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Enjoy video of Northern California Pilgrims and Der Mesrop Ash dancing with Mer Hooys girls! ...

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On June 10, 2017, Mer Hooys celebrated the wedding of one of its graduates, Armine Arshakyan, who married fellow artist Sooren Vardanyan.

The bride dressed in the graduate apartment of the transitional program at the Nakashian Children’s Support Center. Program staff and her Mer Hooys sisters from the first and second classes participated in the wedding preparations. In traditional Armenian style, the bride sat while serenaded by musicians and young women in traditional costumes, and the groom's mother, sister and immediate family. The groom received toasts from Mer Hooys director Mihran Mirijanyan, his friends and father.

Sooren then escorted Armine from her home of nearly 5 years to waiting cars in which they traveled to Abovyan City, where the groom’s relatives met the couple at the family home. The groom's 90-year-old grandfather danced with joy at the home, and all through the night, celebrating the wedding of his grandson. Mer Hooys program director Noune Geghamyan, pedagogue Lusine Beynaminyan mentor Tzovig Gevorgyan, and Mer Hooys board president Hon. Adrienne Krikorian accompanied the bride to her new home, traditionally to "give her away" and ensure she safely arrived to her new home.

Rev. Fr. Mesrop Ash from St. John Armenian Apostolic Church in San Francisco, Mer Hooys board member, joined the parish priest of St. Hovhaness Armenian Church in Abovyan City performing the traditional Armenian wedding ceremony. Judge Krikorian joined Mer Hooys board members Varouj Altebarmakian, Barlow Der Mugrdechian, guests from Los Angeles Vahram and Polina Biricik, and Chris Yaldezian and Lucy Grace Yaldezian from San Francisco, Mer Hooys graduates and staff as witnesses to the wedding ceremony. At the end of the ceremony, the clergy read a message to the bride and groom from His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians.

After the ceremony, a festive wedding reception went well into the night at the Old Parvana Restaurant in Abovyan City. The bride celebrated with her Mer Hooys sisters from the first class, her maternal aunt's family, and friends and family of the groom. Near the end of the evening, Armine performed a wedding dance for Sooren that brought tears to everyone's eyes. The couple then cut the cake, shared a glass of champagne with fireworks in the background, and passed out "daros" to their guests. It was a beautiful day for everyone.

Armine's journey at Mer Hooys achieved the primary goals of the Mer Hooys program - she came to the program as a teenager from an orphanage in fall 2012, shy, without a suitable education, but an untapped talent as a painter. She is now an educated and talented artist with a skill that will earn her a living. She will continue her education, supported in part by Mer Hooys, attending master classes in art at the local art university, along with her husband Sooren. Armine has become a beautiful young woman with grace, filled with love, and a bright future. In addition to her family from Mer Hooys, her husband's family is very loving and has welcomed Armine, and her Mer Hooys family with loving hearts - opening a bright future for her.

Shnorhavor Armine and Sooren! You are loved by your Mer Hooys family who are so proud of you!
...

On June 10, 2017, Mer Hooys celebrated the wedding of one of its graduates, Armine Arshakyan, who married fellow artist Sooren Vardanyan. The bride dressed in the graduate apartment of the transitional program at the Nakashian Children’s Support Center. Program staff and her Mer Hooys sisters from the first and second classes participated in the wedding preparations. In traditional Armenian style, the bride sat while serenaded by musicians and young women in traditional costumes, and the groom's mother, sister and immediate family. The groom received toasts from Mer Hooys director Mihran Mirijanyan, his friends and father. Sooren then escorted Armine from her home of nearly 5 years to waiting cars in which they traveled to Abovyan City, where the groom’s relatives met the couple at the family home. The groom's 90-year-old grandfather danced with joy at the home, and all through the night, celebrating the wedding of his grandson. Mer Hooys program director Noune Geghamyan, pedagogue Lusine Beynaminyan mentor Tzovig Gevorgyan, and Mer Hooys board president Hon. Adrienne Krikorian accompanied the bride to her new home, traditionally to "give her away" and ensure she safely arrived to her new home. Rev. Fr. Mesrop Ash from St. John Armenian Apostolic Church in San Francisco, Mer Hooys board member, joined the parish priest of St. Hovhaness Armenian Church in Abovyan City performing the traditional Armenian wedding ceremony. Judge Krikorian joined Mer Hooys board members Varouj Altebarmakian, Barlow Der Mugrdechian, guests from Los Angeles Vahram and Polina Biricik, and Chris Yaldezian and Lucy Grace Yaldezian from San Francisco, Mer Hooys graduates and staff as witnesses to the wedding ceremony. At the end of the ceremony, the clergy read a message to the bride and groom from His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians. After the ceremony, a festive wedding reception went well into the night at the Old Parvana Restaurant in Abovyan City. The bride celebrated with her Mer Hooys sisters from the first class, her maternal aunt's family, and friends and family of the groom. Near the end of the evening, Armine performed a wedding dance for Sooren that brought tears to everyone's eyes. The couple then cut the cake, shared a glass of champagne with fireworks in the background, and passed out "daros" to their guests. It was a beautiful day for everyone. Armine's journey at Mer Hooys achieved the primary goals of the Mer Hooys program - she came to the program as a teenager from an orphanage in fall 2012, shy, without a suitable education, but an untapped talent as a painter. She is now an educated and talented artist with a skill that will earn her a living. She will continue her education, supported in part by Mer Hooys, attending master classes in art at the local art university, along with her husband Sooren. Armine has become a beautiful young woman with grace, filled with love, and a bright future. In addition to her family from Mer Hooys, her husband's family is very loving and has welcomed Armine, and her Mer Hooys family with loving hearts - opening a bright future for her. Shnorhavor Armine and Sooren! You are loved by your Mer Hooys family who are so proud of you!

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At the June 10, 2017 wedding reception for Mer Hooys graduate Armine Arshakian and Sooren Vardanyan, the bride performed a beautiful traditional wedding dance for the groom (and guests). Enjoy! ...

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"Daros" - gata bread - gift to wedding guests ...

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On June 9, 2017, sixty pilgrims from the United States, led by Rev. Fr. Hovel Ohanyan from St. Vartan Armenian Apostolic Church of Oakland, Rev. Fr. Mesrop Ash of St. John Armenian Apostolic Church of San Francisco, and accompanied by the Very Rev. Fr. Vartan Kasparian, visited the Nakashian Children’s Support Center in Yerevan. They were greeted by Mer Hooys Board president Hon. Adrienne Krikorian, who was later joined by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Mer Hooys board members Varouj Altebarmakian and Barlow Der Mugrdechian, and Diocesan Council Chairman and newly elected member of the Supreme Spiritual Council Joseph Kanimian.

After watching a short video presentation about the Mer Hooys program, the pilgrims joined the children and all of the staff for a delicious lunch. After lunch, the pilgrims received guided tours of the entire Center, presented by four 12-13 year olds, who received assistance in translation from Der Mesrop, Der Hovel and two English-speaking staff. They had the chance to see first-hand how the program operates, thanks to presentations by the staff psychologist, staff social worker, and pedagogue. They visted the new graduate transitional apartment, and enjoyed seeing art work from graduate Armine Arshakian-Vardanyyan, and her new husband Sooren Vardanyan.

Following the tour, the pilgrims joined Archbishop Derderian and board members in celebrating the 5th anniversary of the dedication of the Center and opening of the program. His Eminence spoke to the children and staff, commending their efforts, and congratulated the Board for the successful program that Mer Hooys has become.

Following dessert and a brandy toast, the pilgrims enjoyed musical performances by the girls, who escorted them from the Center with traditional Armenian dances. Many of the pilgrims voiced their amazement at the breadth and success of the program, acknowledging that “seeing is believing.” Many had heard about the program but did not have any sense of the magnitude or success of its outreach to save children from poor families from life on the streets.

Because of the generosity of the pilgrims, individually and as a group, their donations will go in part to purchase 5-6 much-needed large white boards for classrooms, the playroom, and the psychology center, wall coverings for the dining hall to reduce acoustic interference and toys for the playroom. Toys and clothing donated by the pilgrims will be given to the children when school starts and as part of their Christmas gifts.

The Mer Hooys Board of Directors thanks His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian for his continued dedication and support of Mer Hooys. The Board also thanks the pilgrims who made the day very exciting for the children and staff. This was the largest group of visitors to the Center since its opening. The hospitality, joy and affection shown by the residents for their guests was a tribute to the talented staff who have, in a relatively short time, brought these children from the dismal lifestyles in which they lived before coming to Mer Hooys, to lives of hope, healthy family, education, and love.

House of Hope - Mer Hooys, Inc. is an independent 501c3 non-profit corporation, operating under the auspices of the Western Diocese. Although formed as a legal institution of Etchmiadzin in Armenia, the U.S. board receives and manages all monetary donations and requires fiscal accountability from the program staff in Armenia. The Mother See has provided the Nakashian Children’s Support Center to the Mer Hooys program rent-free. Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Visit www.mer-hooys.org for more information and to donate. Donations made through the Western Diocese should note “Mer Hooys” on the memo line.
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On June 9, 2017, sixty pilgrims from the United States, led by Rev. Fr. Hovel Ohanyan from St. Vartan Armenian Apostolic Church of Oakland, Rev. Fr. Mesrop Ash of St. John Armenian Apostolic Church of San Francisco, and accompanied by the Very Rev. Fr. Vartan Kasparian, visited the Nakashian Children’s Support Center in Yerevan. They were greeted by Mer Hooys Board president Hon. Adrienne Krikorian, who was later joined by His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Mer Hooys board members Varouj Altebarmakian and Barlow Der Mugrdechian, and Diocesan Council Chairman and newly elected member of the Supreme Spiritual Council Joseph Kanimian. After watching a short video presentation about the Mer Hooys program, the pilgrims joined the children and all of the staff for a delicious lunch. After lunch, the pilgrims received guided tours of the entire Center, presented by four 12-13 year olds, who received assistance in translation from Der Mesrop, Der Hovel and two English-speaking staff. They had the chance to see first-hand how the program operates, thanks to presentations by the staff psychologist, staff social worker, and pedagogue. They visted the new graduate transitional apartment, and enjoyed seeing art work from graduate Armine Arshakian-Vardanyyan, and her new husband Sooren Vardanyan. Following the tour, the pilgrims joined Archbishop Derderian and board members in celebrating the 5th anniversary of the dedication of the Center and opening of the program. His Eminence spoke to the children and staff, commending their efforts, and congratulated the Board for the successful program that Mer Hooys has become. Following dessert and a brandy toast, the pilgrims enjoyed musical performances by the girls, who escorted them from the Center with traditional Armenian dances. Many of the pilgrims voiced their amazement at the breadth and success of the program, acknowledging that “seeing is believing.” Many had heard about the program but did not have any sense of the magnitude or success of its outreach to save children from poor families from life on the streets. Because of the generosity of the pilgrims, individually and as a group, their donations will go in part to purchase 5-6 much-needed large white boards for classrooms, the playroom, and the psychology center, wall coverings for the dining hall to reduce acoustic interference and toys for the playroom. Toys and clothing donated by the pilgrims will be given to the children when school starts and as part of their Christmas gifts. The Mer Hooys Board of Directors thanks His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian for his continued dedication and support of Mer Hooys. The Board also thanks the pilgrims who made the day very exciting for the children and staff. This was the largest group of visitors to the Center since its opening. The hospitality, joy and affection shown by the residents for their guests was a tribute to the talented staff who have, in a relatively short time, brought these children from the dismal lifestyles in which they lived before coming to Mer Hooys, to lives of hope, healthy family, education, and love. House of Hope - Mer Hooys, Inc. is an independent 501c3 non-profit corporation, operating under the auspices of the Western Diocese. Although formed as a legal institution of Etchmiadzin in Armenia, the U.S. board receives and manages all monetary donations and requires fiscal accountability from the program staff in Armenia. The Mother See has provided the Nakashian Children’s Support Center to the Mer Hooys program rent-free. Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Visit www.mer-hooys.org for more information and to donate. Donations made through the Western Diocese should note “Mer Hooys” on the memo line.

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