SOAR - Philadelphia Metro Chapter
In November 2011, SOAR's Executive Board voted unanimously to create a Chapter in Philadelphia. Although our Executive Board is based in the suburbs of Philadelphia, the consensus was that a Philadelphia Chapter would help streamline localized communication and fundraising efforts while simultaneously making our national and international efforts more efficient. The Philadelphia Metro Chapter encompasses the geographical areas of Philadelphia, Delaware, and South New Jersey.
Board of Directors:
Pic and Bio coming soon
Anita Torcomian, originally from New York, graduated from Queens College with a B.A in Accounting. She has served as both an Assistant Controller and a Controller in the manufacturing, distribution, and service industries over the past eight years while living in PA.
Anita has served on the ACYOA Sports Weekend committee for both New York and Philadelphia, and was a part of the Ararat Dance Ensemble of Philadelphia. Anita, being a fluent speaker, taught the Armenian language to children at Holy Trinity Church in Cheltenham PA. She was also the former treasurer of the PTC, and currently volunteers for PTC at the Armenian Sisters Academy, where her son presently attends school.
Anita currently resides in King of Prussia PA with her husband and three children.
Chrysta was born in Phillipsburg, NJ and currently lives in Delaware County, outside Philadelphia. She graduated from Blair Academy and received her degree in English Literature/Theatre and Criminal Justice from Moravian College. Chrysta is employed with ASD, an international agency catering to the needs of funeral related businesses and their clients. Additionally, she is an active member of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Parish, including vocals during mass, funerals, weddings, and the parish theatre performances, as well as a parent volunteer planning events at Armenian Sisters Academy in Radnor, PA, where her daughter Annaleigh attends. Chrysta lives with husband Chuck and their daughter Annaleigh, adopted from the county foster care systemas a toddler. She’s excited to return to SOAR after several years on the sidelines and looking forward to making a difference!
Patrice Keshgegian (Sookiasian)
Patrice was born and grew up in the Philadelphia area. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Education in the area of Speech Correction from West Chester University and earned her certificate of clinical competence in Speech and Language Pathology. Patrice has worked as a speech and language pathologist for many years in numerous settings, including schools, hospitals, and in home care, with patients ranging in age from infancy to the elderly. She is an active member of St. Mark’s Armenian Catholic Church. Patrice and her husband Albert reside in Newtown Square, PA and have three sons and eight grandchildren. In 2013 Patrice and Albert travelled to Armenia to witness the baptism of one of their granddaughters in an ancient Armenian monastery.
Maggie Odabashian (Merdjanian)
Maggie grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. As an Armenian American and a descendant of the Armenian Genocide, she is passionate about involvement in the Philadelphia Armenian community and helping orphans in Armenia. She is a graduate of Armenian Sisters Academy, and was actively involved in St Sahag and St Mesrob Armenian Church in various capacities ranging from the Armenian Church Youth Organization of America (ACYOA) through Sunday School Superintendent. Maggie previously served on the SOAR Philadelphia board, and was the President of the NY/NJ Chapter. Maggie has a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems from Villanova University. For 15 years, she worked in the Information Technology field, specializing in SAP implementations and project management. She is currently a stay-at-home mom, living in suburbs of Philadelphia with her husband Stephen and their three young boys.
Sierra Buehlman Barbeau
Sierra is a transplant to Philadelphia from Madison, Wisconsin. She has a bachelor’s in International Relations and African Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is currently a fourth grade teacher in Southwest Philadelphia.
Between 2016 and 2018, Sierra lived and worked in the village of Khot, Armenia teaching English, debate, and theater at the local secondary school. She lived with an old, Armenian tatik (grandmother) who taught her the Armenian language, how to cook Armenian food, and about Armenian culture. She's looking forward to working with SOAR!
Alexandria Kazandjian is passionate about Armenia. Her love of storytelling and dedication to understanding cultures inspired her to pursue a B.A. in History at Temple University. Currently a student, Alexandria spends much of her time expanding her knowledge in and out of the classroom. She is a member of Wandering Studios, a film-making club, as well as Box of Balloons, an organization which provides birthday boxes to children in need. Alexandria is also actively involved in the AYF-YOARF. She currently serves on Central Membership Committee and is the Corresponding Secretary for the Philadelphia “Sebouh” Chapter. As the great-granddaughter of Armenian Genocide survivors, Alexandria is grateful for the opportunity to help orphans in Armenia.
Alene Schreiner (Kailian)
Alene was born and raised in the Philadelphia area and received her undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Villanova University with a dual major in Finance and Management Information Systems, as well as a minor in Spanish. She moved to Boston in 2004 to pursue her Master in Business Administration at Boston University. It was in Boston that she first became involved in SOAR, serving as the Vice President for the SOAR New England Chapter. She remained in the Boston area until August 2011 working as a Financial Analyst for Intel. Alene and her husband, Adam,relocated back to the Philadelphia area and she took on the role of Treasurer for the SOAR Philadelphia Chapter. She worked as a Finance Manager for DaVita Healthcare Partners until 2016. She currently resides in Newtown Square, PA with her husband and two sons and is a stay at home mother. She continues to keep strong ties to the Philadelphia Armenian community. She is a graduate of Armenian Sisters Academy in Radnor, PA, and frequent volunteer at the school as her son now attends. She is an active member and volunteer at Saint Sahag and Saint Mesrob Church in Wynnewood, PA where she was a long time member of the ACYOA and was recently elected to serve on Parish Council. She stepped down as Treasurer of the Philadelphia Chapter in early 2018 and is looking forward to building upon the success of the team as a board member.