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On the Town: Mentorship program kicks off for Armenian young adults

On the Town: Mentorship program kicks off for Armenian young adults
The New Connect event chairs, from left, Lusine Daglian and Deanna Nalbandian, founder Alice Chakrian, Archbishop Hovnan Derderian and Nerouj Chair Silvana Vartanian. (Joyce Rudolph / Glendale News-Press)

A new organization has been created for Armenian young adults to network and access resources that will assist them on their career paths or help them choose a career.

It's called Nerouj, which is a compound word that originated from the Armenian words "Nerkin" and "ouj," meaning inner strength.

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Its mission is to lead Armenian young adults in reconnecting with the church through education, inner support and strengthening of their identity to keep the Armenian heritage alive and give purpose through inner spirituality and morality.

Founded in November, the group held its first event, titled "The New Connect," in mid-February .

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It featured a panel discussion with area professionals followed by a question-and-answer period and then a breakout session that allowed members to network with each other as well as panel participants.

The three-hour program was held at the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church in Burbank.

The moderator was Brian Kabateck, a consumer attorney and founding and managing partner of Kabateck Brown Kellner LLP.

He is the son of Glendale resident Glady Kabateck and the late Jack Kabateck.

Panelists were Glendale financial adviser Raffi H. Kendirjian; cardiologist Dr. Antreas Hindoyan; Jacqueline Chooljian, magistrate judge for the central district of California; songwriter/music producer Joe Khajadourian; and Wendy Bendoni, chair of the fashion marketing department at Woodbury University.

Organization leaders said they wanted to create a platform for young professionals to come together and network with each other and pay it forward by mentoring the next generation of high school and college students as well as other emerging professionals who are still pondering a career choice, said Silvana Vartanian, Nerouj chair.

Attendees ranged in age from 18 to 30.

"It's so important to make these connections at a younger age," Vartanian said. "I have a great diverse team of young professionals and college students and through their feedback they have been able to pinpoint exactly the best way to gather this group."

Future events will be smaller focus groups centered around specific professions, lectures and casual mixers for networking.

"Our group name stands for inner strength in Armenian, so this program is meant to bring forth their inner strength in mentoring, helping and being active participants within our community," Vartanian said.

Other committee leaders are Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church of North America; Father Khajag Shahbazian, event chair Deanna Nalbandian and advisers Alice Chakrian and Rosette Kaloustian.

Archbishop Derderian said he was inspired to see the youth of the diocese and this community so engaged in projects and missions that guide the well-being of the community.

"There is so much destruction in today's life and today's community, so to see this kind of event, it gives us hope, joy and inspiration," he said. "I was amazed to witness the wisdom and leadership capability of our youth to organize such an event."

The archbishop said he marveled that the event drew close to 200 youth, and they actively participated.

"The panelists were superb, and moderator Brian Kabateck was amazing," he said. "The people in attendance showed a great interest to be part of this mission — Nerouj — which means the inner strength. All of us have an inner strength. All we have to do is share it with one another."

Gala benefits Family Promise homeless project

Family Promise of the Verdugos is planning its fourth annual gala, titled "Coming Up Roses" on March 24 at the Rose Bowl Stadium.

Proceeds will go to Family Promise programs to help homeless families regain their independence.

Providence St. Joseph Medical Center will receive the Impact Award for its commitment to the homeless population in Burbank and surrounding areas.

In addition, the Hands On, Hearts In Award will be presented to to Family Promise of the Verdugos founder Jenny Greene Smith.

This honor is given to an individual or organization that has made a significant impact on homelessness.

There will be a dinner, silent auction and VIP tour of the stadium, including the new 1922 Locker Room Museum.

For tickets, visit FamilyPromiseVerdugos.org or call (818) 847-1547.

Photographer partners with theater to show works

The Antaeus Theatre Co. is becoming a great community partner.

A year ago, the theater moved to its downtown Glendale location at 110 E. Broadway in the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center.

The company invites local artists to display works in the lobby. Recently paintings by Grey James were shown.

Now on view is a small exhibition of photographs by Arlene Vidor, an advocate for the arts and historic preservation in the city.

Antaeus is presenting Harold Pinter's play "In the Hothouse" through Sunday. Catch both if you can.

JOYCE RUDOLPH can be reached at rudolphjoyce10@gmail.com.

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