A Caring Heart Can Change the WorldAugust 1, 2022
Profiles in Excellence: Audrey Kim
At the age of six, Audrey Kim discovered her passion for the planet after reading a book about oil spills. The story had a profound impact on her understanding of marine mammals and her responsibility to protect the environment, and she was so inspired that she founded AUDREY4CARE – Care 4 Animals, Respect 4 the Earth. The mission of AUDREY4CARE is to increase awareness not only through communication of current environmental issues, but also by taking action in support of local animal rescue groups to help sick or endangered animals.
“As a young girl, the biggest challenge I have faced is when people say that we little ones are the next generation to make a difference for the future. But, No! I am not going to wait until then. I am going to do something right now. I might not be able to take huge steps right away but I am not going to just sit tight and think about what I will do later either,” explains Audrey.
In the summer of 2016, Audrey wrote a letter to a former President Obama to express her concern about the negative impact of oil spills on the environment, and she received a very encouraging letter back from him. Inspired by his letter, Audrey started raising funds for the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC), a non-profit organization in Laguna Beach, that saves seals and sea lions in our community. In addition, Audrey created YouTube videos highlighting endangered animals and the latest environmental news. Today, these educational videos are used to teach students in several schools in our community.
“When I started AUDREY4CARE, I wanted to talk about animals, the environment, and the planet, but I didn’t know where or how to start,” Audrey explains, “It can be overwhelming to think about how to improve the environment around you. However, when you start to feel the difference in taking small steps, you want to push yourself to keep doing a little more.” AUDREY4CARE received the National Winner of the President’s Environmental Youth Award in Washington D.C. and the Junior Philanthropist of the Year from Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, catching the attention of TV, radio, and national and local newspapers.
Audrey’s continued interests in making others aware of “care” led to the expansion of the project. She invited her classmates to help clean up the beach and raised funds to donate to Pacific Marine Mammal Center as a class project. Audrey voluntarily exhibited her own work showing her “care” in local libraries. Audrey also works closely with the Korean community and spoke at the Korean Business Forum on “care.”
The coronavirus couldn’t stop her incredible work. In 2021, Audrey entered the OC Health Care Agency Mask Message Contest to encourage people to wear masks, earning second place honors and $6,000 for her school. In addition, Audrey adapted her AUDREY4CARE Earth Day classes to a virtual format so she could continue to educate local children during the pandemic. Audrey also competed in the Rube Goldberg Machine challenge to encourage hand washing and her work was featured on the Rube Goldberg Machine YouTube channel.
“I sincerely believe that Audrey and her project, AUDREY4CARE shows the community how powerful the enthusiasm of a youth can be, and what remarkable tasks a young girl is capable of accomplishing,” said Krystyna Kim, Audrey’s mother. Currently, Audrey is collaborating with Dr. Deming (Vice President of Conservation Medicine and Science) to develop a portable x-ray table to help ocean mammals.
AUDREY4CARE’s long-term goal is to promote environmental awareness and encourage appropriate public involvement to treat the earth with respect, ultimately ensuring a healthy planet for future generations. She dreams of working as an environmentalist and work for a world organization like WWF. She wants to travel around the world to help wildlife, build or develop the necessary devices that the people need, and inform them about current environmental issues.
In addition to her many accomplishments outside of school, Audrey has participated in the IUSD’s Honor’s Concert. Science Fair, National History Day, PTA Reflections, and Broadcom Masters. Audrey fully commits to everything that she undertakes, understanding that creativity, resilience, and a positive attitude are the keys to her success now and in the future.
“Whenever I have a problem, I like to challenge myself and come up with original and creative ideas rather than waiting for someone else to solve it,” said Audrey. “The next generation will take the lead and change the world! Remember, start first and proceed. Never give up and always make decisions with a smile, even if it seems impossible.”
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