fostering growth

Nor Luyce’s comprehensive 3-stage mentorship program is transforming the future for young girls in Gyumri by offering them expansive opportunities for personal and professional development.

“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.”
— Steven Spielberg

Our Story

In 2009, Shogher Mikaelyan decided to start documenting historical houses in Gyumri. When father and son, Richard and Ara Chakerian, visited Gyumri and were introduced to Shogher, she decided to take them to a local orphanage. It was there that a young woman approached them and said, “Today was a great day but it’s really too bad because you will leave and forget about us.” Shogher felt compelled to make a promise to the young girl that she would come back. Despondently the young girl replied, “Don’t make promises you can’t keep”.

The funder of the orphanage expressed the great need the girls had for mentoring. It was at that moment that Richard and Ara asked Shogher if she would join them in leading this effort. Shogher began researching mentorship programs and found Big Brother/Big Sister concept useful and compelling. After four months of research, Shogher created Nor Luyce and by January 2010, she, Richard and Ara had created a new vision for the girls of Gyumri.

“I kept my promise and a couple of months later I went back to the orphanage to see the young girl. I told her about Nor Luyce and asked her to join us. She began coming to the meetings and now there are many girls with the same determination — from all different families and backgrounds. These girls have grown in their new home and have become the family of Nor Luyce.”
— Shogher Mikaelyan, Executive Director

Our team

Co-Founder & Executive Director

Shoghik Mikaelyan

Shoghik has been the Executive Director of Nor Luyce since 2009. She is a Gyumri native, with an advanced degree in psychology. In addition to Armenian, she speaks English, Spanish, and Russian. Shoghik has received her second MA in Counseling and Human Services as a Fulbright student in Lehigh University. In her spare time, she likes to play classical piano.

Mentoring Phase Coordinator

Karine Harutyunyan

Karine received her bachelor’s in psychology at Shirak State University and is currently pursuing a MA degree in psychology at the same university. Karine joined Nor Luyce in 2018 as a volunteer mentor to support an adolescent girl. Karine has conflict management, communication, and public speaking skills.

PR & Evaluation Manager

Arpi Hambaryan

Arpi got her bachelor’s as a journalist at Shirak State University. She is currently pursuing an MA in the service department at Yerevan State University. Arpi has been a part of Nor Luyce since 2015 as a volunteer mentor. Her passions include video and photo editing, web design and graphic design. Her hobbies include listening to music, and reading. Her goal is to have stable, self-confident, and resilient youth in our community.

Group coordinator

Naira Kocharyan

Naira has a degree in biology and pedagogy. In 2020 Naira joined Nor Luyce as a volunteer mentor and later as staff. She has skills in project management, teamwork, communication, and networking. Naira is also creative and is not afraid of a challenge. Her dream is to see stable, developed, goal-oriented, and self-confident young women in the community.

Our Board

Co-Founder and Chair

Ara Chakerian

Ara Chackerian is an entrepreneur, angel investor, and dedicated philanthropist. Ara has more than two decades of experience in building healthcare companies. Ara’s executive level operating experience includes Chief Executive Officer of BMC Diagnostics, Executive Chairman of PipelineRx and TMS Health Solutions, and Executive Vice President at PSS/World Medical, an international medical products distributor.

Noushig Hovhannisian

Noushig Hovhannesian was first introduced to Nor Luyce as a Birthright volunteer in 2010. Noushig’s volunteer work with children’s institutions in Armenia helped her recognize the deep importance of Nor Luyce’s mission. Noushig holds a BS and MBA from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA. She is a full-time commercial real estate professional in Philadelphia and a member of Philadelphia’s Artemis Chapter of the Armenian Relief Society.

Rachel Onanian Nadjarian

Rachel has been an active contributor to several Armenian communities in the diaspora and actively engaged with efforts in Armenia for most of her life. Most recently, she served as Executive Director of the Armenian International Women’s Association. Rachel came to AIWA after 10+ years as an Independent Consultant where she helped solve strategic marketing, fundraising, and management challenges for international and national non-profits and start-ups.

Tania Eprem

Tania started her career as a sales manager in Brooklyn, NY. Feeling unfulfilled and missing the “spark” she once had, she left her job and moved to Gyumri in October 2019. After discovering the hurdles that Armenian women face every day, she became passionate about women’s rights and education and joined Shogher at Nor Luyce that November. Together, Shogher and Tania streamlined Nor Luyce’s operations and finances and laid the groundwork for their strategic plan and expansion. Tania returned home in March 2020 and now works as Operations Manager for the Alliance for Middle East Peace


Armand Charkhutian

Armand had the pleasure of being introduced to Nor Luyce during his stay in Gyumri while volunteering with Birthright Armenia in the winter of 2020. During this time, he grew passionate about advancing Nor Luyce’s mission and continuing to support the growth of the organization in providing youth in Gyumri with the resources necessary to enhance their personal and professional development. As a part of the board, Armand will be responsible for Nor Luyce’s financial affairs as they look to expand their footprint within Armenia. Armand earned his B.S. in Finance from Rutgers University and currently works in healthcare financial planning and analysis in New Jersey.

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