Ararat Home: Those Who Shine For The Benefit Of Others - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Anchor Araksya Karapetyan

Ararat Home: Those Who Shine For The Benefit Of Others

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George Deukmajian George Deukmajian
Los Angeles, CA -

One of the reasons I was so eager to move back to Los Angeles was to come back home and get involved in my community. It's always an honor to be asked to emcee events around town. Although sometimes it can be overwhelming with the hours I work and my hectic schedule, but after every single event I walk away feeling blessed to have gotten involved and thankful that I got to meet so many wonderful people along the way.

This weekend Ararat Home: http://ararathome.org/  celebrated another great accomplishment - the opening of the new wing- the home skilled nursing facility expansion. Close to 600 people gathered to join in on the festivities. The theme of jubilee dinner and dance was - "The Brightest Stars are Those Who Shine for the Benefit of Others" – what an important message and excellent reminder that there is nothing more fulfilling and purposeful than to help others and be a part of something bigger than ourselves. After all, that's what being a part of a community is all about.

It has taken about two and a half years and a lot of hard work to turn this dream into a reality.

For those who aren't familiar with the Ararat Home, it came to exist 65 years ago in Los Angeles. The goal of this non-profit from the beginning was to provide the best care possible for elderly Armenians here in Southern California.

Since 1949 Ararat Home has grown, in its size and outreach. Over the years, there have been many achievements, including the following honors: the Ararat nursing facility, as well as, the Convalescent Hospital received a 5 star rating from Centers for Medicaid-Medicare Services. Also, the Nursing Facility is listed in US World News and Report as one of the top nursing homes in the country.

Patient-care facilities are at two separate campuses: Mission Hills and Eagle Rock. The Eagle Rock location only has a convalescent hospital, while the Mission Hills location has an assisted living center, a nursing facility, the Sheen Memorial Chapel (a non-denominational chapel), the George Deukmejian Grand Ballroom, a number of meeting rooms which serve as gathering places for the community, and the Ararat-Eskijian Museum filled with art, music, literature, culture and history of the Armenian people.

While visiting the Ararat Home last week I had a flashback to my last trip to Armenia. In 2006, I visited an elderly home in Gyumri. I am not sure what led me there… perhaps it was just my curiosity.

I remember… the halls were cold, empty, silent.... everything was so plain, colorless, and sad...

I soon realized this assisted living facility was combined with the psychiatric ward. They were in the same building and many of the common areas were shared by all- which as you can imagine created a rather unusual environment.

As I walked around and visited with some of the people, I realized it wasn't only a place for the elderly or the mentally ill, it was also home to those who had nowhere else to go. This blending of people and circumstances was odd. I later came to find out, it wasn't always that way. After the earthquake in 1988, with lack of resources and space the assisted living facility and psychiatric ward had come together.

While visiting the Ararat Home I can't even express how impressed I was with the facility and care. The campus itself is massive and beautiful. But for me… the greatest impact was the difference in how I felt during my visit there. Laughter and voices bounced off the walls… there was color and life… Every detail and convenience has been thought of.  It's clear the elderly here are enjoying their golden years…with independence, dignity and purpose.

I realize my two experiences are extreme… but perhaps for that reason I am able to appreciate the Ararat Home even more now. It is truly a blessing in the community.

When I drove away that night and headed home, I had a smile on my face and I felt so grateful and proud, that the Armenian-American community has created a facility that's impacting so many people's lives in such a positive way.  To respect our elders and provide them with comfort during their sunset years is of the utmost importance. It was inspiring to see so many people drawn to this genuine cause and eager to support the Ararat Home.

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