MER HOOYS GIVES HOPE TO ARMENIA’S YOUTH FOR A PRODUCTIVE FUTURE
THE NEED EXISTS
- Imagine life in an orphanage in Armenia
- You have no family – or your parents are too poor to keep you
- You turn 18 years of age
- You must leave the orphanage
- You have no job skills
- You have little education
- You have no place to go
WHAT RISKS DO YOUNG WOMEN FROM A DISADVANTAGED LIFESTYLE IN ARMENIA FACE
- Human Trafficking
- Teen pregnancy
- Abusive marriage
HOW DOES MER HOOYS HELP?
- A clean, safe home
- Family environment
- Job skills training
- College preparation and education
- Life skills training
- Psychological support & counseling
- Hope –confidence– love
HOW CAN YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE? BE A SPONSOR
BE A SPONSOR
- Pledge your support annually to commemorate a special day in your
life–birthday, anniversary, or other important milestone
- Contribute to Mer Hooys in Lieu of Flowers or Gifts
- Sponsor a room at our facility
- Join Club 100
- Host a Club 100 event for your friends
- Sponsor a fund-raiser, spread the word, visit Armenia and spend time
PLEASE SUPPORT MER HOOYS
with our residents
ABOUT HOUSE OF HOPE - MER HOOYS, INC
House of Hope- Mer Hooys, Inc, was established in 2008. The organization is a
California non-profit tax-exempt corporation. Mer Hooys operates in partnership
with the Mother Church in Etchmiadzin, with the blessings of Holiness Karekin II,
Catholicos of All Armenians, and the Western and Eastern Dioceses of the Armenian
Church of North America.
Mer Hooys is dedicated to reaching out to teenage young women from disadvantaged
lifestyles who do not have the means to otherwise acquire meaningful job skills
development and training, an advanced education, life and social skills development,
psychological and spiritual counseling and mentorship. The program operates in a
recently renovated two story building in Yerevan recently named the “Nakashian
Children’s Support Center” in honor of its benefactors, the late John, Arpine and Jack
Nakashian. Mer Hooys provides a nurturing family environment that instills
encouragement and hope for these young adults’ future.
Our young women receive advice and encouragement from adult mentors. They are
offered the necessary assistance and tools to navigate the challenges of education in
all areas including language development, self-development and independent living.
Our residents enjoy a supportive program that teaches them the skills needed to
lead productive adult lives, and to make positive decisions for themselves, including learning that domestic violence is unacceptable. Mer Hooys also helps them develop
long term goals for their life. They have the opportunity to learn trades under the mentorship of masters in their chosen fields. They also have daily access to the Nor
Arapkir Youth Center, operated by the Mother Church, which is located directly next
door to Mer Hooys. There they will receive training in the arts and culture,
including music, dance, carpet weaving, painting and drawing, and wood carving.
Armenia’s future lies in its nurturing of young people. Our mission is to help these youth to recognize and develop their talent and skills and to utilize those assets as a resource on their journey of maturity. By doing so, our mission is to empower the youth of Armenia to be part of the path to securing a better future for Armenia and the rest of the world.
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MER HOOYS BOARD MEMBERS
Adrienne L. Krikorian – President (Woodland Hills, California)
Adrienne L. Krikorian, Esq., is a California Administrative Law Judge in the area of Special Education. A licensed attorney, Ms. Krikorian is also an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. She has devoted her extensive volunteer work over the past forty years to a variety of non-profit organizations focusing on the needs of youth and others in need. She has been an active leader in the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church, and has served on the Board of Directors of Haven Hills, Inc. (a shelter for victims of domestic violence). She is former President of Our Home-Mer Doon, Inc., which serves the needs of young women in Armenia from disadvantaged backgrounds. Ms. Krikorian has served her local parish, St. Peter Armenian Church in Van Nuys in leadership roles since the 1970’s; as a member of the Western Diocese Diocesan Council; and on various boards and committees on the Diocesan level. Ms. Krikorian, who is a founder of House of Hope – Mer Hooys, Inc., is a 2010 recipient of the Western Diocese Archbishop’s Award, recognizing service to the Armenian Church and community.
Garo Garibian, M.D. – Vice-President (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Dr. Garo Garibian, M.D., received his undergraduate degree at Princeton University and his medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania. He has a busy Cardiology practice in Philadelphia and is the chief of Cardiology at Jeanes Hospital. Dr. Garibian, ordained as a deacon in 1989, has devoted his life to service in the Armenian Church on the Parish and Diocesan level. After the devastating 1988 earthquake, Dr. Garibian visited Armenia numerous times bringing medicines and supplies, acting as an ambassador for the motherland. Dr. Garibian served on the Board of and is a benefactor of Our Home-Mer Hooys, Inc.; he is also a benefactor of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, and numerous other charitable organizations in the United States. Dr. Garibian is a founder of Mer Hooys.
Deacon Barlow Der Mugrdechian – Vice-President (Fresno, California)
Barlow Der Mugrdechian received his M.A. and C. Philosophy degrees from UCLA, where he majored in Armenian Language and Literature through the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Literatures. For more than twenty years he has taught Armenian language, history, literature, culture, church and a variety of courses on Armenia and the Armenians at California State University at Fresno. Dn. Der Mugrdechian, who recently completed a 2 year term as the Chairman of the Western Diocese Diocesan Council, has been an active leader of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, serving in leadership roles both on the Parish and Diocesan level. He served as a board member of Our Home – Mer Doon, Inc., and is a founder of Mer Hooys.
Varouj Altebarmakian, M.D. –Treasurer (Fresno, California)
Varouj Altebarmakian, M.D., received his medical degree from the American University of Beirut in 1974. He is a Board Certified Urologist. Dr. Altebarmakian is Physician in Chief of The Permanente Medical Group in Fresno. He is also an active servant of the Armenian Church, serving on the Supreme Spiritual Council of the Holy See of Etchmiadzin, several terms as Chairman of the Diocesan Council of the Western Diocese, and as a leader on the Parish level. Dr. Altebarmakian was actively involved in the future program planning and fund raising efforts of the U.S. Board of Mer Doon and is a founder of Mer Hooys.
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Rev. Fr. Sarkis Petoyan – Advisor (Pasadena, California)
Father Sarkis Petoyan is a graduate of California State University at Northridge with a B.A. in Humanities, St. Nerses Armenian Theological Seminary in New York and St. Vladimir Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York, where he earned a Master of Divinity. Ordained in 1998, Fr. Sarkis served as the parish priest of St. John Armenian Church of San Francisco from 1998 through September, 2009. In October 2009, Fr. Sarkis became the parish priest of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church in Pasadena, California. As part of his ministry and commitment to Armenia, Fr. Sarkis, and his wife Taleen, have led annual pilgrimages to Armenia for members of the Western Diocese. Prior to his education and ordination to the priesthood, Father Sarkis worked in the financial industry as a bank manager. Fr. Sarkis and his wife are the proud parents of a daughter, Grace.
Alice Kalustian – Advisory Board (Northridge, California)
Alice Kalustian has been an active leader in the Armenian community and the Armenian Church since her teenage years. She recently completed a two year term as the Treasurer of the Grand Council of the Daughters of Vartan. Ms. Kalustian, who worked for many years as an office manager and bookkeeper, is currently a per-diem administrative assistant for Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Woodland Hills, California. She has three adult daughters, and two granddaughters, and enjoys spending her spare time traveling and volunteering her talents to charitable organizations. Ms. Kalustian serves on the advisory board of Mer Hooys and serves as Assistant Treasurer.
Harriet Jendian Phillips – Advisory Board (Mandalay Bay, California)
Harriet Jendian Phillips has spent the better part of her life serving the needs of Armenian youth. She has taught Sunday School, served as a youth advisor, and as a member of the Youth Activities Committee of St. Peter Apostolic Church in Van Nuys, California. Mrs. Phillips has also served as director of the youth program for the San Fernando YWCA, as a member and president of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles YWCA, Ways and Means Chairman, program chairman for the Granada Hills YW Wives, and as a Girl Scout leader. Professionally, Mrs. Phillips has served as event planner, owned and operated a catering company, and has lectured and demonstrated food decorating to many community organizations, schools, and church groups. Mrs. Phillips was co-owner of J-4 Communications, serving as executive secretary and office manager. She is married to husband Tom, has three daughters and one son, 3 stepsons and 15 grandchildren, ages 4-18. Mrs. Phillips continues to serve as an active community leader alongside her husband. In their spare time, Mr. and Mrs. Phillips travel extensively throughout the world, including Armenia, enjoying the many sights and people of each country they visit.
Lynn Nakashian – Advisory Board (Warren, New Jersey)
Lynn became interested in the plight of youth in Armenia when she visited the country with her father John Nakashian in 2006. He was so moved by what he saw that he provided generous financial support to renovate the abandoned and dilapidated two-story former kindergarten school that is now the home of Mer Hooys. Both Lynn and her daughter Melanie are active in service projects, including participating in building projects by the Fuller Center for Housing in Armenia. Lynn recently completed a term on the Board of Deacons of the Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church in New Jersey. She is a member of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance National Response Team for the Presbyterian Church. Lynn received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bethany College (WV), and her master of science in journalism from West Virginia University. She works in the pharmaceutical industry.
Lisa Kalustian – Advisory Board (Los Angeles, California)
Lisa Kalustian is an accomplished strategist with senior-level corporate and government experience in complex issues management, proactive and crisis communications, policy development and implementation, and media relations. She has served in leadership positions with California Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Pete Wilson, as well as vice president of public affairs for the Western Region of Health Net, Inc., one of the nation’s largest health insurance companies. Ms. Kalustian has a master’s degree in public administration from USC, a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UCLA, and is a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs. She currently serves on the boards of directors of the Armenian Assembly of America and Coro Southern California, and is a Trustee of the Armenian Church Western Diocese Endowment Fund. Previously, Ms. Kalustian served on the Western Diocese Armenian Church Summer Camp Committee and the board of directors for the Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA) Los Angeles Chapter.
Lucy Erysian – Advisory Board (Fresno, California)
Lucy Erysian, a native of Armenia, is a founding member of Swiss Armenian Youth Club (“Aragast”). She has considerable experience and training in grant writing after completing a 3-month intensive training on grant writing and leadership at the Armenia Assembly of America NGO center. She was successful in obtaining a grant for a regional orphanage in Armenia. Ms. Erysian has devoted the past several years to serving Armenia’s orphans and deserving youth in numerous capacities. In 1996, she became the representative of Youth in Armenia at the United Nations. She participated in the 22nd World Youth Congress in Vienna, and developed a conflict resolution program for youth. Ms. Erysian participated in the establishment of Habitat for Humanity in Armenia. Ms. Erysian, who resides in Fresno, is married and the mother of two children
Mihran Mirijanyan – Executive Director (Yerevan, Armenia)
Mihran Mirijanyan, a native of Yerevan, Armenia, is a 1999 graduate of Yerevan State University, Faculty of Russian Philology. After serving two years in the National Army of Armenia, he attended two years at the Public Administration Academy - Yerevan, Armenia, Faculty of Public Administration. He later worked as a specialist with the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Armenia, in the Department of Development and External Relations, External Relations and Coordination of Investment Projects Division, and External Relations, Protocol Division.
In 2007-2008, Mr. Mirijanyan served as the assistant to the Minister of Energy, and traveled to Brussels to the Energy Charter of the EU as a representative of the Republic of Armenia. In 2009-2010, he worked in the Ministry of Justice. In 2011, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin hired him to serve as director of Mer Hooys in Nor Arapkir, Yerevan, Armenia. Mr. Mirijanian, who is married with one son, has also served as a volunteer at youth summer camps in Armenia. He brings to Mer Hooys extensive experience working with the Armenian government and familiarity with a variety of organizations based in Armenia that provide services to programs such as Mer Hooys. Mr. Mirijanyan's vast background in planning and administration has proven to be a valuable asset to establishing the infrastructure of the Mer Hooys program.
Suzanna Juharyan – Program Director
Suzanna Juharyan is a 1997 graduate of Yerevan State University, Faculty of Sociology and a 2000 graduate of Moscow School of Social and Economic Science, Faculty of Social Work and Social Administration where she received her Master of Science in Social Work. She has been a member of the faculty at YSU as a lecturer since her graduation. The scientific fields of her interests are the historical aspects of social work development in Armenia, implementing case management methodology in social services and organizing the field practice for the students of the Social work department in YSU.
In addition to her role at YSU, Ms. Juharyan has worked in Armenia and internationally as a researcher, counselor, trainer and expert in projects focusing on the needs of youth and women, including “Teenagers’ Hotline”, “Prevention on HIV/AIDS”, “Social Workers’ Training Program”, “Violence Against Women,” etc. She participates in projects directed toward the development of social protection systems, especially designing the integrated social services system in Armenia.
Ms. Juharyan’s role at Mer Hooys is to plan, implement and oversee the Mer Hooys program in collaboration with the other professional staff and the U.S. Board. Ms. Juharyan is fluent in Armenian, Russian and English. She is married and mother of two children.
Lilit Bakunts – Head Educational Instructor
Lilit Bakunts is a graduate of Yerevan State Pedagogical University, Department of Pedagogic and Psychology. She also has training and experience in nutrition and educational psychology. Her work experience includes time spent at Bormental Center, AKCON Medical Center in Sochi, Russia where she worked with children with psychological challenges. She has worked for the Mer Hooys program as chief mentor since October 2012 when the first group of girls arrived. Her responsibilities include overseeing the educational program for the girls, and supervising contracted, volunteer and staff educators. She is fluent in Armenian, Russian and English.
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