As many of you know, the Richman-Hensel family lived in San Diego from 2001-2011. Shortly after their arrival, Jeremy and Jennifer began training in Kung Fu and Tai Chi at White Dragon Martial Arts. From her birth in 2006, Avielle was a frequent visitor to the White Dragon school in Mira Mesa, where her mother Jennifer was a student and her father Jeremy was a long-time instructor. Sifu Ming Lau is the Chief Instructor of the Mira Mesa school where they trained, and he knows the family well and was a big part of their lives during these years.
After learning that Avielle was one of the 26 victims of the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and becoming aware of the creation and mission of the Avielle Foundation, Sifu Lau was determined to take action to demonstrate his support. Each spring, students from all nine White Dragon locations participate in a series of voluntary seminars that give them an opportunity to learn new material and advanced techniques. Sifu Lau decided to teach a seminar and donate the entire tuition cost to the Avielle Foundation. Also volunteering their time and expertise were Tai Sifu Don Tittle of the La Mesa school, Sifu Juan Padilla of the Chula Vista school, along with many other instructors.
The seminar took place at White Dragon’s Mira Mesa location on Saturday March 9, and the combination of attendees and other direct donations raised over $10,000 $15,000 for the Avielle Foundation. We have heard stories of many Acts of Kindness by the participants; these included one student that donated tuition for four others that could not otherwise afford to attend, and another child who was given the option of a lavish birthday party or attending the seminar- they chose the seminar! Another example comes from a young student who wanted to donate to the foundation, but lacked the money to do so. Determined to find a solution, they raided their piggy bank and sold personal items to raise funds for their donation.
This is an excellent example of how a small group of people used their skills, knowledge, and goodwill to motivate their community to a powerful act of friendship and kindness. Jennifer and Jeremy wish to express their profound gratitude towards each of the Sifus, instructors and students that made this event possible.