SOAR - Philadelphia Metro Chapter
In November 2011, SOAR’s Executive Board voted unanimously to create a Chapter in Philadelphia. Although our Executive Board is based in the suburbs of Philadelphia, the consensus was that a Philadelphia Chapter would help streamline localized communication and fundraising efforts while simultaneously making our national and international efforts more efficient. The Philadelphia Metro Chapter encompasses the geographical areas of Philadelphia, Delaware, and South New Jersey.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Personally and professionally, Kim is a proven relationship builder. Currently a Business Development Center Manager at Roberts Reedman-Toll Honda in Downingtown, PA, she is responsible for enhancing customer relations and generating new business opportunities for its service department. For 15 years prior Kim coordinated the household placement of nannies and domestic caregivers, often on behalf of high profile clients. Born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Kim is a lifelong and active member of the Armenian community. The years spent at Camp Hayastan as a young camper and counselor, reinforced Kim’s love for the Armenian heritage that had been instilled at an early age by her parents. It also compelled her to pursue a Bachelor’s degree from Cabrini University in Early and Elementary Education. Throughout the years Kim has assumed numerous leadership roles on fundraising and event planning committees for various organizations, all of which helped groom her as a Board member of St. Gregory’s Armenian Church. Kim counts among her greatest experiences her recent travels to Armenia during which she visited several orphanages. She loved interacting with the children, one of whom she considers herself blessed to now call niece. Kim is eager to bring her professionalism, enthusiasm, creativity, and sincere commitment to the SOAR Board in support of accomplishing its mission.
Patrice Keshgegian (Sookiasian)
Patrice was born and grew up in the Philadelphia area. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Education in the area of Speech Correction from West Chester University and earned her certificate of clinical competence in Speech and Language Pathology. Patrice has worked as a speech and language pathologist for many years in numerous settings, including schools, hospitals, and in home care, with patients ranging in age from infancy to the elderly. She is an active member of St. Mark’s Armenian Catholic Church. Patrice and her husband Albert reside in Newtown Square, PA and have three sons and eight grandchildren. In 2013 Patrice and Albert travelled to Armenia to witness the baptism of one of their granddaughters in an ancient Armenian monastery.
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Alexandria Kazandjian is passionate about Armenia. Her love of storytelling and dedication to understanding cultures inspired her to pursue a B.A. in History at Temple University. Currently a student, Alexandria spends much of her time expanding her knowledge in and out of the classroom. She is a member of Wandering Studios, a film-making club, as well as Box of Balloons, an organization which provides birthday boxes to children in need. Alexandria is also actively involved in the AYF-YOARF. She currently serves on Central Membership Committee and is the Corresponding Secretary for the Philadelphia “Sebouh” Chapter. As the great-granddaughter of Armenian Genocide survivors, Alexandria is grateful for the opportunity to help orphans in Armenia.
Maria is a Vice Chair of Pennsylvania Film Industry Association, award-winning filmmaker, writer, SAG-AFTRA actress, and diversity and anti-bullying activist. She also hosts masterclasses with film industry professionals to help aspiring actors and filmmakers turn their dreams into full-time jobs, runs a network of educational centers, organizes annual charity events, and manages a food program that provides free healthy homemade-style meals to over 1200 children from struggling families.
Maria published a rhyming anti-bullying picture book that teaches kids to embrace the beauty of diversity, produced several commercials in support of early childhood education, and directed an award-winning musical short film “Fine Wine” that celebrates the youth of one’s spirit at any age.
Paul Vartan Sookiasian is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has worked in Armenia for media and development organizations and most recently served as one of the organizers of the World Congress on Information Technology 2019 Yerevan. He is the president of the board of HDIF-USA, a NGO which creates jobs and promotes regional economic development in Armenia through handmade crafts.
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Mary Beth Torunian
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