SOAR - Baltimore Chapter
The Baltimore Chapter joined the SOAR family in May 2013. Baltimore has a small but growing Armenian population, where approximately 120 families regularly gather for church services and where the Greater Baltimore Armenian School allows young people to grow familiar with their language and heritage. The Armenian Association of Greater Baltimore (AAGB) is the organization under which the Greater Baltimore Armenian School falls and is that which coordinates two annual events in the Baltimore area - the Armenian Christmas service in January and a Father's Day Picnic in June.
Board of Directors:
Sophia Shahverdian Hawit
Sophia Shahverdian has an MBA from the Robert H. Smith School at University of Maryland and is an experienced management and communication consultant in the Baltimore/Washington area. She has experience working with both domestic and international clients. She earned her B.S. in Business Administration, International Business from Towson University.
Originally from Maryland, she is a former student and teacher at the Great Baltimore Armenian School. She was a Birthright Armenia participant in 2009, volunteering with the National Competitiveness Foundation through Armenian Volunteer Corps, and helped lead Birthright Armenia's DC alumni chapter. She is an active member of St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church in Washington, D.C.
Lara Ohanian, along with her husband, currently lives in Baltimore, MD. She was raised in upstate New York, where she was a member of the Armenian Church of Rochester. Lara is an educator, with over 15 years of experience, the last 7 years focusing on educational reform. She is currently the Director of Differentiated Learning for Baltimore City Public Schools. Lara graduated from SUNY Geneseo in Biology and Philosophy, received a Master’s degree at the University of Houston in Bioethics and eventually received an Educational Specialist degree from Virginia Tech in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. She is appreciative of the opportunity to support orphaned youth through the efforts of SOAR.
Anne Booher was born in Baltimore, MD, where she now lives, but grew up in Kensington, MD. She graduated from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in Bethesda, MD, and in 1981 graduated with honors from the University of California, San Diego, with a BA in history. Anne attended the University of Maryland graduate school, working toward an MA in American history, and later earned a MD secondary social studies teaching certificate from McDaniel College (formerly Western Maryland College).
Anne was a Home and Hospital teacher in Montgomery County for several years, and served as recording secretary for the Home and Hospital Teachers of Montgomery County in its charter year, as well as a member of the Home and Hospital Teachers of Maryland. She also taught until 1999, in Baltimore County. Other activities include several years' activity in Democratic politics, both as a precinct chairman and volunteer, tutoring secondary school students, teaching SAT Prep classes in Montgomery County, as well as serving for many years as a judge at the national level for National History Day.
Ava graduated from University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2015 with a degree in Public Health. Since then, she has been working on international clinical trials. She grew up in the Armenian community in Baltimore, graduating from the Greater Baltimore Armenian School and later volunteering with the pre-school and kindergarten classes there. Continuing her passion for her culture and working with youth, Ava volunteered at Tufenkian Foundation's Zangakatun Social Services NGO, through the AYF Internship program and Birthright Armenia in 2011. Having developed strong relationships in Armenia, Ava is still in touch with children at Zangakatun and fellow volunteers.
Narineh graduated with a Bachelor of Science in community health at the University of Maryland. She currently works in Baltimore, MD as a Research Program Coordinator for the Genitourinary Oncology department at Johns Hopkins University. With this passion, she will continue her education to obtain her Master of Public Health degree at Johns Hopkins University with a minor in global health.
As an intern through the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Internship with Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) in Yerevan, Armenia, she developed and implemented a various set of healthy lifestyle activities for COAF-supported summer camps for 6-17 year olds. Narineh was a former student of the Greater Baltimore Armenian School and remains active in her community as a member of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), Washington, DC Chapter and Soorp Khatch Armenian Apostolic Church.
Gregory Petrossian is a Portland, OR native having moved to Baltimore, MD to earn his M.S. in Healthcare Management from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. Gregory earned his B.S. degrees in Microbiology and Bioresource Research, as well as a B.A. in International Studies from Oregon State University. He now lives in Pittsburgh, PA where he works as an Associate Consultant for Highmark HM Health Solutions. In his youth he was a student of the Armenian Community of Oregon and is a member of St. Kevork’s Armenian Apostolic Church of Oregon. After he visited Armenia for the first time in 2006, he vowed to find an opportunity in the states to help orphaned kids like the ones he met in Karabakh. After all these years searching for such an opportunity he is ecstatic to serve as a member of SOAR.
Rimma Zakharyan resides in Baltimore, MD, where she is an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland: Baltimore County. She is pursuing degrees in Biology and Sociology, with a pre-medical track. In the future, Rimma hopes to attend medical school and become a pediatrician. Rimma currently volunteers at Shepherd's Clinic, one of Baltimore City's free clinics, and assists with autism research at Total Child Health.
After being involved with various volunteer organizations, Rimma began to discover volunteer opportunities that benefit her Armenian heritage. She hopes to participate in Birthright Armenia and volunteer in Armenia upon graduation.