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.
SOAR-Fresno oversees the Global Hosting Program.
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.
Narine Muradyan Blair a native of Armenia and moved to Fresno from Vancouver, Washington in 2012. She has a Master's Degree in Science, from the Veterinary and Animal Husbandry University of Armenia. After relocating to the USA, Narine worked at various jobs including as a volunteer at the Lutheran Community Services NW in Vancouver, WA and later as a Matching Grant Program Coordinator at the same organization helping refugees to adapt to their new country, organizing fund raising events, and coordinating employment placement for new-comers. She also became a founder of NOAH Medical Transportation INC. Currently she works as a Front Office Administrator at a medical office in Fresno. Narine joined SOAR in 2015.
Ric Blair is originally from Vancouver, Washington and relocated to Fresno in 2012. He is a Native American and a United States Air Force veteran. Ric studied at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, and Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, Oregon. A photographer by trade, Ric founded an advertising and modeling agency in Vancouver, Washington in 2004. He used his company resources to generate funds for several charities, including but not limited to children’s hospitals, food banks, pet rescue, battered women’s shelters, homeless shelters, and Make-A-Wish Foundation. Ric spent over a decade with Second Chance pet Companions volunteering his time and his home to rehabilitate and re-home abused pets. He has several years of experience coordinating charity fund-raising events as well. Ric’s fine-art photography prints are in the collections of politicians, corporate leaders, and private owners across the United States, Canada, and Japan. He joined SOAR along with his wife Narine Muradyan Blair in 2015.
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.
Lilit Israelyan is a young professional with a strong commitment to charity and aid work. Lilit Israelyan owns and operates an agency with Farmers Insurance specializing in property, casualty and life insurance. She worked briefly for New York Life Company as a life insurance agent. This was a drastic career change for Lilit since she was working as a certified translator/interpreter at Language Line for five years. She has a degree in Criminology with option of Law Enforcement from Fresno State. She has been living in Fresno for over 19 years. Lilit Israelyan is married with a teenage son.