SOAR - Fresno Chapter
SOAR-Fresno was launched in July 2011. With an Armenian population of approximately 30,000 people, Fresno has nine Armenian churches and dozens of Armenian institutions and organizations and is one of the best known self-contained Armenian communities in the United States.
Board of Directors:
Lucy Erysian, a native of Armenia, was a founding member of the Swiss Armenian Youth Club "Aragast". She has considerable experience and training in grant writing and project management. She was successful in obtaining grants for orphanages in Armenia as well as for youth projects in Eastern Europe. Lucy has devoted the past twenty years to serving Armenia's orphans and deserving youth in numerous capacities. She has been instrumental in helping children from Armenia get medical treatment in Europe and the United States. In 1996, she became the representative of the Youth of Armenia at the United Nations 22nd World Youth Congress in Vienna, and developed an international conflict resolution program for youth. Lucy participated in the establishment of Habitat for Humanity in Armenia. In the US, she coordinates USAID projects collaborating with Armenia, Russia, Belarus and other countries. Lucy, who resides in Fresno, is married and the mother of two children.
Mike Airumian, M.D., PhD
Mike Airumian earned a medical degree in Pediatrics from St. Petersburg State Pediatric Medical Academy in 1993 and a PhD in Social Medicine from Pavlov State Medical University in 1996, both in St. Petersburg, Russia. He has volunteered and worked for several non-profit organizations including Physicians for Human Rights, the Russian Orphanage Association, Firefly Children's Network, and Mobility International USA. He currently works for the Department of Veterans Affairs. In 1999, he and his wife adopted their oldest daughter. Now a family of five, they live in Fresno and have traveled to Armenia to visit the orphanage in Gavar.
Susie Baker Airumian
Susie Baker Airumian was a founding member of SOAR's DC Chapter before moving to Fresno, and has been volunteering to benefit orphanages since the early 90s. As a volunteer for a baby orphanage in Borovichi, Russia, Susie developed an innovative pet therapy project for severely disabled children. In 1992 she spent a summer in a Siberian children’s home teaching art and social skills to children aged 4-12. In her professional career, Susie has managed international programs for over 20 years. She also taught English and American Literature at high school No. 77 in St. Petersburg, Russia, and worked in Kiev, Ukraine, for the FLEX Future Leaders Exchange Program. For over 8 years, she worked at the U.S. Department of State on professional training and exchanges for participants from Armenia and other countries of the former Soviet Union. Susie has an M.A. in Russian Language and Literature from University of Oregon, and a B.A. in Economics from UC Davis. She currently works as Research Leader for international advanced computing and research collaboration, Susie has traveled throughout Armenia with her husband Mike and their children.
Pic and Bio coming soon
Christine attends St. Gregory Armenian Church in Fowler. She is a member of Fresno's Ani Guild, organizing their Patron Luncheon for the past few years. She is a regular volunteer at the Armenian Home and a former Sunday school teacher at St. Gregory, Holy Martyrs Armenian Apostolic Church in Queens, NY, and St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church in Washington, DC. Christine has organized Christmas collection drives for underprivileged children at Holy Martyrs. In 2005, she attended the Mardigian Institute at the Diocesan Center in New York City, and a summer conference for young professionals at St. Nerses Armenian Seminary in New Rochelle, NY, and has assisted with Summer Youth Conferences on several occasions. Christine is Area Vice President with Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers of California, Inc. She earned her J.D. degree at Hofstra University School of Law in Hempstead, New York, and her B.A. in English Literature & Language from USC. She is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia, New Jersey, and before the United States Supreme Court.
Marina Harutyunyan is a freelancer specializing in development work for non-profits operating in the rural areas of Armenia. Marina has a Master’s Degree in International Security and Development from the University of Denver. She previously worked for UN, OSCE, and Heifer International. She also taught English for three years at Yerevan State Linguistic University in Armenia. For the past 6 years, Marina lived in Moscow, yet continued working with a non-profit to empower youth in the remote areas of Armenia.
Matias is Argentinian, born and raised in Buenos Aires. He had the oppotunity to live in the wonderful land of Armenia for a few years and has an Armenian family, his wife Narine, and his son Avetis. Matias has two academic degrees; his Engineer's Degree in Information Technology and his Bachelor's Degree in Tourism and Business Administration. He has lived in Fresno for the past 7 months and works with one of the local leading IT Companies, Valley Network Solution, as a Technical Service Manager.
Kevork Oflazian graduated from the American University of Beirut with a B.A degree in finance. He later moved to Fresno to pursue an MBA at California State University, Fresno. This year he will complete the graduate requirements for Bank Management from the University of Washington’s Pacific Coast Banking School. Even though he has pursued a career in banking and finance, his true passions lie in anthropology and archeology, more specifically the study of various societies and cultures to understand the intricacies of how or why they developed, succeeded and sometimes spectacularly failed. It is a pleasure for him to be able to serve with the SOAR Fresno chapter, providing relief to the orphans of Armenia. Kevork believes strongly in giving everyone a chance in life. A caring, nurturing environment where education is emphasized would be the best way to extend a hand to these children. He has served on the board of the Fresno AGBU chapter, and is an active member of the Knights of Vartan. He is also a proud member of the North Fresno Rotary Club. He has traveled to Armenia on several occasions, mainly to work on charitable projects endorsed by the Knight of Vartan or Rotary International. His interests also include travel adventures, reading, and enjoying fine food and wine with friends and family.