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.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Elza was born in Baku, Azerbaijan and relocated to Armenia with her family in 1988. After living briefly in Armenia and Russia, she moved and spent most of her life in the U.S. She graduated from John Carroll University with a B.A. in Marketing and later earned her M.B.A. with a concentration in International Business from Cleveland State University. After completing her M.B.A., Elza relocated to Armenia to volunteer, learn Armenian and reunite with her heritage. Having followed SOAR’s initiatives over the years and sponsoring a child through the program, she was thrilled to finally join the board upon her return from Armenia.
Anton was born in Nalband Armenia. He graduated from Yerevan State Art Institute in 1984. Anton moved to the US in 1988.
Currently Anton is CEO of A&A Medical Supply LLC, working with handicapped adults and children supplying their equipment needs.
Hripsime was born in Yerevan and moved to the United States when she was 13. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting/Finance and an MBA in Global Business; both degrees are from Cleveland State University. For the past several years Hripsime has been involved in non-profits and enjoys using her profession in this field.
Hripsime allocates a lot of her spare time volunteering and being on the parish council committee at St. Gregory of Narek Armenian Church.
By joining SOAR, Hripsime hopes to make a difference in innocent children’s lives.
Rimma earned her B.A. in Political Science/Pre-Law from Ohio University in May of 2013. She had also taken coursework in Diplomacy and Global Studies from the Miami University of Ohio. Rimma is currently a Candidate for Juris Doctor at The University of Akron School of Law.
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 most recently 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 now be a part of SOAR-Cleveland.
Lilit moved to the United States in 2016 to pursue her MA in Translation Studies at Kent State University, near Cleveland. She received her degree in Russian translation, although her practice language is currently Armenian. Within the last couple of months, Lilit has translated two books from English into Armenian. She is currently working on her third book, which is going to be published in September in Yerevan. In addition to book translation, Lilit is also considering audiovisual (subtitling) translation in the future.She wants to bring Armenian movies to the attention of the English-speaking world.
Back in Armenia, Lilit worked at the Ministry of Healthcare as a senior specialist, while simultaneously volunteering for United World Colleges (UWC) Armenia. As a member of UWC Armenia selection team, she contributed toward helping outstanding young people from all over Armenia to have an opportunity to manifest their talents and skills and follow their dreams in one of the amazing UWC colleges throughout the world.
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.