Ms. Soon, or “Teacher Jenny” as she was known to the kids, was a National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA) volunteer for KYCC’s Elementary Tutorial Program for nearly four years. Inspired by the children’s art, she recently illustrated a Korean folktale book called The Skybird’s Rooster’s Dream Come True. 

Where is your hometown?

My hometown is in Korea.

How are you involved with Koreatown?

I live in Koreatown now. I have a daughter, a son and two grandchildren. I’ve been working with KYCC for three years and four months. Wow, the time has passed by so quickly!

My first day here was during winter vacation. I was told to teach art to the kids. With the CDs that Wilton had, I made a sample puppet with the CD as a head and a stick as the body. I drew the face on the CD, used a balloon as the nose, and put “hair” on the head with yarn. The kids blew my expectations away and made beautiful things. Seeing their amazing projects made my heart race. One kindergartener even used the yarn that was usually used as hair to wrap the stick to make a fuller body. I came to realize that kids are so creative. I heard that the time when kids are the most creative is when they are four or five years old. Every time these kids make something, I can see that kids are so creative, and I’m so happy to see each unique work and peek into their imaginative minds.

That same day, I wrote “KYCC Winter Wonderland” on the whiteboard and had the kids draw something on the board. Looking at each drawing that the kids drew made me so joyful. I still keep a lot of the kids’ work that they don’t take home. One day, I would love to put together a book of the children’s work and highlight the uniqueness of each child.  But I’m so much older now, I don’t know. But I do have many of their works.

As a Christian, I believe that God is using me and my talents here. He has given me this joyful time in my life. I sincerely enjoy this work.

What are your thoughts on Koreatown?

Though other cities and places have resources such as public parks, I feel that Koreatown is lacking in these areas. Even though there are parks here and there, I don’t really like them. I wish the parks were bigger, grander and more of a place where kids can freely play, breathe, grow and release all their stress. Many kids here live in apartments where there are no backyards to play in.

My dream is to set up a drawing/painting café. Many art cafes are geared towards adults, but I would want to set up a kid-friendly café where families can come with children to have an enjoyable time freely creating art. It would be a place where there wouldn’t be a tuition fee or a teaching component, but a place where kids and adults can just express themselves. But this is just a dream because I don’t really have the resources to do so. Nonetheless, it would be nice to have a place like that.

Where is your favorite place in Koreatown?

I would have to say CGV Plaza is a place I really like to go to. I have gone with my family many times and I often take my grandchildren there. We go there to eat, watch a movie and go to the nearby bakery.