Peter J. Abajian, Executive Director
The Paros Foundation
Bloomfield Hills, MI—Thanks to a generous second donation to underwrite the vocational training programs at the Debi Arach Children’s Center in Gyumri from the Dr. Gary and Linda Assarian Family Foundation, Debi Arach is proud to announce the naming of this program as the Assarian Vocational Training Program.
“My wife Linda and I visited Armenia and Debi Arach and gained an understanding of the economic challenges facing people in Gyumri,” said Dr. Gary Assarian. “Our goal is to help people learn a skill and successfully gain employment. We are excited to support Paros in these innovative programs and their future plans.”
Launched in 2017 with generous support from the Assarian family, vocational training is an integral component of the Debi Arach Children’s Center, helping future generations in Gyumri work themselves out of poverty. The program launched with a high-tech focus teaching web-design and web programming to young adults. Following classroom instruction in several course subjects, students graduated into internships to obtain real world experience. More than half of the graduates are now gainfully employed and utilizing their new skills in the workplace. These classes have continued with more than 40 students to date. In August of 2019, a second focused vocational option was added to include instruction for cosmetologists, hair stylists, make up artists and manicurists. This was aimed to help young women find employment in the region and provide a much needed service to their community. An additional 24 students are enrolled in these courses.
“Since we launched the Debi Arach Children’s Center in April of 2015, the more than 200 children and young adults participating at the Center on a weekly basis are thriving,” said Peter Abajian, Executive Director of The Paros Foundation. “We are making a significant difference in the lives of these families and expanding our vocational training efforts is a natural step forward. It is a pleasure to work with the Assarian family and we have significant plans for expanding the Assarian Vocational Training Program at Debi Arach in the near future.”
The Center operates six days per week and students attend the afterschool programs in two groups each three times per week. Programs are designed to take a holistic approach to addressing a poverty stricken child’s needs and help them overcome the obstacles to future success, including their humanitarian, physical and psychological needs, academic support and career planning. Debi Arach has notable successes to date beyond the vocational training programs, including reuniting children with their parents (who were leaving the children at orphanages or boarding schools), strong academic achievements, better overall health and successful career planning and job placement.
To support the Debi Arach Children’s Center or another project of The Paros Foundation, please visit www.parosfoundation.org.
AFF Photo 1: Dr. Gary & Linda Assarian during their 2016 visit to the Debi Arach Children’s Center to meet the students enrolled in their newly established Vocational Training Program.
AFF Photo 2: (left to right) Dr. Gary Assarian, Linda Assarian, Narine Panosian Paros Foundation Association Director and Sevan Amirians Paros Foundation Project Manager.