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Kim hailed as La Mirada’s helper supreme

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LA MIRADA – Five years ago, then 15-year-old Jun Kimand his mother, Young Mi, emigrated from South Korea to the United States to be with his father and live here. Kim didn’t speak English, but five years later he’s become one of La Mirada’s best volunteers. He’s so good that he recently won the spirit of service award in the general category of the city’s Volunteers in Action program. “In our our Helping Hands program, he volunteered for almost every single event,” said Roberta Gonzales, a community services coordinator for the city. “We’ll have an emergency and he’s always the one we can call. He’ll make time in his schedule.” Kim also is a hard worker, Gonzales said. “He always works to the maximum,” she said. “He doesn’t like to stand there and doesn’t want to take breaks. You almost have to force him to stop and get some water.” Kim, who graduated from La Mirada High School in 2004, started volunteering in February after hearing about the city’s volunteer program from a neighbor. He was looking for a way to volunteer to help him get into a four-year university. He now attends Cerritos College as a pre-med student. “My first mission was to clean up the garage of a senior citizen,” he said. In the Helping Hands program, volunteers – typically high school and college students – go in and clean up or do minor repairs on the homes of local low-income seniors. And he liked the experience so much that he soon was going on most of the events. They’re held about once a month. “I felt such accomplishment,” he said. “It’s people helping people. This country and city provide so much.” He also has helped deliver the city’s new resident packages. Kim said he was surprised to receive the award from the city. “I did nothing special,” he said. “I just did what everybody else is doing.” His father, Bum H. Kim, emigrated to the United States in 1993. He came at age 43 because he wanted to study acupuncture. He now is a doctor of acupuncture. In South Korea, he was considered too old to change his career. He raised and sold chickens there. In 2000, he brought his wife and son to live with him. Kim also wants to become a doctor, in part because of doctors he saw as a child. “I had a number of injuries and I was impressed with the way they treated me,” he said. “\ save people.” Kim said he plans to transfer to a four-year university, possibly UC San Diego next fall and eventually would like to attend UCLA Medical school. But he also wants to continue volunteering, if he can. “As long as I’m going to school here and if I have the time, it would be no problem to help,” he said. [email protected] (562)698-0955, Ext. 3022last_img read more