SOAR - Montebello Chapter

PO Box 1182
Montebello, CA 90640

The colorful history of Montebello dates back to the days of the Franciscan Missionaries, early 1847. Originally an agricultural community, Montebello boasted having the ideal climate, productive soil, and an abundance of water. From the turn of the century and through the 1920’s, the area was famed for its production of flowers, vegetables, berries, and fruits. On October 19, 1920, the city was incorporated and its name officially changed to “Montebello”. In 1917, oil was discovered in the Montebello hills which dramatically changed the face of city. Montebello became part of the SOAR family in March of 2016. Located in the Southwestern area of the San Gabriel Valley and East of downtown Los Angeles, Montebello is home to the oldest Armenian community in Los Angeles County dating back to the late 1940s. Its unique history and tradition of diversity rank the city among other great pockets of Southern California. Many people that are a part of the Montebello Armenian community are descendants of the displaced peoples from Russia during the aftermath of WWII. An Armenian American soldier called General George Mardikian, can be credited with helping make Montebello the first Armenian enclave in Southern California. They settled in Montebello and started building churches, schools, and Armenian centers; making Montebello’s Armenian community the oldest and one of the most known communities of Armenians in the United States. It has been the home of many notable Armenians in politics, music, art and entertainment including Hagop Sandaldjian, Ken Davitian, Hosharian brothers and Jack Hadjinian.

The Armenian Community of Montebello is involved in the following organizations: Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), Armenian Youth Federation (AYF), Armenian Relief Society (ARS), ARF Badanegan (junior organization of AYF), and Homenetmen. Through the Sister City Program, the City of Montebello has created ties with several cities throughout the world to establish and strengthen partnerships between the communities. In 2005, it officially became the twin City of Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. The City of Montebello strives to promote cultural understanding and stimulate economic development.

Montebello is also home to the Holy Cross Armenian Apostolic Cathedral and the Armenian Genocide Martyrs Monument. Unveiled in April 1968, the monument is the oldest and largest memorial in the United States dedicated to the martyrs of the Armenian Genocide. As part of the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, thousands of Armenians from the Greater Los Angeles area and American politicians gather in Montebello at the memorial every year on April 24 and lay flowers to the victims of the genocide.


Arpi Khodagulyan

Arpi Khodagulyan is a Behavior Therapist for children who have been diagnosed with Autism. While she was born and raised in Southern California, her heritage is Armenian. Arpi grew up in an Armenian household with parents who made sure to teach Armenian traditions and values. She recently graduated from Brandman University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Criminal Justice at the University of Southern California (USC). Her interest in the field of psychology, especially Applied Behavior Analysis, stems from her passion in working with children and helping them achieve the goals they have set for their lives. Arpi looks forward to helping make a difference in the lives of individuals and families who have been impacted by life changing events.

Marina Azaryan
Vice President

Marina Azaryan graduated from California State University Los Angeles with Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Marketing. She has been working as a brand ambassador for over 5 years and enjoys serving others. She was born and raised in Armenia and is fluent in Armenian, Russian, and English. Knowing that many Armenian communities are in need, giving back to them has always been a priority for her. She believes that being a member of SOAR is a great way to be involved in humanitarian activities that support vulnerable populations by providing all the resources needed.

Aram Gorian

Aram Gorian graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a B.S in Finance, Real Estate, & Law (FRL). He serves as a Financial Associate at a small business in the Food & Beverage Industry that serves schools throughout the Los Angeles County. Aram plans to pursue his MBA with a focus in finance in the near future. He was born and raised in Montebello, California where he later attended Armenian Mesrobian School for his high school years. Aram has been an active member in many non – profit Armenian organizations focused on faith, children, and culture. His inspiration comes from his motive and joy of giving back to the community. He currently resides in Whittier, California with his family.

Ari Bezjian

Ari Bezjian graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a major in Finance, Real Estate & Law. He is currently a Credit Products Associate II at Bank of the West in the Real Estate Industries Division. Before joining Bank of the West, he worked at UBS in their New York and Orange County offices. Ari’s passion for helping his community extends from his work in many non-profit Armenian organizations and as a Boy Scout. Ari earned the title of Eagle Scout after designing and completing necessary renovations at his church. He has a passion for helping others and hopes to use his knowledge and skills to help children in orphanages in Armenia.