The Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center’s 2023 summer internship and community service program for high school and college students will be named “The Lily E. Jelalian Internship and Community Service Program,” thanks to a generous donation from Mr. Dean Vahan Shahinian, Esq., which will provide modest stipends to the interns and lunches for interns and volunteers.
The program will last for approximately six weeks, from June 19th to July 28th. High school and college students interested in applying may do so via the form here. Please submit your application by Sunday, May 28th to be considered for the program.
Ms. Lily Elizabeth Jelalian, Mr. Shahinian’s aunt, was a lifelong member of the Armenian Church, belonging to St. Leon Armenian Church in New Jersey, where her father, Rev. Fr. Vahan Jelalian, served as the parish’s priest from 1941–1947. She was a faithful and avid supporter of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America, St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, and other Armenian cultural and Christian causes. She read widely in Armenian art, history, and other subjects and worked through various avenues and means to promote effective ministry in the Church.
In her career, Ms. Jelalian was a school psychologist, who helped countless children with their various psychological and emotional needs. She pursued doctoral studies in educational psychology at New York University after receiving a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts from Douglas College. Her yearbook described her as “warm, sincere, ardent…about things big and little.”
In addition to being a loving and caring aunt involved in the life of her nephew, Ms. Jelalian played a mentoring role to the young Dean Shahinian, acquainting him with the activities and leaders of Armenian Christian and cultural organizations, many of whom she knew personally. She was a constant source of encouragement, offering advice and guidance to her nephew as he pursued his education, career, and concurrent involvement in Armenian Church affairs.
Mr. Shahinian recalls how his beloved aunt “sparked my interest in various Armenian subjects through our many discussions, buying me Armenian books to read and sending me subscriptions to Armenian publications. She made me feel comfortable and well informed about the Armenian Church, leading me to assume positions of responsibility on the Diocesan Council, as a representative on the National Ecclesiastical Assembly, and in other ways.”
It is Mr. Shahinian’s intention that through the internship and community service program sponsored in his aunt’s name, young Armenian Americans will see how their efforts and contributions are valued by the Church and community. He hopes that the program will provide them with experience and mentorship like that he received from his aunt, helping Armenian youth to feel at home and find their place in the Armenian Church and culture.