Projects in the USA
The ARS Eastern USA Convention annually establishes the programs and activities that will be implemented by the ARS Eastern USA Board of Regional Directors. The Eastern Region also is responsible for implementing the programs established by the triennial international ARS convention as directed by the organization’s international body, ARS, Inc. These home-grown and international activities impact Armenian communities here in the Eastern Region and abroad in Armenia, Artsakh and, now, Javakhk.
The ARS Eastern USA chapters support their local Armenian full-day and one-day schools. These schools receive continuous volunteer, financial and moral support.
ANEC – the Armenian National Educational Council – is a joint venture between the ARS Eastern USA and the Armenian Prelacy of the Eastern USA. ANEC was established and exists to provide educational guidance and leadership to Armenian one-day schools under its jurisdiction. This includes development of Armenian school curricula and educational materials to further the Armenian language education of ANEC one-day Armenian School students. The ARS Eastern USA also makes an annual allocation to ANEC as determined by the Annual Convention.
The ARS of Eastern USA has had a long and fruitful relationship with AYF Camp Haiastan and that relationship continues.
The ARS of Eastern USA sponsors a camper to attend Camp Haiastan through its Lorraine June Missirlian Fund, established and financially supported by the Missirlian family in memory of their daughter and the ARS of Eastern USA endowment funds.
We are happy and proud to announce that the ARS of Eastern USA, through the generous bequest received from the late Albert and Queenie Begian, sponsors the yearly publication of the Camp Haiastan Armenian school workbook, used by each camper during their attended session.
The Armenian Relief Society of Eastern USA has a unique appeal for you. Become a lifetime member of the Century Club. For a yearly donation of $100, you can take pride in knowing that your membership is of great value and assistance to the ARS Eastern United States’ many charitable programs. Your donation will go a long way in sustaining our programs some of which are:
- The Lazarian Graduate and Undergraduate Scholarships
- ARS Eastern USA Youth Educational Program Institute at the University of Connecticut-Storrs
- Yearly grant to the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC)
- AYF Camp Haiastan Camperships
- Yearly grant to AYF Camp Haiastan and sponsoring of the Armenian school workbook
- Participation in United Armenian Fund
- Armenia and Artsakh orphan sponsorship
- Underwriting an every day meal program in the Echmiadzin Orphanage, Armenia
- On-going sponsorship to the Sosseh Kindergarten, Artsakh
- Paying for Javakhk sawmill and youth center renovations and bringing electricity to three villages.
Click here to download an application to the ARS Eastern United States Century Club.
The ARS Eastern USA sponsors an annual essay contest for students attending Armenian everyday schools and ANEC-sponsored one-day schools in the Eastern Region. The essay contest features a new topic every year to encourage young Armenian students to think about themselves and their place in the Armenian community and hone their writing skills in Armenian and English. Winners receive prizes. Please click here to see the 2015 Essay Contest results.
The ARS Eastern USA provides graduate and undergraduate scholarships to students of Armenian descent. Graduate students who have graduated from an accredited four-year college or university in the U.S. are eligible to apply for the Lazarian Scholarship. Undergraduate students who plan to attend or are attending an accredited four-year college or university in the U.S. are eligible to apply for the Undergraduate scholarship . Scholarships are awarded from restricted funds established solely for scholarship purposes as directed by donors. ARS scholarship evaluation committees evaluate applicants’ merit (25%), financial need (50%), and Armenian community involvement (25%) to determine whether to recommend a scholarship award. To download an application please click one of the links below to get the application form in printable PDF file. Once filled, please mail it to the address below: A.R.S. of Eastern United States 80 Bigelow Avenue Suite 200, Watertown, MA 02472 U.S.A.
Deadline to submit is April 1. This past year the ARS of Eastern USA awarded $40,000 Scholarship to Armenian students. The ARS Undergraduate Scholarship Fund was established through the generous donations of many benefactors, who provided the financial resources necessary for the ARS to assist Armenian undergraduate students, for over three decades. In addition to this, the ARS George and Beatrice Lazarian Graduate Scholarship Fund has granted hundreds of generous scholarships to deserving graduate students.
The Armenian Relief Society of Eastern USA has teamed with Armenoid Productions and Bared Maronian an award winning filmmaker, to support his future project, a documentary film titled The Women of 1915. The Women of 1915 will be a sixty-minute documentary to educate the public about the plight of Armenian women during the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and the humanitarian assistance those women received from non-Armenian women who flocked to their rescue from the U.S., Canada, Europe and other parts of the world.
The Women of 1915 highlights the integral role Armenian women played in their respective communities as leaders, homemakers, mothers, fighters, caregivers, educators and eventually the victims of the last century’s first ethnic cleansing campaign. The film also spotlights those who helped and inspired the survival of these women, such as Karen Yeppe, a Danish social worker who helped return home thousands of captured Armenian women saving them from forced Islamization – and Armenian female intellectuals, such as Zabel Yessayan, who was blacklisted by the Ottoman authorities, miraculously spared from execution, only to find herself at the doorsteps of a Siberian concentration camp.
The documentary will detail how some of the foreign women relief workers were injured and forced to flee while others chose to remain and even gave their lives to rescue Armenian women and children. The film will patch together their lives through family accounts and documents, journals, letters, telegraphs and historic archives. The documentary aims to bring these heroic women to life.
The 100th anniversary of the Genocide is the target date for completing this film.
The origin of the Youth Connect Program (YCP) goes back to 1971, when the ARS initiated its Summer Studies Institute, to provide Armenian college and university students an introduction to Armenian language, ancient and modern Armenian history, and Armenian literature. For nearly three decades, students who have attended the three-week program testify to being enriched and forever changed by the Summer Studies experience. Some students have pursued degrees in Armenian Studies , as a result of their Summer Studies experience. All have left the program with a life-long appreciation for Armenian language, history, and culture. In 2008, the Youth Connect Program was launched, with the aim of immersing young Armenian college and university students in a week-long program of Armenian lectures, Armenian social activities, and visits to various Armenian institutions. The program also provided students with the opportunity to learn about internship opportunities, both in the US and Armenia, and provided students with the opportunity to interact with members of Armenian youth organizations in the Boston area. Both the Summer Studies and the Youth Connect Program have been made possible by the Norian Endowment Fund, which was created through the generosity of the late Miss Alice Norian and her sister Ms. Doris Norian Lentz, who donated money to the Armenian Relief Society, for the purpose of promoting Armenian studies in the United States. In 2009, after reviewing suggestions from participants in the original Youth Connect Program, the ARS revamped the program, making it a day-long event, consisting of intensive lectures and workshops, held during the academic year, The revised Youth Connect Program made a successful debut in 2010 at New York University. YCP PROVISIONS The program is available to any Armenian college-age student, between the ages of 18 and 25 years old. Last year the program was held at New York University in New York, NY, on February 28, 2015 from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. The program included discussions and workshops lead by keynote speaker(s)/panel featuring scholar(s).
Click here to see highlights from the 2015 program.
The ARS’s international body, the ARS, Inc., has established a number of on-going programs and projects in Armenia, Artsakh, Javakhk and Syria. Those programs and projects require the continuous support of the ARS, Inc.’s regions around the world, including the ARS Eastern USA.
The Akhourian “Mother and Child Clinic” has been providing health care services to the regions more than 40,000 residents. To date the Birthing Center has brought to life over 4000 infants since April 2005. Since its inception, the ARS Mother and Child Clinic, in Akhourian, Armenia, has held a special place for the Eastern Region Community. The funding for the construction of this Clinic, as well as the funding for its initial programs, came from our Region. Our Chapters and individuals continue to support this worthy project by providing funding for equipment necessary to operate the Clinic, as well sponsoring births in its Birthing Center. We encourage Chapters and individuals to continue their support.
The devastating December 1988 earthquake hit Armenia’s Akhourian region hard. In an effort to help bring normalcy to the area, the ARS Eastern USA built and supports the Nigol Aghpalian School, attended today by approximately 120 students from 12 to 17 years old. The Eastern Region also built the ARS Mother and Child Clinic to provide general medical services to the women and children living in the Akhourian area. The Eastern Region and its chapters continue to support the school and the clinic by making appropriations and securing donations of equipment and supplies valued in the thousands of dollars. In addition, Eastern Region ARS chapters provide on-going financial support and donate necessary supplies to various orphanages and schools in Armenia and Artsakh through their local initiatives.
The ARS 68th Convention passed a resolution to create an Education Fund to assist orphans residing in Armenia and Artsakhk, who had reached the age of 18. This was done in an effort to educate our orphans, so that they, in turn may become productive members of the community. Present sponsors are encouraged to continue their contributions, until their orphans’ graduation from an institution of higher learning. To sponsor an orphan student after the age of 18, is $320.00 per year. The ARS Eastern Region sponsored 35 students. Click here to download the flyer. Click Here to download the ARS Orphan Education Program Sponsorship Form.
The ARS Eastern USA is a proud and staunch supporter of the ARS, Inc.’s “Sponsor A Child” program, launched in 1992 to assist children who have lost one or both parents in the 1988 earthquake in Armenia or in the Nagorno-Karabagh liberation struggle. Sponsoring a child costs $200 a year until the child turns 18 years old. The ARS Eastern USA manages the Eastern Region’s sponsors and transmits funds to the ARS, Inc. for disbursement. ARS chapters and individuals living in the Eastern Region currently sponsor nearly 400 children. However, many more children need sponsors. To sponsor a child, please click here to get the application form in printable PDF file. Once filled, please mail it to the address below: A.R.S. of Eastern United States 80 Bigelow Avenue Suite 200 Watertown, MA 02472 U.S.A.
In 1998, the Artsakh Ministry of Education donated a war damaged building to the Armenian Relief Society in Stepanakert, to be renovated and used for war orphans and the children of families in need of assistance. In April, 1998, The ARS “Soseh” Kindergarten/Day-Care Center opened its doors to 87 children between the ages of 3 and 6. Within a short time, eleven Kindergartens opened all around Artsakh with 440 students: Stepanakert, Aygestan, Metz Tagher, Karintak, Shoushi, Haghorti, Togh, Ashan, Agnapert, Karekah, Khendzeristan and Avdur. Hot meals twice a day, warm and secure surroundings and elementary Schooling is provided to these children five days a week, from eight in the morning till five in the afternoon, year round. This gives an opportunity to the war widows and economically deprived women with small children to be free to work and earn income, while their children are properly sheltered and cared for during the day. Since the year 2000, The ARS Eastern has been sponsoring two Kindergartens, in Avdur and Haghorti regions. Unfortunately, Avdur Kindergarten closed its doors in 2009 due to the lack of kindergarten aged children in the Village. In 2010, the Artsakh Government took over Haghorti Kindergarten, and as of 2011, the ARS Eastern Region partnered with the Canada Region by allocating the sum of $12,000 annually in support of the “Soseh” kindergarten in Medz Tagher in the Hadrut Region. The Kindergarten has more than 65 children and 11 supervised employees.
In 2015, the ARS Inc. started the rebuilding project of the Stepanakert Soseh Kindergarten, which was in need of extensive repairs. A committee was formed to raise funds for the the new building and all their efforts are underway to make this project a huge success.
The Eastern Region and many of its chapters have also engaged in fundraising efforts and underwrote a project which brought electricity to three villages and helped fund a youth center in Javakhk in cooperation with the Armenian Youth Federation-YOARF.
The ARS has been active in Syria since 1919, when the Armenian Red Cross was founded in Aleppo by a group of Syrian Armenians who sought to provide relief to survivors of the Genocide. Over the years it has established hospitals, orphanages, elder care centers, and schools. Until recently, there have been active chapters in Aleppo, Latakia, Kamishli, Karadouran, Damascus, and Derik.
Due to the current ongoing war in Syria, the Armenian Relief Society of Eastern USA’s efforts for the past two years have been primarily focused on assisting the Armenian communities in Syria, specifically Aleppo, where the situation for Armenian families continues to be unbearable. Beyond the political uncertainties that Armenians in Syria face and concerns about their safety, immediate needs such as food and shelter need to be addressed.
Since the outbreak of the war in Syria, both the orphanage and the elder care center have been attacked and had to be evacuated. The chapters are attempting to remain as active as possible in spite of the conflict and instability in the region, which have only increased the need for their services. Ungh. Ani Attar, Chairwoman of the ARS Eastern USA, stressed the importance and urgency of Syrian relief efforts. “The ARS has maintained a presence in Syria for nearly a century, and it’s vital that we continue to do so in this time of need”.
The Armenian Relief Society Eastern USA joined the FUND FOR SYRIAN ARMENIAN RELIEF/ PAN ARMENIAN RELIEF Committee that was established on August 2012, under the initiative of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, along with sister organizations to concentrate on raising relief funds for our brothers and sisters in Syria.
The Armenian Relief Society of Eastern USA’s Chapters lead fundraising events, banquets and luncheons, public forums and mass mailing campaigns throughout the year in their respective communities for the Syrian Armenian Relief Fund. Through this joint effort more than $300,000 were transferred and are being used to deliver critical humanitarian aid to families in need. This includes distributing food, providing shelter, medical supplies, and health care where needed, and keeping the schools open wherever possible, and the local organizations functioning.
In addition to supporting the Fund for Syrian Armenian Relief/Pan Armenian Relief’s efforts, the ARS of Eastern USA has implemented many programs to alleviate the sufferings of the Armenians in Syria.
Hot Meal Program – “”
The Hot Meal program began in November 2012 on a once a week basis. However, due to extreme need the program is currently run 3 times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The meal program serves more than 100 people each time and is prepared in the services center of ARS Syria. Each meal costs $3 per person.
Please click here if you would like to donate towards the Hot Meal program.
“Sponsor A Syrian Armenian Family” Program.
The “Sponsor A Syrian Armenian Family” program is currently supporting families with young children at a cost of $100 per month ($1,200 a year per family). The ARS Syria has identified hundreds of families who are in need of financial support.
If you would like to consider donating for this program please click here.
“Warm Home” Program
The Warm Home program was recently initiated by the ARS Central Executive Board, in view of the continuously worsening socio-economic circumstances of our people in Syria, particularly Aleppo. Financial assistance of $100 will be given to each family every three months to help with the cost of heating. Approximately 500 to 600 families will benefit from this program. The ARS of Eastern USA donated $10,000 for the Warm Home Program that was made possible through the generous donations of our supporters and the unwavering commitment of the ARS of Eastern Region’s 32 Chapters.
To take part in the relief efforts please consider making a donation today.
The ARS has and will always serve the humanitarian needs of the Armenian people, through an army of volunteers, who not only provide financial support but also donate their time and energy to promote the well being of the Armenian people.
Our efforts would not be possible without the assistance and help of our ARS members, their families, our supporters and benefactors who make up the ARS family. We are deeply grateful for all the financial and moral support.