SOAR - Cleveland Chapter

Armenians first came to Cleveland around 1906 when the American Steel and Wire Company, based in Worcester, MA, opened multiple new branches in the Cleveland area. The initial count during these years was about 50 Armenians in the Cleveland area, but by 1913 the number had doubled to 100. Many of these Armenians were young men with no families, who had come to the United States seeking employment and opportunity. By the early 1940s, the Armenian population of Cleveland had reached 1,500, and by 1960 it was at about 2,500. During the 1970s and 1980s, a small number of Armenians came from Iran and Lebanon. Today, the population remains approximately 3,000.The community is served by the St. Gregory of Narek Armenian Church and a weekly Armenian radio show, both of which actively promote the Armenian culture and history.


Inna Onofrei

Inna Onofrei (Saakova) is an Armenian-American composer and educator living in the
Cleveland area. Her catalogue includes music for piano, choir, chamber ensembles,
orchestra, voice, solo instruments, as well as electronic and electro-acoustic works.
Onofrei’s music has been performed in Russia, the United States of America, Belgium
and Greece.

Selin Arakelian

Selin has many years of experience in marketing and sales in the legal and medical fields. Selin earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Psychology from Cleveland State University and has also served in many volunteer roles.

Rimma Avanesyan

Rimma is a licensed attorney in Ohio. She practices law in Summit County. She received her bachelor’s degree from Ohio University, and her JD/MBA from the University of Akron.

Her experience in working in both the legal and political arenas is already impressive with work for William O’Neill for Congress, U.S. Representative Betty Sutton’s Office as a Summer Intern, and working for the Athens Public Defender’s Office as a Spring and Fall semester Intern.

Rimma has also had extensive volunteer experience from clothing drives, to helping with bakes sales, and helping with special needs events. She is happy to be a part of SOAR-Cleveland.

Anna Avitsian

Anna works as a project manager and designer for a sign company. She loves animals and was recently blessed to foster a one-eyed dog that was rescued from Artsakh. She also volunteers as the host for the Armenian Radio Show on WJCU 88.7 FM, every Sunday from 5-7 PM.

Tatevik Hakobyan

Tatevik earned her MD from Yerevan State Medical University after M. Heratsi, in Faculty of General Medicine. She went on to also earn her Master of Public Health from the American University of Armenia. Currently Tatevik is studying for the board exams to earn her MD here in the States. Tatevik has worked in Surgical Practice for the International Federation of Medical Students Association (IFMSA) in Lodz, Poland, and in a Therapeutic Internship also for the IFMSA in Hamburg, Germany.

After graduating from YSMU she went into Pediatric residency. During her few months of residency, she saw many helpless children in need; children whose parents just left them in the hospital. Tatevik heard about SOAR and immediately thought of the children in the hospital she had met. It is her desire and feels it is also her responsibility to help innocent children.

Tatevik is fluent in Armenian, Russian and English and is learning German as well.

Vahagn Ohanyan, MD

Vahagn earned his MD in General Medicine from Yerevan State Medical University in 2002 and in Cardiology from Internal Disease Propaedeutic (section of cardiology, YSMU) in 2004. In 2006, Vahagn earned his PhD in Morphology and Biochemistry from the Department of Medical Biology and Genetics, YSMU.

Vahagn has written numerous publications relating to cardiology and has worked as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Biology and Genetics at Yerevan State Medical University. He is currently a Research Assistant Professor at the Department of Integrative Medical Sciences, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine. Not only is Vahagn a member of the American Heart Association and the American Physiology Society, but he has been a member of the Armenian Medical Association since 2003.