Los Angeles: The Mer Hooys program, operating out of the Nakashian Children’s Support Center in Yerevan, Armenia, is celebrating the high school graduation of 6 more participants. Of the 15 original girls who came to Mer Hooys from state institutions, boarding homes and seriously disadvantaged families, 12 have now graduated from high school. All are pursuing vocations in line with their career goals, or university educations in a wide range of fields, including medicine, social work, pedagogy, business management, culinary arts, architecture, and design. All the young women who have graduated and are pursuing their post-secondary education and careers continue to receive psychological, educational and career support from Mer Hooys staff, as needed.
“As Mer Hooys completes its fourth year of operation, the program continues to achieve outstanding success in saving young women in Armenia from the risk of domestic violence, prostitution and human trafficking – and guiding them into lives of fulfillment and self-sufficiency,” said Judge Adrienne Krikorian, Mer Hooys President. “Our graduates are respectful independent-thinking young women with strong academic foundations, and plans for vocations and careers to help ensure their ability to live independently or in a healthy family life.”
A few examples of the girls’ successes: While having minimal English skills upon entering Mer Hooys, one girl recently passed her college entrance exams with almost a perfect score in English language, and was admitted to the Yerevan University of Economics. Another recent graduate completed basic chef training and received her chef certificate. She hopes to open her own restaurant. A former graduate is now starting to accept clients as part of her training as a psychologist, while using English language skills gained at Mer Hooys working part-time at a café. Another former graduate is in medical school, and was selected as one of only a few students to participate in a medical exchange program in Estonia.
Mer Hooys also announced the launch of its new Transitional Program for the older teens and graduates with no family or suitable home to which they can return. Operating from a newly remodeled wing of the Nakashian Children’s Support Center, the Transitional Program offers practical tools to enable these girls to transition to independent and self-sufficient lives. Mer Hooys will not turn away any resident who has turned 18 and has no place to go. The girls receive modest financial support from Mer Hooys, and personal support from our professional staff. Each girl is expected to give back to the program by tutoring the younger girls.
AIWA-SF is a proud supporter of the English program at Mer Hooys, To learn more about AIWA, please visit www.aiwainternational.org. To get involved with the AIWA SF affiliate, please visit www.aiwasanfrancisco.com or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mer Hooys continues to achieve its mission of empowering young girls in Armenia ages 8 ½ to 22 from seriously disadvantaged backgrounds, by providing them with a safe home, comprehensive educational programs, tutoring, psychological counseling, life skills and job training, and, where possible, family counseling and reunification strategies. As the older girls graduate, Mer Hooys continues to admit younger girls to the program. And the graduates return regularly to the Nakashian Center, helping to guide and mentor the younger girls. Visit the Mer Hooys website www.mer-hooys.org or regular updates and to enjoy our Facebook feed.