If I can’t be there personally to assist the children in Armenia, I trust AGBU to carry out my family’s wishes. The programs at these centers are providing a tremendous benefit to Armenia’s next generation, which, in turn, will bring prosperity and success to the country.
Nadya Hamparian’s parents, Garabet and Pergruhi, loved children. Nadya also adores them, and counts Armenia’s youth as her own by supporting AGBU’s Nork Children’s Center annually. As a family, they believed in education, equality among all, and the elevation of the next generation, particularly since her father had to leave school early on, reluctantly, to work.
Nurtured by her parents, Nadya achieved in Toronto what her parents could not in Istanbul: she graduated from York University and the University of Toronto with both a BA and BEd, respectively, and devoted herself to a successful career at TD Bank. They also instilled in her the value of hard work, dedication to their heritage and the importance of a generous spirit.
Garabet, a cabinet maker in Istanbul, saw the destruction caused by the Turkish mobs during the 1955 uprising against Christians. He and Pergruhi decided they would start over in a country that would provide their daughter with a safer future, regardless of all anticipated sacrifices. With the immigration quota to the US full, the Armenian Congress of Canada stepped in to sponsor the Hamparians, and they settled in Toronto, at a time when there were barely 500 Armenians in the area. She recalls fondly that the community felt like one big family—celebrating major feast days together at church. Every Sunday in the summers, some of them would pack their coolers with traditional Armenian fare, and take the streetcar and ferry to Center Island.
Her first vacation came as a teenager when they took a bus to the New Jersey shoreline, but she would later fly to many continents—from most of Europe to New Zealand, and from China to South America. Her overriding takeaway after each journey was that people everywhere want the same things: health, happiness and the love of family. She also visited Armenia three times—the first trip during Soviet times—where she was struck by the difference between her post-college self as a diasporan, and her homeland peers, who were the product of communism.
Nadya retired recently, but is not the kind of person who takes a break. She started volunteering at the ARS Armenian School, initially aiding Syrian refugee children to learn English, and now as an exceptional volunteer who lends a helping hand wherever required. She says, “My weekly time at the school is the most rewarding experience because it gives me an opportunity to interact with future Armenian leaders, and to witness the caring environment Armenians consistently provide for their youth.”
Former AGBU Toronto Chapter Chair Knar Basmadjian has been Nadya’s close friend since childhood. They both immigrated at a young age, and attended the same Armenian weekly schools and camps. She indicates, “Nadya’s love for Armenia’s children is evident in her ongoing support to ensure that they reach great heights. I am proud to call her my friend, and the chapter is proud to count her as such a generous and kind member.”
His family forcibly exiled, and born by fate at the end of the Armenian Genocide en route to Damascus all the way from his hometown of EveregFenesse (greater Kayseri), Garabet was fiercely proud of his ancestral roots. Throughout Nadya’s numerous worldwide travels, he would always ask her upon returning, “Did you meet anyone from Evereg?” When he passed away in 1992, Pergruhi and Nadya agreed that establishing a memorial fund benefitting Armenia’s youth felt most fitting and would make the greatest long term impact.
Nadya’s personal contributions, as well as the Garabet, Pergruhi and Nadya Hamparian Fund, help support the AGBU Children’s Center in Nork. “If I can’t be there personally to assist the children in Armenia, I trust AGBU to carry out my family’s wishes. The programs at these centers are providing a tremendous benefit to Armenia’s next generation, which, in turn, will bring prosperity and success to the country,” she says.