Debi Arach Children's Center 2020 Operating Budget
The Paros Foundation launched the Debi Arach Children’s Center in Gyumri, Armenia on April 15, 2015 with the help of generous donors. The center, which provides 170 children each week the necessary academic, psychological, social and humanitarian support, has since been a source of positivity in this city. The residents of Gyumri, Armenia’s second largest city have endured very devastating realities since the tragic 1988 Spitak Earthquake. More than 100,000 residents were left homeless, and plagued with unemployment and rampant poverty for years to come. In turn, the fate of children in Gyumri has also been affected. Dealing with the difficulty of finding means to feed and care for their families, many parents are unable to provide their children with the proper guidance, supervision, educational aid and the financial resources for them to excel in school and have successful futures. The Debi Arach Children’s Center, which in Armenian means “moving forward,” helps these socially vulnerable children through a holistic approach providing them with both humanitarian and educational support. The center provides counseling and group therapy with a psychologist on staff, homework help and tutoring for almost every subject the children learn in school including English, Math, Art/Design, and Computer classes. Additionally, they are served a nutritious meal everyday, helping them receive the calories and/or nutrients they would otherwise not have. Furthermore, the Center addresses a very important hygienic need by providing the children in attendance with supervised bathing facilities. 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. This project is impacting the lives of hundreds of socially vulnerable children by helping them gain the guidance and support they need in order to create greater future opportunities, and become successful individuals and good citizens.
Thank you to all our donors, we have met our fundraising goal.
To date, the center has already had several important successes. At least nine children have been taken out of boarding schools, attend our center and now live back at home with their families. Many of the children who were receiving poor grades in school are now achieving top scores. The children have become socially well adjusted and much more healthier than before with the continued consumption of multi-vitamins and a daily well-balanced meal. Staff trainings have begun with an academic counsel of professionals from the United States and Armenia to ensure that the children are receiving the best care, treatment and methods for their development.
The center is working on funding year five and raising additional funds in order to develop and add to the programs and classes offered with the ability to hire more educators, and get more supplies, and equipment. Funds will also be used to supplement daily activities, hold forums for guest speakers and provide educational and career planning opportunities. $80,000 is needed to cover operating costs for the Center. In January of 2017, Debi Arach successfully launched its first program within its Vocational Training Center, teaching children computer programming, 3d printing and robotics curriculum. The goal of this newest component is to provide these children with marketable job skills in order to help them work themselves out of poverty. In 2019, with the long term commitment by Dr. & Mrs. Gary and Linda Assarian (MI) the vocational training program was renamed the Assarian Vocational Training Program.
Thousands of children in Gyumri are living in extreme poverty, with no hope for a decent future. These socially vulnerable children are in need of a safe and enriching environment where they can receive additional guidance through social, psychological and academic support giving them a chance to break their cycle of poverty. The children’s center will continue to provide these children with the opportunity to attend afterschool and summer school programs providing them with the additional skills necessary for a successful future. Additionally, these children suffer from malnutrition and related illnesses due to a lack of well-balanced meals. The center will continue to provide each child with a nutritious meal everyday, helping them receive the calories and/or nutrients they need. Furthermore, many families were forced to take refuge in overseas shipping containers (domiks), or in condemned buildings after the devastating 1988 Spitak Earthquake or due to their poor socioeconomic status. An entire generation of children has grown up in deplorable conditions, often times with no running water and little or no heat to take showers. The Center will address this very important hygienic need by continuing to provide the children in attendance with supervised new bathing facilities.
Short Term Impact
The short-term 170 children will receive immediate support and guidance to help them succeed for the second year. The Center will continue offer nutritious meals, bathing facilities, counseling opportunities, homework aid and tutoring and core classes including English, Computer, Art/Design, and Math.
Long Term Impact
In the long term, with the success of the Center’s current offerings, additional classes and programs will be added and attendance will rise. The number of children growing up in poverty in the future will decrease as the number of children successfully graduating from our program and continuing onto college or successful vocations increases. The number of “social orphans” and children temporarily residing in boarding schools in Gyumri will be reduced as parents become increasingly able to keep their children at home given the humanitarian support they receive at the center. Through ongoing employment opportunities created, several families will continue to receive a fair wage, hence improving Gyumri’s economy
In the long term, with the success of the Center’s current offerings, additional classes and programs will be added and attendance will rise. The number of children growing up in poverty in the future will decrease as the number of children successfully graduating from our program and continuing onto college or successful vocations increases. The number of “social orphans” and children temporarily residing in boarding schools in Gyumri will be reduced as parents become increasingly able to keep their children at home given the humanitarian support they receive at the center. Through ongoing employment opportunities created, several families will continue to receive a fair wage, hence improving Gyumri’s economy.
Mr. Albert AvedissianPorter Ranch, CA
Mr. Roupen DechkounianLexington, MA
Ms. Kathryn J. AbajianCA, United States
Mr. & Mrs. Vahan & Anne SarkisianNew London, NH
Mr. & Mrs. Vahe & Peggy IshkhanianNorthridge, CA
Mr. & Mrs. Varujan & Biana GoncuianCalabasas, CA
Ms. Anita MartikyanGlendale, CA
Ms. Sonya MoroukianUnited States
Mr. Aram DemirdjianIL, United States
Ms. Caroline BullockReseda, CA
Mr. & Mrs. Stuart & Andrea HolbrookWellesley Hills, MA
In Memory Of Diane Markarian
Dr. Kevork BardakjianAnn Arbor, MI
The Debi Arach Children's Center and as well as the Assarian Vocational Training Program temporarily closed last month due to Covid-19 following the order of the Prime Minister and until further notice. We are dedicated to providing consistent meals, psychological support, and structured in-home learning to the youth. Although the facility is currently closed, we are working hard to ensure the physical and emotional well-being of all students and staff. We have also committed to continue paying our staff during the closure. We are working closely with our on-staff psychologist, who is checking in with the kids each week to help them navigate their lives during this challenging time. We want to make sure the students still receive consistent, adequate nutrition so we are providing food packages for all families of Debi Arach with guidelines on safety protocols for receiving and cleaning the items.
The Debi Arach Children’s Center successfully and safely re-opened its doors to eager students. Several changes and new policies have been set in place for the safety of the kids and staff. Along with the emphasis on safety, the staff has been working hard to prepare students for the start of school scheduled for September 15, 2020. The goal is to expand the center’s programming to continue to be able to serve all of our center's children in a safe and responsible manner including changing the manner in which meals are served and constructing temporary outdoor classrooms by taking advantage of the warm weather. Furthermore, Debi Arach will be holding both morning and afternoon sessions to accommodate children who will now be attending schools in split sessions to promote social distancing in schools.