Foundation keeps Kim's memory alive

January 9, 2008 11:52:38 AM PST
In December 2006 James Kim, his wife, Kati, and their two young daughters became trapped in their car on a remote snow-covered road in the Oregon mountains. For the next seven days, they struggled to live and when hope seemed dim, James ventured off into the frigid wilderness for help. Meanwhile, massive searches had already begun and soon recovered Kati and Penelope, who was then 4, and Sabine, just 7 months old, safely. The nation held its collective breath in the hopes the hero father, too, would return home safely. However, James, 35, did not survive.

Now, Kati has tried to keep his memory alive in a special way by establishing the James Kim Technology Foundation.

"I think she's focused on the positives in her life - that she's incredibly grateful to have her daughters and her family around her," said family friend Kate Kotler. "Because of that, she's tried to focus her energy to find an outlet to make an impact in James' honor."

The goal of the foundation is to provide children throughout the San Francisco Bay Area with the best possible technological resources in the classroom, including digital cameras, computers and whatever may come next. It also combines two of James Kim's biggest loves.

"He had two clear passions: one was technology; one was his family and all children," said Kim McCoy Wade, at the James Kim Technology Foundation.

Kim was a familiar face in the community and online, where he was known as a funny, warm man who was a devoted husband and father.

Technology fans watched him on the popular site CNET, where he tested and reported on the newest gadgets.

"He was a huge technology junkie," said family friend Thanh Cao. "His daughter at age 3 had an Mp3 player. He always wanted to keep technology in children's lives, and this is a really great way to represent who he was."

Kati Kim wanted to keep that passion alive in her children, but when she was looking at schools for her oldest daughter, she was surprised that in a city so driven by the technology industry, there was a lack of technology in the schools.

"She feels very strongly that all kids should have equal opportunity to have access to emerging technology. That's how the James Kim Foundation was born," Kotler said.

For Kati Kim, it's a way to give back to the community that banded around her and her family after unspeakable tragedy, offering help, support and a moving memorial service in James' honor early last year.

It's also a way for her to find inner strength and inspiration in James' memory, not only for herself but for her daughters.

"Her whole life was set up as a partnership, and now she's trying to balance her life, learn how to be a single parent and a business owner without the other person there," Kotler said. "I asked her if there was one lesson that she learned in her life that she wanted to share with women and she said, 'Believe in yourself.'"

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