SOAR to Celebrate Anniversary On October 22

0
0

PHILADELPHIA — The Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR) will celebrate its sixth anniversary on Saturday, October 22, starting at 6 p.m., at The Woman’s Club of Bala Cynwyd. The event will include an open bar, mezza, buffet dinner, silent auction and entertainment provided by vocalist Marina V and pianist Kariné Poghosyan.

SOAR is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, registered in the US and Armenia, whose mission is to distribute food, clothing, medicine, educational supplies and other essential resources to orphanages throughout Armenia, Nagorno-Karabagh and Javakhk. The organization is composed of a National Board of Directors, chapter boards in 14 cities throughout the US and Armenia, a Board of Trustees headquartered in Philadelphia and partners in Armenia who all volunteer their time.

Founded by George and Erica Yacoubian in May 2006, shortly after they adopted their older daughter, Liliana, from Armenia, SOAR is the only non-profit organization that focuses exclusively on providing humanitarian relief to orphaned children living in Armenia, Nagorno- Karabagh and Javakhk.

SOAR also supports an annual summer camp in Tsaghkadzor, which accommodates 800-1,000 orphaned and otherwise disadvantaged children between the ages of 8 and 15, aiming to lessen the immediate and long-term impact of poverty in children’s lives through a wide range of athletic, cultural, spiritual and social activities.

In its short existence, SOAR has experienced significant growth from year to year in not only its distributions to the orphanages, but also its geographic presence. As SOAR views Armenia’s children as the most vulnerable in Armenian society, it is committed to expanding its efforts in the years to come. This past year, SOAR launched six new chapters, bringing the total number of chapters to 14: Chicago, Delaware, Detroit, Florida, Fresno, Idaho, Los Angeles, New England, New York/New Jersey, North Carolina, Northern California, Seattle, Washington, DC and Yerevan.

In 2010, SOAR’s assistance to the orphanages totaled approximately $118,000, and included the renovation of a medical suite at the Kharberd Orphanage; physical therapy and gym equipment for the Children’s Home of Gumri; kitchen equipment for the Gavar orphanage; a new washer and dryer and the renovation of the ventilation system for Vanadzor; new beds for Vardashen; new chairs for Nubarashen; coats and shoes, clothes, school supplies and hundreds of toys for all of the children who look forward to early Christmas presents. In 2011, their distributions have already exceeded $300,000.

Get the Mirror in your inbox:

In 2012, they hope to increase their foundational and grant support, install three new chapters and expand their Child Sponsorship Program. Each sponsor is matched with a child, with the entire donation designated for the child, not the orphanage. SOAR assumes the cost of wiring the expenses so no funds go towards operational use. The sponsor receives a photo, profile and health updates from the child. The minimum sponsorship is $50/month, which goes towards tuition (or a savings account for future tuition), educational supplies, musical tutoring, medical care and other items or services necessary for a child’s personal growth.

The organization has a loyal donor base throughout the United States and most purchases are made in Armenia to help stimulate the local economy. A strict quality control protocol is in place, and the organization also has a zero-tolerance policy for fraud, theft and/or deception.

There are several ways to help SOAR. In addition to the Child Sponsorship Program, there is the Balik-Jan project, which provides knitted clothes to the children. Donations of goods are always needed, particularly baby supplies, bath towels, bedding, new clothing, shoes, diapers, musical items and personal hygiene products. Financial donations can be made online on SOAR’s website (http://www.soar-us.org). Bequests, endowments, in lieu of gifts and funds, are always available.

The cost of attending the program is $35 for adults and $15 for children.

For more information on SOAR, visit www.soar-us.org or contact National SOAR president, George S. Yacoubian Jr., at gyacoubian(at)soar-us.org.

Get the Mirror-Spectator Weekly in your inbox: