THRIVE is an AIWA-SF April project dedicated to highlighting Armenians who are doing amazing things in their personal and professional lives to better themselves and those around them. These individuals are inspiring, dynamic, innovative and interesting. Today, we feature Mrs. Taleen Khoury Moughamian
I was born in Philadelphia and was exposed to Armenian culture at a
young age through my family and attending the Armenian Sisters Academy, a daily Armenian school. After graduating college, I returned to Philadelphia and received my masters in nursing at the University
of Pennsylvania. I currently live in San Francisco with my husband and two young children, who were my inspiration for Parev Yerevan. I work
as a women’s health nurse practitioner in the student health clinic at San Francisco State University. I love my job because I really enjoy working with students and promoting health education in my community.
I stay involved in my local Armenian community as a member of San Francisco’s Hamazkayin Nigol Aghbalian Chapter and as a parent at the Krouzian-Zakarian-Vasbouragan (KZV) Armenian School in San Francisco, where my children attend. The last time I was in Armenia was in 2012, where I worked with the Children of Armenia Fund in the Armavir province, providing much-needed gynecologic care and health education
to women. I am hoping to return to Armenia soon with my entire family
so that we can continue our work helping Armenian women!
Since having my two children, one of our favorite pastimes has been
reading together. As an Armenian-American mother I wanted to do
everything I could to expose the Armenian language to my children, and
reading Armenian books to them was a fun way to do that. However, I
felt there was something missing. There were very few, if any,
engaging and age-appropriate books in Armenian to read with them. So,
I decided to write my own. Parev Yerevan is a fun and educational
board book written in Armenian that introduces young children to the
capital of Armenia. In January 2019, I launched a successful
crowdfunding campaign, and my book became fully-funded. Parev Yerevan
can be ordered through my website www.parevbooks.com and will be
available starting in June. I am currently working on a second book,
Parev Hayastan, which I am planning on publishing by next year.
– What is your life philosophy?
Be kind. Listen. Do your best. Have a positive attitude. Balance is key.
– What is your hope for the future?
I want more kids to be exposed to the Armenian language! Even before
children learn to speak, they are absorbing everything they hear.
Reading to children at a young age helps them to speak, cultivate
their imagination, build their language comprehension, and read early
themselves. Exposure to Armenian books at a young age sets the
foundation for understanding and speaking Armenian. However, this can
only happen if we have the books available. Secondly, my goal is to
foster a connection and positive image of Armenia at a young age. Our
country is young and I believe the future is bright. I want our kids
to grow up believing that and know that they can be a part of it. I’d
be so happy if this inspires children to want to visit the sites in
this book and be part of Armenia’s future!
For me, board books are a conversation starter, an introduction to
concepts, ideas, places, etc. In many ways, books are a way to open up
children to the world, and in this case, to Yerevan. Parents can use
the book to start discussing Armenia and Armenian culture and identity
with their children.
– What is your favorite thing about being Armenian?
My favorite thing about being Armenian is the sense of identity it has
given me. Armenia really belongs to all of us. Whether we live in
Armenia or are part of the Diaspora, we all have a role to play in its
development and future, and that’s part of what inspired me to get
young children excited about Yerevan and Armenia. It’s really special
to be a part of that.
It’s an extraordinary time in Armenia now. Armenia is a young nation
with so many talented and motivated young Armenians who want to make a
difference in our country. And you actually can! Because for a young
nation like ours, there is room for everyone’s talents and dreams!
– How has the Armenian culture shaped / influenced you?
Being Armenian has always been a huge part of me. My parents were born
and raised in Beirut, and growing up, everything I knew and everything
we did was Armenian! It’s still a huge part of my life. The first time
I went to Armenia I was 19, and after that experience, I knew it would
be an even bigger part of my life. I’ve been to Armenia now three
times, always as a long-term volunteer. My kids go to Armenian school,
we speak Armenian at home, I’m involved in my community, and I just
wrote my first children’s book. As Armenians, we all have to work
together and use our skills and talents to keep our culture alive!