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AWWA Timeline: 1915-2015

Responding to Need: Here and Abroad

1915-1930: Ten service-minded, first generation Armenian-American women – Araxie Karagulian, Guldon Garabedian, Marie Calusdian, Yegsapet Diran, Lucy Kafafian, Bayzar Haroutunian, Agavnie Pilibosian, Noyermi Kevorkian, Noyemzar Bedrosian and Araxie Garabedian – establish a women's service organization, Armenian Patriotic Society as the Armenian Women's Welfare Association is first known. Their focus is to assist newly arrived immigrants, survivors of the Armenian Genocide, by providing comfort, fuel, clothing, shelter and financial assistance.

Soon, their concern also focuses on the survivors abroad. They ship clothing and supplies though organizations such as the American Red Cross and Near East Relief, and raise funds to provide educational scholarships for many homeless children through high school by supporting a program of the Armenian General Benevolent Union.

1930's: During the Great Depression, they provide fuel, clothing and financial assistance for those in need locally. With an aging population and many elderly living alone, the women consider providing a "warm and comfortable place where the elderly could be cared for".

1934: Armenian Women's Welfare Association (AWWA) incorporates as a non-profit organization and raises funds to purchase property to care for the elderly. President is Araxie Karagulian, 1934-1947.

Caring for the Elderly: Home for the Aged, Jamaica Plain

Photo of the original AWWA home for the aged in 19471947: Purchases a spacious three-story, sixteen-room home on a three-acre estate, adjacent to Larz Anderson Park, on the present site in Jamaica Plain. President is Norma Karaian, Esq., 1957-1961.

General Sarkis Zartarian hosts a dinner at his home to raise addition funds to purchase the property. Peter Adams, Harry Hedison, Carl Hintlian and Levon Kurkjian each loan the A.W.W.A. $5,000, interest free.

With successful fund raising, the A.W.W.A. soon retires the loan.

1948: On November 3, the Home for the Aged formally opens to house twenty men and women - the first such home in the United States to care for our Armenian elderly.

1949: Forget Me Not Ball, the annual gala, raises funds to support programs at the Home and annual scholarships to encourage young women to enter the healthcare field.

1951: With an expanding membership of over 500 members, A.W.W.A. establishes three chapters - Boston, Watertown-Belmont and Worcester Chapters.

Building the Armenian Nursing Home

1958: Commit to building a forty-bed facility to respond to the pressing need to provide comfort and care for our elderly, many living alone.

Krikor Arabian chairs the Building Committee.

Annual picnics at the Home engage all ages while building a community of supporters and providing activity for the residents.

Photo of the original ANRC building in 19601960: Armenian Nursing Home, a non-profit, level three nursing care facility for forty residents opens. The Home is adjacent to the Armenian Home for the Aged.

The two facilities now accommodate sixty residents, cared for by staff of forty. The quality of care continues to be exceptional.

Named Honorary Chairs of the A.W.W.A. in recognition of their leadership are General Sarkis Zartarian, Professor Elisha B. Chrakian and Badrig Zulalian. Presidents are Irene Kolligian, 1961-1964 and 1967-73 and Elmon Zulalian, 1964-1967.

Expanding Care with New Addition; Launching Friends/Volunteers

1973: Building permit is secured to expand the Nursing Home to accommodate all levels of skilled nursing care. President is Elizabeth Chrakian, 1973-1979.

Friends/Volunteers, a group of committed younger women representing the entire Armenian community, is recruited to ensure for the future of the A.W.W.A., with its aging membership.

The Friends/Volunteers initiate new programs and events to raise funds to enhance the quality of the daily lives of the residents.

Annual Luncheon/Auction, Our Night Under the Dome, Heart-to-Heart Sunday, musical performances, Sunday and Armenian School visits, and Annual Picnic at the Home for Residents and their Families are among the events and programs that were initiated, many continuing to this day.

1978: Stephen P. Mugar with A.W.W.A. President spearheads the Building Fund Drive to raise funds for a major second floor addition to provide an additional forty-two beds to accommodate all levels of skilled nursing care, increase social and activity space and provide air-conditioning. The installation of the elevator, to serve the new second floor addition, provides all residents, for the first time, access to the lower level multi-purpose room. Comprehensive landscaping and additional parking adds to the amenities.

1978: Friends/Volunteers becomes an official Chapter of the A.W.W.A.

1979: Construction of the new second floor addition is completed in May with the opening of the Deran S. Hintlian wing.

Drawn by the new setting, students from the nearby Park School regularly visit the residents.

1980: Friends/Volunteers' Arbor Day is celebrated at the Home with students from all the Sunday Schools and Armenian Schools planting trees which serve to encourage annual Armenian and Sunday School visits.

Friends/Volunteers members are now being elected to serve on the A.W.W.A. Board of Directors; many serving in key leadership position to this day (2015).

Providing short-term rehabilitation services: Armenian Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

Photo of the present-day ANRC building1996: The name of the Armenian Nursing Home changes to Armenian Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (ANRC) to reflect rehabilitation services now being offered. President is JoAnn Janjigian, 2000-2004, 2006-2009.

Exhibits at the Home showcase the creativity and talents of the residents. Visits of the Sunday Schools and Armenian Schools serves to bright the day of the residents.

The clergy of all the Armenian parishes in greater Boston continue to visit with the residents and offer worship services.

Expanding Initiatives: Serving Our Community Here and Abroad

2004: Establishes ANRC as its own legal entity. President is Tana Onanian, 2004-2005.

Funds the Nagorno-Kharabagh Elderly Project/Hanganak NGO, under the leadership Gohar Hovhannisyan, MD, MPH to provide medical and social support to the elderly living alone.

Conducts study to determine feasibility of assisted living and explores possible off-site locations.

2013: Rehabilitation Suite and increased dining room space expands the ANRC. Embarks on Strategic Planning to determine key goals and initiatives. President is Nancy D. Kasarjian, 2010-2014.

2014: Five members travel to Nagorno-Kharabagh to meet with the staff and observe the Elderly Project/Hanganak, and attend the Armenian International Women's Association (AIWA) Conference in Yerevan.

2015: Celebrates one hundred years of dedicated service while looking forward and shining a light on the next hundred. President is Brenda J. Khederian, 2014 -