After middle school students in Tacoma, Washington, were heartbroken to find their bonsai collection vandalized, bonsai enthusiasts across the country stepped in to help them fund their club’s future. A note from Barry Figard, Baltimore Bonsai Club President:
I received several emails from members who saw the news about the vandals destroying the Bonsai trees at Gray Middle School in Tacoma, Washington, which were going to be sold at their annual auction to provide funding to continue the Bonsai Club at the school. The school provides no funding. Members were “heartbroken” and wanted to know what we could do.
The Club needed $500.00 to continue since the trees could not be sold. I thought the right thing to do was reach out and help these students be able to continue growing in the art. I contacted clubs in the Potomac Bonsai Association as well as members of The Baltimore Bonsai Club to make them aware of the situation and put together a plan to help them. I directed Baltimore Bonsai Club to send $500.00 immediately to the school to help them get the money they needed.
I then asked other Clubs to donate to the school directly, as trying to co-ordinate this would take too much time. I spoke with Martin Brown, the teacher who is running the Club, about what we were going to do. He was thrilled that people on the other side of the country were interested and cared enough to help this little Bonsai Club. He sent thank you notes from students.
The point of this story is that there was a really bad event and we responded to this need to help with a positive resolve. When you are in a position to help with a need and do so, it is very gratifying. It taught the kids, who were devastated at first, that good things can happen with bad situations. I think this reflects very well on the Bonsai Community and I am very, very glad we were able to help.