By Lisa Manookian and Sonia Kailian Placido
PHILADELPHIA — The Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR) celebrated the fifth anniversary of its founding on Saturday, October 16, at the Sheraton University Hotel. The event included dinner, silent and Chinese auctions and dancing.
The evening began with the cocktail hour, as musician and poet Alan Semerdjian performed, giving guests the opportunity to mingle and browse the auction items. A buffet dinner followed.
Much of the artwork on display in the auction was from Armenian artists, some of whom grew up orphans.
For example, on display were T-shirts for adults and children and a table of silk scarves and handmade bags by Ani Kosyan, a student at the Art Department of Yerevan’s Pedagogical Institute who had lived in the Zatik orphanage between the ages of 9 and 18. Kosyan earns her income creating handmade cards and designing batik scarves. She promotes her work at the Teryan Cultural Centre and the Vernissage open-air flea market.
After dessert, SOAR National President George Yacoubian Jr. gave a short presentation to the more than 150 attendees about SOAR’s operations in Armenia and its accomplishments over the past five years. Yacoubian acknowledged his board for their work throughout the year: the chapters for their superb efforts across the country; its Board of Trustees, based in Philadelphia, for overseeing its fiscal operations; its partners in Armenia, who serve as liaisons to the orphanages and oversee all operations in Armenia via a strict protocol and finally to the guests in attendance for their consistent and continued network of support which has, in turn, increased SOAR’s support to Armenia. The organization, which began in 2006 with a national board, now has seven chapters throughout the country and Yerevan, raising and distributing over $100,000 yearly, directly benefiting the 15 orphanages they serve in Armenia.