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Performing for Syria Relief

Students from AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian High School

An Evening for Aleppo

Every year, students at the AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian High School (MHS) in Pasadena, California, organize a fundraiser for a good cause. In 2016, the students collectively decided to fundraise for the Armenians of Aleppo, donating just over $8,000 to the AGBU Humanitarian Emergency Relief Fund for Syrian Armenians.

Under the leadership of Lora Kuyumjian, the Armenian drama teacher at MHS, 15 students in her performing arts classes volunteered their time to organize My Aleppo, an evening of song, dance and poetry that managed—in a single night—to multiply the sum they had raised with collection boxes around the school through ticket sales and donations from guests.

On November 10, over 250 teachers, students, staff, parents, relatives and members of the Armenian community of Los Angeles were treated to a unique fundraising performance that had been in the works for many months and highlighted the talents of the performing arts students. The Armenian drama class debuted their original skits about Armenian life, family and soldiers on the frontline. The choir regaled the audience with patriotic songs like “Hayrenik,” “Akhbers ou yes” and “Artsakh.” The dance class showcased their fancy footwork with Armenian folk dances; and various members of the student body recited poetry and gave speeches about the importance of fundraising for the Armenians of Aleppo.   

The looks of pride in the eyes of all the guests—many of whose families originate, if not from Aleppo, then from other parts of the Middle East—were telling of the impact that the AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian School students made on their community and the exceptional example that they will be for future students. “The goal of My Aleppo was to raise awareness about the Armenians of Aleppo and not forget where we came from. We must always remember to help those in need, whether it be with food, shelter, or medicine. We hope our fundraising will help those in Aleppo receive what they need,” said 11th grade MHS student David Keshishian.

The funds that the students raised will provide essential resources for Syrian Armenians in need, including food and aid distribution; medical assistance; stipends for widows and orphans of war; university scholarships; as well as support and educational programs for Syrian Armenians now living in Armenia, Lebanon and Canada.

The story of the AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian High School students show how a small group can take action and make a big difference in the lives of others. Does your school want to organize a similar event for the AGBU Humanitarian Emergency Relief Fund for Syrian Armenians? We’re always here to help. To learn how you can help, send us an email at giving@agbu.org.

To donate and learn more about AGBU relief efforts for Syrian Armenians, please visit: https://agbu.org/syriarelief/help_syria.pdf

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April 14, 2017