65 years ago, ten men created what would prove to be a clean, safe and loving home for Fresno area seniors. The California Armenian Home on East Kings Canyon Ave. originally served only the local Armenian population, but that soon changed and now it's a home for all.
George Juarez has worked at the Armenian Home for 42 years. He started as a dishwasher as a teen, and most recently served as Director of Operations. He started at a time, when the majority of its Armenian residents had immigrated to the United States as survivors of the Armenian Genocide. "They went through time and survived the Genocide and I couldn't figure out why they were having tattoos on their wrists and the side of their ears. So they explained to me they were escaping from camps," says Juarez.
But Juarez will soon have a new role. He set to be Executive Director of the Villas, a big expansion at the home.
Lucy Kazanjian Grayson serves as Board President of this non-profit Home. She says the expansion was a part of the original plans 65 years ago, and the board has worked hard to raise the funds to make it happen. "When I drive into the parking lot, I'm just like 'Oh my gosh. I can not believe this is happening '," Grayson says. "We did market studies and we found there really is a need for it in Fresno."
The home which now provides independent and assisted living housing for its nearly 150 residents, will soon expand to include 110 more housing units, 12 villas and a 36 bed memory unit. "If you come here .. You can stay for whatever your life is. And the whole idea is that you're not coming here to die– you're coming here to live," Grayson says.
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