The ARS “Anahid”
Chapter of Binghamton
The Anahid Chapter was organized around 1925, with 12 members. Today’s members are the daughters, granddaughters and nieces of those original founding members, as well as others who believe in the Society’s humanitarian mission. The Anahid Chapter is small, but has a highly committed membership.
During the late 1940’s and early 1950s, the chapter – along with all other ARS chapters – participated in the ANCHA project to assist Armenian refugees. On three different occasions, the Anahid Chapter brought four Russian-Armenians who had been in German prisoner of war camps to Binghamton and subsequently helped them to settle elsewhere.
The chapter is proud of its active participation in ARS regional and international programs and projects. The chapter has given generously to the ARS’s orphan sponsorship and health and welfare programs in Armenia , Karabagh, and Javakhk.
The Anahid Chapter relies on its members and its small, but committed, community to raise funds and provides social activities to keep the fabric of the community from tearing. Dinners, picnics, bake sales, and other events help keep the community together and the ARS’s presence alive in Binghamton .
A major chapter event occurred in 2000, when the Anahid Chapter hosted an elaborate coffee hour after church services to commemorate the ARS’s 90th anniversary of the ARS. In 2004, the chapter invited all Armenian women in the area to a tea to acquaint them with the ARS’s humanitarian work and recruit new members. These events were very successful. The chapter is also proud to have had two 50-year members, Ungh. Armenouhi Medzigian and Ungh. Araxie Shahinian.
Years ago, Binghamton was home to a vibrant ARF and AYF presence. Today, with the dwindling of the Armenian community, the Anahid Chapter is the remaining presence of that former activity. Nevertheless, the members are motivated to enthusiastically support the Armenian cause.
The ARS “Erebouni”
Chapter of New York
The Erebouni Chapter was founded in 1971 after a careful deliberative process. Talk about starting an ARS chapter in Queens , N.Y. began at the suggestion of ARS Central Executive member Ungh. Zabel Serobian. A consultative meeting was held at the home of Araxy Yeghyaian to discuss the feasibility of starting a new ARS chapter in Queens , with a presentation given by Ungh. Serobian.
Subsequent organizational meetings established the chapter’s name and by the third meeting on April 2, 1971 at the home of Alice Coharian, Ungh. Serobian distributed membership cards and accepted the invitation to serve as the Erebouni Chapter’s godmother.
On June 20, 1971 , the Erebouni Chapter held a tea party at St. Illuminator Cathedral’s social hall. Over 100 guests were present and sister organizations sent representatives. Ungh. Serobian introduced the new chapter to the community and emphasized the importance of its establishment. She called upon those present to join the new chapter so that they could contribute to the Society’s worthy cause. A swearing-in ceremony of the new Erebouni Chapter members followed and, thus, the Erebouni Chapter was officially formed.
Founding chapter members were: Alice Boudakian, Alice Coharian, Sophie Gregorian, Araxie Yeghiayan, Araxie Afarian, Siran Chakmakjian, Victoria Dad aian, Eliz Samsonian, Maggi Venedikian, Aida Manookian, Arev Sarkis sian, Zabel Keheyian, Nevart Broudian, Pepron Moscovian, Zarouhi Semerjian, Gemma Vartanian, Gemma Dokmejian, Nevart Megerditchian, Arousiak Bezirjian, Margo Banian, Nora Grigorian, Janet Dad ian, Mari Khatchadourian, Bayzar Hovagimian, Vartouhi Terzian, Arshalouys Terzian, Manoush Atamian, Sirvart Kaloustian, Anahid Kaloutian, Arousiak Markarian, Goharik Vartanian, Shoushik Berjikian, Hasmik Thoroyan, Garzouhi Berberian, Victoria Bozoyan, Hagop Samsonian. The following members joined between 1972 and 1973; Angel Saghbazarian, Angel Sarafian, Mari Papazian, Berjouhi Zobian, Rose Stepanian, Aida Sarkis sian, Nevart Khatchikian, Hilda Attarian, Azadouhi Sarkis sian, Margaret Sarkis sian and Mayis Nazarian.
Initially, chapter meetings were held at ARS members’ homes; later they were held at the Arax Armen ian Friendship Hall in Woodside and the Iranian- Armen ian Society in Elmhurst . Meetings moved to the Armen ian Center , Woodside, after its purchase.
Over the years, the Erebouni Chapter operated a Social Services office at the Woodside Armenian Center with the ARS Mayr Chapter. The two ARS chapters undertook extensive social work to assist new immigrants and the office was very proactive in serving the community’s needs.
In 1995, on the occasion of the ARS’s 85 th anniversary and the United Nations’ 50 th anniversary, New York ‘s three ARS chapters – Erebouni, Mayr, and Washington Heights – and the UN hosted a banquet to commemorate these two noteworthy anniversaries. The banquet was attended by UN representatives, ARS and Armen ian community members, and other supporters. UN 50 th Anniversary Secretariat Sam Koo addressed the banquet. The pairing of the ARS and UN anniversaries was fitting, because throughout the years the ARS and UN have worked toward many of the same goals.
Today, the Erebouni Chapter has 40 members. It continues to provide its moral and financial support to area day and Saturday schools; local, regional, and international ARS activities and projects; and affiliated organizations and institutions such as the Armen ian Prelacy and its churches, AYF Camp Haiastan, Homenetmen, AYF-YOARF, and Hamazkayin.
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The ARS “Lucia”
Chapter of New York
The Niagara Falls Lucia Chapter is the remaining Armenian organization in a community which saw its heyday in the last century, through the 1970s. The Lucia Chapter is the glue holding together a smaller Armenian community near Canada ‘s Ontario border. The chapter is the proud host of a much-anticipated annual summer picnic which draws the area’s Armenians for socializing and re-connecting. The Lucia Chapter was the proud host of the ARS Eastern USA’s 1997 Regional Convention.
The ARS “Mayr”
Chapter of New York
The ARS Mayr Chapter was formed November-December 1910. It was the Armenian Red Cross of New York with other Red Cross groups. The first chapters founded by Agnouni were called ARF, Red Cross. Due to the lack of archives, Mayr Chapter information starts from the late 1970s. 1970-1979 Activities: * Financial assistance to the victims of the Cyprus disaster. * Fundraising and financial assistance to the victims of Lebanon * Sponsorship of two children a year to Camp Haiastan. *Celebrating the 65th anniversary of the ARS. *Commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Genocide in cooperation with the ARF. *Financial investment and moral support for the purchase of the Armenian Center in Woodside, New York. *Financial contribution to the foundation of St. Illuminators Day School and adoption of 2 students a year. *Honoring event for Zabel Serobyan, ARS Central Executive member. * Continuing comprehensive consultations since 1976 for the revised ARS structure program and the establishment of an upper body. 1980-1989 Joints Activities: * Mayr Chapter, Washington Heights and Erebouni chapters. * Hosting of the first Pan-Armenian Assembly, October 12, 1980, at the Roosevelt Inn. * Celebration of “International Children’s Day” at the Armenian Center. * ARS 70th Anniversary Celebration at the Armenian Center, 1980. * ARS 75th Anniversary Celebration in the Luxury Dante Reception Hall. * In 1985, Hamazkayin was invited from Montreal, showcasing our historical royal costumes. * Establishment of a Social Service Office (1982-1985) at the Armenian Center. * Dinner Dance to benefit the ARS Direct Programs and F.A.R. (Fund for Armenian Relief), March 13, 1987. * As a result of the Earthquake in Armenia, fundraising, clothing collection and delivery of medicine to Armenia. Continued care, gifts, tours, and hospitality for the earthquake victims cared for in New York hospitals. * Dinner for the Children of the Earthquake Survivors March 3, 1989. * Blood drive for the American Red Cross as a token of gratitude. 1990-1999 Activities: Mayr Chapter, in partnership with Washington Heights And Erebouni chapters. * Dinner Dance to benefit St. Illuminators Day School, February 9, 1990. * ARS 80th Anniversary Celebration at the Grand Hyatt Tavern, October 14, 1990. A slide show presented the ARS’s charitable work during the earthquake. ARS members with 25 and 50 years of service were honored. * ARS 85th Anniversary Celebration at the U.N. at the Plaza Park, Hyatt Hotel, October 15, 1995. It included a beautiful artistic agenda with a speech by the Director General of the UN 50th Anniversary Committee. ARS members with 50 years of service were honored. 1991 Mayr Chapter is strengthening: * Mayr Chapter resumes its membership campaign in 1991 with swearing-in ceremonies for new members. To introduce the ARS to the younger generation and engage them, Mayr Chapter partnered with the Armenian Clubs of New York Universities (Columbia, NYU, and Queens College) and organized joint ventures. * French Film “Mayrig” was presented with English subtitles in our region and nearby cities 9-10 times. * After the Independence of Armenia, members from the 3 New York chapters attended the Tricolor Raising Ceremony in front of the UN. * Provided accommodation, transportation, hospitality, and tours for the training of three engineers visiting from the Sausage Factory in the Spitak area. 2000 – Until Today: *Mayr Chapter celebrated the 90th Anniversary of the ARS at the Armenian Center. Members with 25 years of service were awarded. * Donated chairs, sheets, and planks to Zvartnots boarding school in Armenia. * The chapter donated educational toys and a recording device (Tape recorder) to Hrasdan Special Boarding School in Armenia. * Fundraising for the benefit of Iraqi-Armenians. * Joint Fundraising with Erebouni chapter for the benefit of Javakhk. Permanent and Continuous Work of the Mayr Chapter: * Exhibition and sale of paintings, fine arts, and handmade crafts. *Financial contributions to the Woodside Armenian Center from the date of purchase. * Financial allocations from the 1 st day of the foundation of St. Illuminators Day School. One of the classrooms is named after Mayr Chapter. *Participation in the program of Armenian orphans initiated by the Central Board. * Hosting ARS Seminars organized by the Central Executive at the UN. * Sponsored the annual performances of the New York Hamazkayin theater group from 1968 to 1981 to preserve the Armenian culture as part of our national heritage. * Moreover, the program of each event includes recitation, musical and theatrical performances, display of provincial costumes, dance performance in which the younger generation, either our college students or the Hamazkayin theater group, participated. * Organize public and internal educational lectures. Today, Mayr Chapter has 47 members. The chapter continues to support the ARS Regional and Central projects and programs, Armenian Day and Saturday schools in the area, Camp Haiastan, Hamazkayin, AYF and the local community.
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