The Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR) was founded in the fall of 2005 as a charitable organization that provides humanitarian relief to orphaned children living in Armenia. For nearly 15 years SOAR’s work has impacted thousands of children across a multitude of constructs, with the penultimate goal to provide institutionalized children with the same educational, emotional, medical, and social support as their non-institutionalized counterparts. Represented by 142 Chapters, 6 Junior groups, and more than 600 volunteers worldwide, SOAR supports 44 institutions – orphanages, boarding schools, day centers, and orphan summer camps – in Armenia, Artsakh, Javakh, Istanbul, Lebanon, and Syria. The common bond among members of the SOAR family is the unwavering belief that orphaned children and orphaned adults with disabilities represent the most vulnerable population of Armenian society.
SOAR is blessed with a dedicated and selfless cadre of supporters who share our short-term aspirations and long-term vision. We are faced with an enormous responsibility. Our greatest trepidation is not inadequacy or a belief that we are ill-equipped to assist the orphaned children we have embraced as our own, but rather that we have influence and power beyond measure. Our daily routine involves a compulsive desire to assist the abandoned, the sick, the impoverished, and the abused. As SOAR’s light shines, we hope that we are unconsciously giving our orphaned population the will to do the same.
SOAR’s Transitional Center will be the first of its kind in Gyumri – a residential setting for older teenage girls who have outgrown the traditional orphanage but who are not yet ready for independent living. At our new Center, these young women will go to college; cultivate a business; be enriched by our academic programs; appreciate volunteerism; learn essential life skills, including home and money management; build self-nurturance and self-confidence; and prepare themselves for emotional, fiscal, and professional independence. We look forward to our first graduating class!