Who We Are
The Sarafian Foundation builds wellness in schools, families, and communities by providing dynamic and engaging no-cost social emotional learning instructional programs, mental health tools, and wellness resources.
Through leveraged partnerships with schools and community agencies, our programs aim to disrupt the status quo of mental health and wellness in our communities by providing engaging, hands-on, instructional programs to youth, families, and educational partners. We focus on self-awareness, self-management, social awareness--including digital citizenship and cyberbullying--relationship skills, and responsible decision-making as we build connections to wellness both now and in the future.
Our goal is to help children grow, heal, and learn to be physically and mentally healthy despite their circumstances. The Sarafian Foundation provides mental health care education, workshops, grants and/or scholarships, and after school expanded learning programs for all children and their families.
Our motto "ayo," the Armenian word for "yes," embodies the history of the Armenian people's great struggle and eventual success. Yes, we can rise above. Yes, we can grow. Yes, together, we will prosper.
Let us help you say "ayo!" to prosperity.
Father Mesrob was the parish priest at St. Vartan Armenian Church in Oakland, California for nearly twenty-five years until his death in 2009. Born Richard Kegham Sarafian in Fresno, California in 1933, Fr. Mesrob spent his entire life in service to others.
Fr. Mesrob’s path to the ministry took many turns before his ordination in 1984. As a teenager, he was active in the Armenian Church Youth Organization (ACYO), and developed a love for the Church. This connection only grew as he pursued a Bachelor’s degree in History at the University of California at Berkeley.
After graduating in 1954, Richard made the commitment to attend Seminary in Antelias and Jerusalem. After initially beginning his degree at the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he completed his religious studies at the Theological Union in Berkeley. There, he received a Master’s degree in Divinity in June 1960.
Although he remained active in the church as a Deacon, Richard did not feel ready for ordination to the Priesthood. Instead, he joined secular life. After trying his hand at real estate and stock broking, Richard decided to devote his time to a grocery business that he ran for over twenty years. He married and had three children, and he became a beloved member of community.
At the age of 50, Richard heard and answered God’s call to the Priesthood. Ordained Fr. Mesrob in 1984, he dedicated himself to God’s service and to the service of others.
He loved his work, his family, and his parishioners. He was deeply shaped by his experiences in the secular world. Along with the wisdom God imparted through him, he shared the lessons he learned along his long and winding path to the Priesthood. A man of the people, he was undeniably approachable and never judgmental. He saw the good in all people, and with humility, he recognized his own imperfections and shortcomings as he continued to seek and honor God through all his endeavors.
His kindness and openness to others, regardless of their circumstances or personal flaws, personifies the spirit of The Sarafian Foundation and guides its endeavors to help children and families. The Sarafian Foundation strives to honor his legacy of service to the community as it works to provide hope and assistance to those in need.