BERKELEY — On February 1, 2017 the Debi Arach Children’s Center launched the new Vocational Training Center with the commencement of classes in computer programming, 3d printing and robotics. With the goal of helping children from Gyumri’s most economically challenged families, the program aims to provide students with the skills they need to secure employment in Armenia’s growing technology-sector job market, hopefully bringing them and their families out of poverty. The Vocational Training Center is made possible through a generous grant from the Assarian Family Foundation (MI-USA).

The program’s curriculum was developed by the Union of Information Technology Enterprises (UITE) and is part of a nationwide effort to promote early high tech education and encourage young people to embrace careers in technology. Classes in software and hardware, and computer and mobile device repair will also begin in the coming months. An additional accelerated curriculum for young adults especially military veterans is also planned. All classes are offered free of charge.

“I am pleased to support the vocational training program at the Debi Arach Children’s Center because I believe that we have to give people an opportunity to develop marketable skills so they can work and earn a living wage,” said Dr. Gary Assarian, on behalf of the Assarian Family Foundation. “I look forward to working with the Paros Foundation on this important effort.”

“The Debi Arach Children’s Center itself was the historic 100th project of the Paros Foundation’s 100 for 100 Projects for Prosperity, which commemorated the centennial of the Armenian Genocide by implementing 100 special projects throughout Armenia. These projects were sponsored by hundreds of families from the Diaspora,” said Peter Abajian, Executive Director.

Debi Arach, which in Armenian means “moving forward,” helps socially vulnerable children through a holistic approach providing them both humanitarian and educational support. The center provides counseling and group therapy with a psychologist on staff, homework help and college entrance exam tutoring for all subjects. Additionally, the children are served a nutritious meal each day. Furthermore, the Center addresses a very important hygienic need by providing the children with supervised bathing facilities via the on-staff nurse. The goal is to help hundreds of children develop a vision for a successful future and to give them the skills they need to reach these goals.

Formally launched in 2006, The Paros Foundation has earned a reputation as the “go to” organization to oversee small and medium-sized project implementation in Armenia. Beginning with our support for seven exemplary local non-government organizations working with children, people with disabilities and the arts, the foundation works to help build a sustainable and vibrant homeland while improving living conditions for its most vulnerable populations. To facilitate volunteerism, The Paros Foundation launched its SERVICE Armenia program in 2013. This Armenia-based service program for teens and young adults provides participants an opportunity to travel to and experience all that Armenia has to offer while helping make a difference. Donations to The Paros Foundation, a 501(c) 3 organization, are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. The foundation underwrites 100% of administrative costs, thus allowing all donor contributions to be allocated directly to the projects.

To learn more about The Paros Foundation or its projects, or to sponsor a project of the Projects for Prosperity initiative, please visit www.parosfoundation.org or call (310) 400-9061.

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