On November 4, 2019, the YMCA of Glendale signed an official partnership agreement with the Artsakh YMCA to the great enthusiasm of all in attendance. The signing established an official “Sister YMCA relationship”, declaring the YMCA’s mutual commitment to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. This relationship is the first of its kind for both the Glendale and Artsakh organizations.
Steve Bullock, 2019 YMCA of Glendale Board Chair declared, “This is a historic event for both YMCAs. Our board, our staff and our membership are so proud to be part of this partnership.” Artsakh YMCA Founder Davit Melkumyan who traveled from Artsakh and will be visiting other YMCAs in the area added, “We are committed to a successful relationship with the YMCA of Glendale and look forward to collaborating in programs and the sharing of information in the years ahead.”
This past summer, YMCA of Glendale’s board of directors formed a special committee to assess whether a formal partnership with the Artsakh YMCA would be beneficial for both organizations. They sent a small delegation to visit the Artsakh YMCA and perform fact checking. They came back with a resounding “Yes!”. Artsakh Committee Co-Chair Nora Yacoubian remarked last night, “Our partnership will expose youth both in Glendale and in Artsakh to new opportunities and exciting experiences. It will help instill self-confidence in the Artsakh youth in knowing that their Glendale counterpart is just as eager to learn from them.”
The ceremonial signing event included Artsakh YMCA Founder Davit Melkumyan, and YMCA of Glendale’s CEO George Saikali, Board Chair Steve Bullock, Artsakh Committee Co-Chair Nora Yacoubian, and Artsakh Committee member Lucy Varpetian. Glendale Councilmembers Paula Devine, Vartan Gharpetian, and Vrej Agajanian were among the 40+ community members who celebrated the historic partnership. Also in attendance was CA Senator Anthony Portantino who chairs the Senate’s Select Committee on California, Armenian and Artsakh Mutual Trade, Art and Cultural Exchange.
The Glendale and the Artsakh YMCA will work together to promote cross cultural understanding, provide technical and training assistance, and effect positive change in their now-shared communities. Both organizations look forward to supporting each other in fulfilling the YMCA Mission.
The Rev. Fr. Yeghia Isayan, Pastor of St. Peter Armenian Church of Glendale attended the event on behalf of the Diocesan Primate His Eminence Archbishop Hovnan Derderian.