04 Dec, 2019

Teen Ambassador Raises Funds to Sponsor Three Families Growing Trees in Backyard Nurseries

By Jason Sohigian

“WE DID IT – THANKS TO YOU!” That was the victorious headline of an email sent out by teenager Harry Nicholas Bonomo last month. Harry is a member of St. Gregory the Enlightener Armenian Church in Westchester, NY, a member of the ACYOA Juniors, and a freshman at Brunswick School in Greenwich, CT.

He traveled to Armenia this summer for the first time where he was introduced to ATP while planting a tree in memory of his beloved grandpa Harry Keleshian. The young Harry had heard about how Armenia lost much of its tree cover in the late 1980’s from his grandfather, who was traveling there after the earthquake.

Harry decided he wanted to get involved, and he volunteered to raise funds to support families growing trees for ATP’s backyard nursery program. “What I liked about supporting the backyard nursery program,” explains Harry, “is the combination of providing jobs for a family while helping the environmental at the same time.”

On September 22, Harry organized an informational booth at the St. Gregory’s church picnic, and raised enough funds to sponsor three families for a year.

“Together, we raised enough funds for St. Gregory’s to provide three families with a business for income in remote villages where jobs are scarce, all while protecting the environment through growing trees,” wrote Harry in a note to the donors. “We are proud to have our church on the list of communities changing people’s lives while sustaining the environment.”

“I met Harry in Armenia, and I knew right away he was going to do great things. The first thing he said was, ‘I want to be a volunteer ambassador,’ and the next thing we knew he was planning this fundraiser,” exclaims Executive Director Jeanmarie Papelian.

Harry is involved in a number of activities including his school’s junior varsity golf team, Junior United Way of Greenwich, and the Horizons Reading Program. On the 100th anniversary of the genocide, Harry and his brother Thomas raised funds to renovate a classroom in Vanadzor region in honor of their late grandfather.