Looking to the Next Generation in Armenia: AGBU FOCUS 2009 Honors Hye Geen Pregnant Women’s Centers

focus  Since 2001, each AGBU FOCUS weekend pays tribute to a specific AGBU
program that has touched the lives of young Armenians. Looking to the
next generation in Armenia, AGBU FOCUS proudly honors AGBU Hye Geen by
dedicating its 2009 fundraising campaign to benefit the new Pregnant
Women’s Center in Talin, Armenia. The Talin Center will be the third of
its kind in Armenia and the first in that city.
Established by the AGBU Hye Geen Committee of Los Angeles in response to
the country’s high infant mortality, lack of nutrition and the shortage
of resources for potential mothers, the first Hye Geen Pregnant Women’s
Center opened its doors in Gyumri in 2002 with the encouragement of the
Republic of Armenia’s Minister for the Protection of Women and Children.
Two years later, a second center in Vanadzor was opened. This year, the
Hye Geen Committee plans to open its third center in Talin, which is in
desperate need of help, as many villages in the region are poor and
practically abandoned.
These community-based health resource centers provide critical pre-natal
care to pregnant women who often suffer from malnutrition, lack the
funds for proper medical care, and have little access to accurate health
information. Expectant mothers who gather daily at the centers benefit
from vital medical exams, a congenial social atmosphere, individual
meetings with counselors, nutritious meals, and vitamins provided by Hye
Geen. Center participants are recommended by local clinics and spend 4-5
hours a day at the facilities. Meals are prepared and served by the
women themselves in order to encourage good nutrition habits which are
taught by the trained center staff. Each center has three local
employees on staff, including a social worker, who work with the women
to ensure that their babies are born healthy. Various medical personnel
are invited to the centers periodically, or as required, to monitor each
woman’s progress and needs. The superintendent of the centers, Nara
Sahakian, who is a lecturer in psychology at Yerevan State University,
travels from Yerevan for weekly visits to each center and ensures that
each facility is operating at its utmost.
To date, hundreds of healthy babies have been born to the mothers who
have participated in the programs at the AGBU Hye Geen Pregnant Women’s
AGBU FOCUS believes that every child born in Armenia deserves a chance
at a healthy life unfettered by preventable medical issues. Honoring
AGBU Hye Geen’s latest project, FOCUS has launched a large-scale
pre-event fundraising effort to ensure that the Talin Center will open
with all the resources it needs to carry out its mission of serving the
pregnant women of Armenia.
To make a donation to the AGBU FOCUS 2009 initiative, please visit
www.agbu.org/focus, email focus@agbu.org, or call 212-319-6383 x.128.
Businesses interested in donating to this worthy cause may choose to
purchase an ad in the FOCUS booklet. More information is available on
the FOCUS website.
AGBU FOCUS is a biennial weekend event designed for young Armenian
professionals from all over the world to congregate and share their
international perspectives, as well as provide a venue to showcase
notable contributions and achievements made by AGBU’s diverse
youth-oriented programs. Building on the impressive achievements
experienced during the premiere weekend in New York in 2001, AGBU FOCUS
has since united more than 1,500 young Armenians from cities around the
globe, with weekends hosted in New York (2001, 2007), Montreal (2003),
Miami (2005), and now heading west to Chicago. Additionally, well over
$125,000 has been raised for many AGBU programs, including Generation
Next, the Scholarship Program and the New York Summer Intern Program.
From July 16-19, 2009, FOCUS will welcome hundreds of Armenians to
Chicago for this unique celebration. Rooms have been reserved at the
Westin Michigan Avenue Hotel and a special discounted rate is available
for reservations made only through AGBU beginning in mid-April. Plans
have also been set to host the Gala Evening, the highlight of the FOCUS
weekend, at the Art Institute of Chicago’s new modern wing, which is set
to open this summer.
Since 1994, AGBU Hye Geen in Southern California has worked to preserve
and honor achievements of Armenian women, provide a forum for them
throughout the world, promote their role in family and society through
research, education, and advocacy, and provide overall support to
empower Armenian women as carriers of the Armenian cultural heritage.

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