LOS ANGELES-On March 23, 2019, the Hidden Road Initiative (HRI) hosted its Tenth Anniversary Celebration. The event brought together the organization’s former volunteers, sponsors, supporters, and members and various community organizations to mark ten years of connecting roads and bridging issues between Armenia and the world.
The evening was marked by unforgettable performances by various artists of the Armenian-American diasporan community. Ara Dabandjian and Mahsa Ghassemi captivated guests with their beautiful renditions of traditional Armenian folk songs. Lernazang Ensemble performed various folk Armenian group dances, and were joined by audience members eager to participate in the dancing. And DJ Arman kept guests on the dance floor throughout the evening with a combination of upbeat Armenian and American songs.
The Hidden Road Initiative is a non-profit organization that provides educational and leadership opportunities to underprivileged students living in remote villages in Armenia. Since its founding in 2009 by Nanor Balabanian, HRI has conducted eight educational summer camps in remote villages in Armenia and Artsakh; renovated, fully furnished and launched kindergartens for two villages; provided internet access and opened a computer lab for an underserved school; built playgrounds for two schools; and provided thirty college scholarships to underprivileged students from these villages.
The energy and innovation that define the Hidden Road Initiative were ever-present throughout the evening. Nanor Balabanian spoke to guests at the start of the night, explaining how HRI emerged from one fateful trip to Armenia that she took as a college student, when she fortuitously began implementing development projects as a way of helping her homeland in whatever capacity she could. Since then, HRI has expanded and flourished to include hundreds of volunteers and campus chapters across the University of California system. Balabanian acknowledged several individuals who have been central to HRI's success with certificates of recognition, including Anahit Yeremian, the Donald A. Strauss Foundation, the Aghajanian family, Shant Panos, Alexandra Basmadjian, the Hakobyan family, and the Balabanian family.
In her remarks, Balabanian stated, “I am grateful to be working alongside amazing, empowered and dedicated young women, both in Armenia and abroad, and look forward to the next 10 years!”
HRI expresses sincerest gratitude to the generous contributions from Ara the Rat, Henry's House of Coffee, Kooyrigs Sisters, Sousan's Boutique, Tigranakert Meat Market, Kis Kreations, and Pink Orchid Bakery Café. The celebration was held at the IMX Auto Group Showroom in Burbank. All proceeds from the event will directly support HRI's future development projects in Armenia.
The Hidden Road Initiative is a tax-exempt, charitable non-profit organization that provides educational and leadership opportunities to underprivileged students living in remote villages in Armenia. Log on to www.hiddenroadinitiative.org to learn more.