By Joyce Abdulian & Phyllis Hamo
On Saturday, October 8 at the Jonathan Club of Los Angeles, more than 300 guests gathered to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Child and Orphan Care Committee of the Armenian Missionary Association of America.
Co-Chairs Gary Phillips and Jack Muncherian welcomed the audience and introduced Master of Ceremonies Paul Kalemkiarian, Jr. who led the evening in celebration. Generous sponsors contributed $3.4M.
Dr. Lisa Karamardian’s heartfelt devotional and prayer were followed by a summary of AMAA outreach programs by President Dr. Nazareth Darakjian who outlined this kick-off event of the AMAA Centennial Celebration and its $20M Campaign. He mentioned that, through the efforts of the AMAA’s Child & Orphan Care Committee, the physical, mental, and spiritual needs of the orphans were being met and that schools and educational programs were a top priority.
Musical entertainment was provided by the Greg Hosharian Quartet which performed original and electrifying renditions of Armenian classic and folk music. A video, produced by Tina Stein Segel, highlighted and recognized the founding members of the AMAA Orphan and Child Care Committee, established in 1991. The founders honored were Joyce Abdulian, Elizabeth Agbabian, Hermine Janoyan, Grace Kurkjian, Mary Najarian, Joyce Stein, and Savey Tufenkian of Los Angeles, Juliette Abdulian of Chicago, Rosette Tootikian of Detroit, Michele Simourian of Boston and Mary Jane (MJ) Hekemian of New Jersey.
AMAA Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian reported significant donations to the AMAA of three million dollars toward the Centennial Kick Off Campaign–—one million dollars each by Drs. Nazareth and Ani Darakjian, The Stephen Philibosian and Conte Foundations, and a donor establishing “The Papken and Helen Mugrditchian Endowment Fund.”
Mr. Khanjian noted that the future of the Homeland is in the hands of the orphans we have supported. He expressed his appreciation to the founding ladies: “…whose determined action 25 years ago made history, embarking on a major change in the direction of the AMAA and our Homeland, Armenia.” He added, “It was the reputable, credible, and righteous foundation on which, through the 25 years of Armenia’s independence, the AMAA has built an empire of benevolence all over the country.”
National Co-Chair of the Child and Orphan Care Committee, Joyce Stein, shared her personal testimony and family history with the AMAA, stating that the first AMAA Endowment was established by her father, Stephen Philibosian, in 1950. She expressed her appreciation for the multi-talented young women on the committee, and commended their extraordinary efforts for the highly successful annual Child and Orphan Care Children’s Fashion Show/Silent Auction fund-raiser. More than five million dollars has been raised over the past 25 years. Members of the event committee, Lori Muncherian and Arsine Phillips, honored the Child and Orphan Care volunteers with framed, original paintings created by children of Armenia.
The program concluded with the benediction song, “God Bless America,” and the evening emerged a rousing success. It was a solid kick-off for the AMAA Centennial campaign.