.

At the core of our mission is education, and this year, we persisted in fostering the academic endeavors of gifted individuals. Forty-two students were recipients of our undergraduate and graduate student scholarships. Our objective is to open doors of opportunity and empower scholars to make impactful contributions to their communities. The ARS EUSA actively backed the initiatives of the Armenian National Education Committee, facilitated an essay contest among day and one-day schools and organized Let’s Chat Armenian Classes, creating a space where community members could enhance their proficiency in the Armenian language.

Oath ceremony for members of the new ARS Sevan chapter in Tampa, Florida

Throughout the year, significant milestones were achieved with the establishment of two new chapters under the leadership of the ARS EUSA: The ARS “Tsiran” Chapter in Manhattan, New York, and the ARS “Sevan” Chapter in Tampa, Florida, marking the 34th and 35th chapters, respectively. These additions exemplify the organization’s ongoing dedication to expanding its reach and impact. The establishment of these chapters further underscores the ARS’s commitment to advancing humanitarian initiatives and nurturing a sense of unity and solidarity among Armenians in these regions and beyond. This commitment was reinforced during the 102nd Convention of the ARS EUSA held in Richmond, Virginia, affirming a promise to continue fostering positive change and community engagement.

102nd ARS EUSA Convention in Richmond, VA

During the holiday season, we launched our Spread Christmas Cheer Campaign once again to ensure that every child, regardless of their circumstances, could experience the joy and wonder of the holiday season, and provided gifts for those in Armenia, Artsakh, Javakhk, Lebanon, Syria, Bulgaria and South America.

ARS spreading Christmas cheer

The ARS EUSA Regional Executive Board extends its heartfelt gratitude to all who have generously dedicated their time, unwavering support and steadfast commitment to advancing the vital programs of the ARS. In total, a remarkable $432,000 was allocated to these projects, a testament to the collective impact we can achieve as a community. Your generosity made a tangible difference in the lives of those affected, embodying the spirit of compassion that defines our organization. As we celebrate another year of humanitarian assistance, the weight of our philanthropic endeavors is juxtaposed against the sobering reality of 100,000 people displaced from their indigenous lands. Our commitment to supporting the displaced population remains unwavering, and our dedication to pursuing justice for our people has only strengthened. As we usher in a new year, may the spirit of giving thrive, and may compassion, unity and transformative change continue to shape our collective journey.

Armenian Relief Society Eastern U.S.
The ARS Eastern USA has 35 chapters located throughout the New England, Mid-Atlantic, Midwestern and Southeastern regions of the United States.

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