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ACYOA Central Council 2013-2014

Jonathan Pelaez

Ani Grigorian

Vice Chair

Shant Paklaian


Chelsea Kress


Daniel Zalinov

Chapter Relations

Armen Terjimanian

Public Relations

Adrienne Ashbahian

Jennifer Morris

Youth and Youth Ministries Coordinator

Jonathan Pelaez, Chair
St. Mary, Livingston, NJ Email Icon

Jonathan Pelaez is currently a Client Financial Analyst at Universal McCann. Before being elected Chairman of the ACYOA Central Council, he served as Treasurer from 2012-2013. He has been active in the Armenian Church from a young age, currently serving as Sub-Deacon at St. Mary in Livingston, N.J.

After reactivating his parish's ACYOA Seniors chapter after nearly 30 years of inactivity, Jonathan served as Seniors Chairman for four years, and currently holds the position of Vice-Chairman. Jonathan traveled to Armenia in 2009 on the Armenia Service Program (ASP), to Jerusalem in 2012, and takes part in Diocese Leadership Conferences, Regional Conferences and St. Nersess Mission Trips. He is also a counselor at St. Nersess conferences and St. Vartan Camp. In 2009, Jonathan served on the General Assembly and Sports Weekend Committee and was also elected to the Nominating Committee for the 2009 General Assembly.

Jonathan graduated with a BS in Accounting from William Patterson University in Wayne, NJ in 2011.

Ani Grigorian, Vice Chair
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Beginning at age eight, Ani attended Hye Camp and St. Vartan Camp as a camper and later served as a staff member at both camps as well. Over the years Ani has also interned with the Armenian Assembly of America in Washington D.C. as well as worked as Intern Coordinator. She has attended numerous St. Nersess Summer Conferences, and has travelled extensively in the United States representing her church and ACYOA at various retreats, workshops and leadership conferences.

Ani has traveled to Armenia three times over the past eight years; the first, visiting hospitals and orphanages, the second, with the Armenia Service Program in 2008 and most recently, volunteering for 6 months in 2011 with Birthright Armenia and the Armenian Volunteer Corps.

Ani graduated in 2010 from Carthage College with a B.A. and double major in Communication and Public Relations and minored in Business Administration. She currently is living in Chicago, IL, working in Online Marketing. While living there, she has continued to stay closely involved with her home chapter and parish, as well as with the Chicagoland area churches.

She is passionate about her church, her heritage and her people. She hopes to carry out that same passion as she serves the ACYOA on Central Council.

Shant Paklaian, Treasurer
St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church, Chicago, IL Email Icon

Shant Paklaian is an active member of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church of Chicago, Ill., and comes from a long line of family involved in the church. He spent his youth attending Armenian School, Sunday school, Hye Camp as both a camper and counselor and serving at the altar and attending.

In recent years, Shant has been a lively member of the Armenian Church and dedicated young leader. He has attended ACYOA Leadership Conferences and Regional Retreats. He was elected Chairman of both the 2010 and 2013 Midwest Annual Poon Paregentan Dinner Dances, which hosted over 300 people. After attending General Assembly and Sports Weekend for the past several years, Shant made it a priority for Chicago to host the 2012 ACYOA General Assembly and Sports Weekend where he served as Co-Chairman. In 2007 Shant participated in an Eastern Diocese pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He also plans on traveling to Armenia summer 2013 with the FAR Young Professionals.

As a seasoned young professional in the Armenian Church, Shant is privileged to serve on the ACYOA Central Council. He looks forward to sharing the leadership skills he developed as a parishioner of St. Gregory and bringing those skills to national level. Shant graduated with a B.S. in Construction Management from Bradley University. He currently works as an Assistant Project Manager for a Construction/Program Management firm on assignment at O'Hare International Airport's ongoing Capital Improvement Program.

Chelsea Kress, Secretary
St. Leon Armenian Church, Fair Lawn, NJ Email Icon

Chelsea Kress grew up in St. Leon Armenian Church in Fair Lawn, N.J. After graduating from Sunday School she started serving as a teacher for the Nursery Class, which she continues to do to this day. Chelsea has been a longtime member of the ACYOA starting with St. Leon's Juniors group. In her last years as an ACYOA Junior member she served as Vice-Chairman and then Chairman. After making a transition to the ACYOA Seniors group, Chelsea became the Chairman of her chapter in 2010 and again since February 2013. Since joining the Seniors, she has participated in Leadership Conferences, Chapter Workshops, Retreats, General Assemblies and Sports Weekends.

Chelsea has attended St. Vartan Camp since the age of 13. First as a camper, then as a C.I.T., eventually working her way to head lifeguard. St. Nersess Summer Conferences have also played a part in developing her faith.

Chelsea graduated from William Paterson University in New Jersey in May 2013 with her bachelors in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. She is a member of the Communication Honors Society.

Daniel Zalinov, Chapter Relations
St. Sarkis Armenian Church, Charlotte, NC Email Icon

Daniel Zalinov is a member of St. Sarkis Armenian Church in Charlotte, N.C. Born in Moscow, he came to the United States at the age of 2. Since the early 2000s he has been an active participant in his local church, serving on the altar and reaching the level of sub-deacon. Daniel attended multiple St. Nersess Summer Conferences between 2004 and 2008, as well as a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2011. He had an integral part in reactivating the St. Sarkis chapter of the ACYOA and was subsequently elected as its chairperson in January 2012, The following February, St. Sarkis' Parish Assembly elected Daniel to the church's Parish Council.

Daniel graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2011 with a B.S. in Biology.

Armen Terjimanian, Public Relations
St. Mary Armenian Church, Washington, DC Email Icon

Armen Terjimanian has been an active member of St. Mary Armenian Church since he moved to the Washington, DC six years ago. He has served on the parish's ACYOA executive board the past four years in various roles, including Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Corresponding Secretary. Armen is also an ordained Sub-Deacon and usually spends his Sunday mornings serving on the altar during Badarak. He has also occasionally substituted as a Sunday School teacher. Armen's involvement with ACYOA also includes participating as a delegate at General Assembly, attending the Annual Leadership Conference and chapter/regional workshops, and traveling to the Holy Land on a pilgrimage in 2007. He also served as a St. Nersess Summer Conference counselor in 2009 and 2010.

Armen's involvement with the Armenian Church developed during his childhood while attending St. John's Armenian Church in Detroit, where he graduated from the parish's Sunday School. He served on the altar as an acolyte at St. John's. Armen also was involved with the University of Michigan's Armenian Students Cultural Association during his undergraduate years and completed internship programs with the Armenian Assembly of America and the AGBU.

Armen graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor's degree in Film & Video Studies and Political Science. He also received a Master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University. He currently works at Georgetown University as a Web Content Producer.

Adrienne Ashbahian, Programming
St. Leon Armenian Church, Fair Lawn, NJ Email Icon

Adrienne is a graduate of Philadelphia College of Pharmacy with her Doctorate in Pharmacy. She is currently a resident of Philadelphia and a member of the Sts. Sahag and Mesrob ACYOA Seniors chapter. Adrienne grew up at St. Leon Armenian Church in Fair Lawn, NJ and is a graduate of St. Leon's Sunday School.

Adrienne is a very dedicated member of the Armenian community. She spent thirteen summers at St. Vartan Camp, working her way from camper to Girls Head Counselor. Adrienne loves to give back to the home of St. Vartan Camp, the Ararat Center, by participating in Ararat Center Work Weekends. The St. Nersess Summer and Winter Conferences have had a profound impact on her faith, and she has been a proud supporter as a participant and counselor since 2001. Adrienne also helps to organize volunteers for and run both the St. Nersess Evening Under the Stars and the St. Nersess Annual Father's Day Picnic. Adrienne spent many of her spring breaks with the College Ministry's Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge program. She has attended many past ACYOA Leadership Conferences and served as a facilitator for the most recent conference in New York City. Adrienne considers herself very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem not once but twice, as well as travel to her homeland with the Armenia Service Program in 2005.

Inspired by her parent's leadership and commitment to the church, Adrienne is very much looking forward to bringing her devoted, faithful spirit to serving the ACYOA.

Jennifer Morris, Youth and Youth Ministries Coordinator
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Central Council Meetings

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