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The Paros Foundation underwrites all administrative and overhead costs allowing 100% of all donor contributions to go directly towards projects and supported organizations.

Donations to The Paros Foundation Projects for Prosperity are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. To sponsor a project through The Paros Foundation, a 501 (c) 3 organization (Tax ID 20-5094630), or learn more about specific projects in need of funding, please contact us using the information below.

Contacts

2217 5th Street

Berkeley CA 94710

info@parosfoundation.org

(310) 400 9061

Category: Press Releases

Featured PostsPress Releases

Community Housing in Goris

The Paros Foundation is pleased to launch a new effort to provide permanent housing for older Artsakh refugees with the purchase of a home for the Community Living for Older Refugees project in the community of Goris.

This home will serve as a group home for older refugees to offer them a clean, safe, and comfortable environment to live dignified lives. Ten residents will be selected from older refugees currently living in the area. The project will be administered in coordination with the local Goris municipality and renovations on the home will be starting in the coming weeks.

“Following the mass exodus from Artsakh in September 2023, many older refugees have no one to look after them, very little income, and are left without affordable housing options. Providing group housing for these older refugees can alleviate their challenges, especially after leaving so much of their lives behind in Artsakh.”

-Peter Abajian, Executive Director

*Seniors pictured are not the same seniors in the housing program.

The community living home is situated in the community of Verishen and is adjacent to the Syunik city of Goris. The home has a large footprint that will provide both communal and private living spaces in addition to a large plot of land with fruit trees and garden spaces. The home even has a chicken coop should the future residents care to keep chickens! It is envisioned that the home will be equipped with both solar hot water systems and solar panels to keep utility costs low.

This is the newest housing project in a series of successful permanent housing that The Paros Foundation has purchased and renovated for Artsakh refugees including three in Geghamasar, two in Meds Masrik, two in Vardenis, one in Nerkin Karmir Aghbyur, four in Kajaran, and 10 new homes that are being built in the neighborhood of Qeti in the village of Kajaran. With this addition, The Paros Foundation continues to assist refugees of every age, building not just homes, but communities where they can restart their lives.
Press Releases

Assarian Vocational Training Program Resurging at The Lenten Textile Factory

The Assarian Vocational Training Program has launched a new round of
training at the Lentex Textile Factory in the village of Akhuryan just outside of Gyumri. Part of The Paros Foundation and the Debi Arach Children’s Center in Gyumri, The Assarian Vocational Training Program has launched a new segment of training classes on sewing for 15 participants including two women who were forcefully displaced from Artsakh last year. At the end of their training, it is expected that all of the participants will be hired as full-time employees at the Lentex Factory.

This new round of training follows the successful 2021 training sponsored through the Assarian Vocational Training Program. Participants then were able to participate in sewing classes at the Lentex Textile Factory headquarters in Gyumri. This training proved to be wildly successful as all 12 participants were hired full-time following the completion of the classes. Today, they are still gainfully employed at Lentex.

“The Assarian Vocational Training Program continues its mission of providing real-world vocational training for people who want to work. Within two short months, these participants are training and will have secured meaningful employment and a way of supporting their families.”
-Peter Abajian, Executive Director

“We are committed to creating a diverse number of opportunities for people. So far, it is uncanny how successful program participants have been. Through vocational training, people are able to have employment opportunities because they now have a marketable trade. The vocational training covers a vast span of local industries giving people an opportunity to live free and prosper where they currently reside. Part of our mission is to instill opportunities for local Armenians to be able to earn a living
in Armenia and stay in Armenia.”
-Dr. Gary Assarian

Press Releases

Successful Evening in Los Angeles for the 2nd Annual Med-Aid Fundraiser Benefiting the Nor Hachen Polyclinic!

On April 28, 2024, the Med-Aid Armenia 2nd Annual Fundraiser was held raising funds for new medical equipment purchases for the Nor Hachen Polyclinic.

More than 75 attendees gathered at the restaurateur Alex Sarkissian’s chic restaurant Momed in support of the Nor Hachen Polyclinic. Currently, the polyclinic lacks basic equipment that prevents it from successfully serving its patients. As a result of the event’s success, several new pieces of equipment will be purchased and delivered in the coming weeks. The new equipment will help bring the polyclinic up to Western standards.

“Dr. Krikor Deramerian worked hands-on with the polyclinic’s staff to better understand their situation and where we can engage to make a real difference. At the same time, the Armenian government has agreed to renovate the physical space later this year. The work we are doing collectively to equip the Nor Hachen Polyclinic and provide them with additional necessary training will have a long-term positive impact.”
-Peter Abajian, Executive Director

The reach of the Nor Hachen Polyclinic is expansive, serving almost 13,000 people in the Nor Hachen community. The polyclinic provides primary care, ambulance services, and some specialty services. During last year’s Med-Aid Armenia Annual Fundraiser, enough funds were raised to purchase a new x-ray machine for the Nor Hachen Polyclinic. The medical equipment purchased with funds raised from this year’s event will greatly improve the services offered at the polyclinic and leave a lasting impact. Thank you to everyone who attended the event and made it a success.

“By bringing new equipment and implementing staff training we are helping improve care delivery for patients. My goal is to create a sustainable and efficient process that is going to improve the health care of Nor Hachen. As we move forward, I hope that the Nor Hachen Polyclinic will serve as an example for other polyclinics in Armenia.”
-Dr. Krikor Deramerian

The Paros Foundation created the Med-Aid Armenia program to administer medical missions as well as to improve the conditions of clinics around the country, and this summer the 5th medical mission will occur providing medical services to those in need. Through The Paros Foundation, Med-Aid Armenia has made improvements to seven clinics in Armenia, including ongoing efforts made at the Nor Hachen Polyclinic.

Press Releases

Paros Breaks Ground on Housing, After-School & Vocational Center

Government officials, staff, friends, and supporters all gathered for the official groundbreaking on October 30, 2023, of The Paros Foundation’s new housing, vocational training and children’s center building in Gyumri. Once completed, this new facility will have a significant impact on Gyumri’s housing problem with at least 22 new apartments for domik families. In addition, a second location of the Debi Arach Children’s Center will be located on the building’s first floor, which will provide services for more than 150 children daily. Finally, the Assarian Vocational Training Program and social enterprise consisting of training in the garment-making industry will train and employ an estimated 50 people a year. In all, it is expected that the economic impact of this new facility will top $1 million its first year of operation.

“Today is an exciting day that we have been working towards for the past year. I would like to thank the Municipality of Gyumri for its trust in us by suggesting this project, and to everyone that worked with such dedication in helping to transfer the property to us. Now our work will begin to develop this exciting project.”
Peter Abajian, Executive Director

Following seismic upgrades and the construction of one more story, the facility will house three floors of residential apartments. In addition, space on the first floor will be allocated for a sewing and vocational training center that will be The Paros Foundation’s second social enterprise in Gyumri. The project budget to complete construction on the entire building is estimated to cost $800,000. $300,000 has already been raised towards this important effort. Construction is estimated to take between 15 and 18 months depending on weather conditions.

Learn more and help us raise the remaining $500,000 to complete this project here.

Press Releases

Hear From the Participants, SERVICE Armenia 2023 Was a Huge Success!

From June 26th to July 15th 2023, a group of young Armenian diasporans participated in our SERVICE Armenia program, engaging in Armenia through volunteer work and service projects. Nineteen participants and two coordinators traveled to Armenia from various regions throughout the United States, including Northern and Southern California, Texas, and Tennessee. During their time in Armenia, their volunteer efforts included taking orphans and disabled youth from Yerevan Children’s Home and Kharpert Home for Special Children to amusement park excursions, working on renovations to the Talin School of Music, teaching kids at the Debi Arach Children’s Center how to play Lacrosse, packing and distributing groceries through our Groceries for Gyumri initiative, and helping clean out one of The Paros Foundation’s new projects- Paros Housing, After-School and Vocational Center.

Please read our two first-hand accounts, one from a participant and one from a coordinator. Participant Nicole Timour is a high school senior from Southern California and 2023 was her first year as a SERVICE Armenia participant. Coordinator Renée Deramerian is a sophomore in college from Southern California and 2023 is her fifth year involved with SERVICE Armenia.

 

 

“Although I had previously visited, this trip allowed me to return with the intention of giving back.”

-Nicole Timour

“Living in the diaspora community, there is only so much you can do to give back to your homeland from 7,193 miles away. A month ago, SERVICE Armenia gave me the opportunity to return to Armenia on their three week long volunteering trip. Although I had previously visited, this trip allowed me to return with the intention of giving back. Our main purpose was to contribute and improve Armenia; however, we still toured and saw all the historical sights we had been educated on throughout the trip. The first week we arrived our program coordinator Marina took us to the Erebuni Fortress, Ambert Fortress, and multiple museums that educated us on our ancestors and culture. Looking back, these early trips allowed us volunteers to connect and form close bonds no matter our age differences. The first act of service we completed was handing out bags of groceries in Gyumri. When walking through their city, I noticed scattered shipping containers converted into homes. The families we met still welcomed us into their homes and were extremely thankful for the necessities donated to them. Although a small act of service, every member of the trip felt like their eyes were opened to the true extent of the Gyumri housing crisis. What was the most touching was how selfless each family truly was, handing us volunteers chocolates and fruits as a token of their appreciation.

As the trip continued our agenda began to fill up. We renovated classrooms at Talin Music School, taught students from the Debi Arach Children’s Center how to play lacrosse, spent time with the Kharpert Home for Special Children, and participated in many more acts of service. Finally, traveling with SERVICE Armenia allowed me to not only connect with Armenians from all over the world, but also create a second family I will never forget. Being with individuals instilled with the same values and purpose as I hold allowed us all to truly connect and make the experience a lot more meaningful. When first embarking on this trip, I thought I would only be giving back a small percentage to my community; I hope traveling to Armenia with the purpose of service showed the citizens of Armenia that the Armenian diaspora holds an unbreakable bond with them.”
-Nicole Timour

 

 

“There was not a day on the trip that didn’t go by with laughter and positive energy. And the days we worked the hardest, we had the most fun.”

-Renée Deramerian

“2018 was the first year I visited Armenia with my family. Of course, my brother and I would hear stories of it growing up but we never actually visited and got to experience it ourselves. My parents planned a three week-long trip, two and a half of those weeks consisting of my mom and dad dragging a then fifteen and twelve year old all over Armenia. Initially, the thought of a trip that long sounded like overkill, but as soon as we began touring the country, the stories we were told did not come close to describing the beauty of it all. Intricate monasteries built thousands of years ago, beautiful nature, and people equally as beautiful in spirit and warmth. Towards the end of the trip, my parents had planned for us to broaden our horizons by joining the Paros Foundation for a couple of days. In those two final days we helped renovate Taline Music School and packed groceries for locals in Gyumri living in less-than-ideal housing situations as part of the Groceries for Gyumri project. If you ask my brother and I today what we remembered from that first trip in 2018, we could only tell you stories of the last two days we were there in vivid detail and with smiles on our faces and fondness in our hearts.

Since then, we have gone back to Armenia every year and every year we have gone back with The Paros Foundation in some capacity. In 2019 and 2022, we went as “honorary participants”, meaning we did everything but stay with the program in the SERVICE house.

2020 of course was a hard year for everyone, both in terms of COVID and the political tensions that led to war in Armenia. We did not go back that year. The following year, I went back as an official participant and truly felt as though I was a part of the group as I had wanted to be for so long. The experience was unique in itself. To add to it, my father had other aspirations for his trip. He took charge of a Paros’ medical mission called MedAid Armenia in which he provides checkups to kids in different parts of the country and we all tagged along, adding yet again ANOTHER layer of depth to the experience and making it all the more fulfilling.

In 2023, my brother joined as a participant and I joined as a coordinator, meaning I was in charge of watching the participants when we were not participating in a tour or a service day. This year, it was different. My brother and I had urged our friends to join the program and join they did. There were twenty-one kids (including the two coordinators) which was more than I had ever seen participate in the program. I was intimidated by the number initially, but as time went on… I was pleasantly surprised. There was not a day on the trip that didn’t go by with laughter and positive energy. And the days we worked the hardest, we had the most fun. We celebrated birthdays, went to soccer games, went to amusement parks, laughed, cried… words cannot describe how much fun we had together. I plan on going back again next year with the program.

After all of that, I should be able to say that I am an expert of the experience, but that would not even begin to be true because each year is so wildly different from the years before. The city grows, the people change, and you learn to see everything in a new way that is gratifying in the deepest regard of the word. I cannot recommend it enough. See you next year!”

-Renée Deramerian

Press Releases

A New School Gym For Students In Nor Ughi

On July 13, students, parents, and staff at the Nor Ughi Village School
welcomed local and regional officials and donors and staff from The Paros Foundation to the gala ribbon cutting of the school’s new gym. John and June Mangassarian (RI-USA) spearheaded the fundraising for this project, matching all contributions to this important project implemented by The Paros Foundation.

 

“When I first visited this school last year while I was in the village working on a Fuller Center home build, I saw the needs here and knew I wanted to help. Today is a great day for June and I to see what our family, friends, and supporters accomplished working together with The Paros Foundation.”

-John Mangassarian,

During the opening celebration, students from the school performed several dances and songs. Head of the consolidated community of Vedi, Mr. Garik Sargsyan offered his remarks of appreciation along with Mr. Martin Manukyan Head of the Education, Sports and Culture Department of the Ararat Regional Governor’s Office. School Principal Mrs. Kristine Tunyan welcomed everyone and expressed her gratitude to both John and June Mangassarian for their generous support and interest in continuing work at the school, and to The Paros Foundation and its work crew for the high-quality renovation of the gym.

 

“Thanks to the vision and leadership of John Mangassarian and his group of supporters, the students here will be able to enjoy this gym and physical education for years to come. John has expressed interest in continuing work at the school and I look forward to our ongoing partnership for the betterment of conditions within this school.”

-Peter Abajian, Executive Director

The renovation of the gymnasium included the installation of a new ceiling, new electrical system and lighting, new heating piping, new doors, and the installation of new flooring. New safety netting was installed throughout to protect the ceiling and windows from breakage.

In addition to the gym itself, the renovation included the gym teacher’s office, boys and girls locker rooms and the portion of the hallway leading to the gym.

Press Releases

Finally, A Gym For Abovyan School #8

Since Soviet time, children at Abovyan’s School #8 did not have a gym for their physical education. The gym at the school had a leaky roof, broken windows and no heat. This made the facility too dangerous for students to use. Physical Education classes were held in regular classrooms and limited to individual sports or simple exercise. On February 20th, the newly renovated gym was officially opened thanks to the efforts of The Paros Foundation and supporter Seda Melkoni.

“Thanks to the leadership of Seda Melkoni, and her circle of supporters, this large gym project which will serve almost 500 students is now a reality. Together with her supporters, we have now completed the renovation of three of the six building’s roofs and now this large L-shaped gymnasium.”
-Peter Abajian, Executive Director

While the work on the medical center was completed in September of 2022—and the staff began work at the new center–the official ribbon cutting was delayed until mid-February because of the September attack on Armenia by Azerbaijan.
Before
After

During the opening celebration, Lusine Baghdasaryan, Principal of the school spoke about the challenges of not having a gym for students to use. She praised the work of The Paros Foundation work crew and staff, contributions from the Kotayk Regional Governor’s office and Abovyan Municipality. Students performed an exhibition of dance, song, gymnastics and martial arts for the guests.

The renovation of the gymnasium included the installation of a new ceiling, new smaller (energy efficient) windows, new electrical system and lighting, new heating system, new doors and the restoration of the flooring. New safety netting was installed throughout to protect the ceiling and windows from breakage. In addition to the renovation work overseen by The Paros Foundation, the Kotayk Regional Government provided funding for the new windows and the Municipality of Abovyan provided new sporting equipment for the school’s use. This work was all made possible through the support of the Berejikian and Melkonian Families with a special thanks to ELSO Foundation and donations in memory of Sogomon Dordulian.
Press Releases

Akunk Village Now Has A Medical Center For Its Residents

The Gegharkunik Region village of Akunk has a new medical center thanks to the work of The Paros Foundation through the benefactor Mr. Alex Cherchian (SC-USA). Prior to the completion of this new center, the medical staff worked to address the needs of more than 4,500 people in this community from a room in the nearby village school.

“The fact that Akunk did not have a dedicated medical center space with sanitary conditions to adequately service its population was a huge program. I would like to extend our appreciation to Mr. Alex Cherchian and his family for sponsoring this important project.”
-Peter Abajian, Executive Director

Paros Staff, Akunk Medical Center Staff, Tavush Regional Deputy Governor, Akunk Village Representative and Head of the Vardenis Consolidated Community celebrate the opening of the Akunk Medical Center.

While the work on the medical center was completed in September of 2022—and the staff began work at the new center–the official ribbon cutting was delayed until mid-February because of the September attack on Armenia by Azerbaijan.

In 2020, the Regional Government of Gegharkunik partially renovated the facility, but never completed the work. The Paros Foundation installed the center’s heating system, completed the plaster and painting, installed flooring throughout and completed the plumbing systems and bathroom. Now the center is fully equipped with a laboratory, restroom, patient exam rooms and administrative offices.

Press Releases

Nerkin Tsaghkavan Gets A Kindergarten After 32 Years

Families in the Tavush border village of Nerkin Tsaghkavan did not have a functioning kindergarten since Armenia’s Independence in 1991. Thanks to the efforts of The Paros Foundation and the sponsorship of many generous donors including the Dadourian Foundation (NY-USA) and contributions in memory of Sona Apelian (CA-USA) this community and its children will now enjoy the benefits of early education. Joining Paros staff for the ribbon cutting were Tavush Regional Governor Mr. Hayk Ghalumyan, Head of the Ijevan Consolidated Community Mr. Artur Chagharyan, other regional and municipal officials, kindergarten staff, parents and children, along with staff from Focus on Children Now, who provided furniture for the kindergarten.

“Today is an amazing day for the more than 500 residents of Nerkin Tsaghkavan. Not only will children and their families benefit from the existence of a functioning kindergarten in the village, but new employment opportunities now exist for people in this community.”
-Peter Abajian, Executive Director

Head of the Ijevan Consolidated Community Mr. Artur Chagharyan and Paros Executive Director Peter Abajian cut the ribbon on the new kindergarten in the village of Nerkin Tsaghkavan.
The community of Nerkin Tsaghkavan provided an abandoned building that would be suitable to house a kindergarten for up to 30 children. The Paros Foundation’s team both expanded and reconfigured the space to facilitate its operation as a kindergarten. Aside from expanding the facility, work on the building included installing a new roof, new windows, plumbing, electrical, plaster, paint and flooring. To help make the heating system particularly efficient, an under floor hot water heating system was utilized.
Press Releases

Verishen Villagers Welcome Newly Expanded & Renovated Kindergarten

The Syunik border village of Verishen has a newly expanded and completely renovated kindergarten thanks to the work of The Paros Foundation through the support of The Cherchian Family Foundation (Wisconsin, USA). Celebrating the gala reopening of the kindergarten on December 25 were the Syunik Regional Governor, Mr. Robert Ghukasyan, the Mayor of Goris Mr. Arush Arushanyan, other regional and municipal officials, kindergarten staff, parents and children. The Paros Foundation staff were also on-hand for the ribbon cutting and festivities, along with staff from Focus on Children Now, who provided new furniture for the expanded kindergarten.

“I am very proud of the fact that we were able to meet the needs of the young families in this growing community by both expanding the kindergarten building, which will allow them to launch two new groups and renovate the balance of the structure to ensure these children will begin their education in a clean, safe and comfortable environment. I would like to extend our appreciation to Mr. Ara Cherchian and his family for sponsoring this important project.”
-Peter Abajian, Executive Director
During the September 2022 attacks on Armenia by Azerbaijan, the village of Verishen, which is adjacent to Goris, had four homes in the village of 2,200 people hit by mortar attacks, including one home almost adjacent to the kindergarten. Even though Verishen shares a border with Azerbaijan, this community is steadfast in its commitment to living in this village and has outgrown its kindergarten with 90 children. Now, following its expansion and renovation, more than 150 children from Verishen and other neighboring communities will be able to attend.
The gala ribbon cutting was celebrated throughout the Verishen community.
Work began in the fall of 2021 with the expansion of the kindergarten by almost an additional 1,700 square feet. This allowed the kindergarten to launch two additional classrooms for an additional 60 children. The existing structure was then completely renovated including classrooms, bathrooms, hallways, stairwell, kitchen, and offices. The Municipality of Goris also participated in this project addressing the building’s façade, which is now painted in colorful, happy colors for the children.