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Improving the Lives of Korean Youth Through Outreach and Education

Who We Are

KKOOM Board Members met in Boston for the 2020 Board Retreat: (L to R) Helen Shin, Margaret Cleveland, Aimee Jachym, Grace Lee, Sabrina Ku, and Bill Downey.

The current KKOOM Board of Directors presently consists of 10 members plus the Executive Director (ex-officio). Each director is elected to a one-year term and may be re-elected to serve additional terms. The Board meets monthly via internet teleconference and once annually in person. Directors are responsible for paying for their own travel expenses to the annual meeting. KKOOM’s Co-founder, Erika Senneseth, and Bill Downey are honorary board members. Since 2007, a total of 28 people have served at various times on the volunteer-driven Board of Directors.

Grace Lee

Executive Director, since October 2020

Grace Lee was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Sejong, South Korea in 2015-2016. Currently residing in Georgia, she graduated from Georgia State University in 2012 with a Public Policy degree, concentration in Non-Profit Leadership. While at GSU, she was a Welcome Center Tour Guide, Vice President for Student Government Association, and crowned the 3rd Asian Homecoming Queen. For six years, Grace worked at a private K-12 school as a preschool/middle school teacher and the Director of Diversity. She volunteered at the annual Samsungwon Christmas party in 2015 and has traveled to Nicaragua, Tanzania, and Jamaica, to serve children in their local communities. Before serving as Executive Director, she was KKOOM’s Chief Administrator from 2017-2020 and served on KKOOM’s Board of Directors from December 2016-April 2017.

Helen Shin

Board Chair, since October 2020

Helen Shin is a corporate attorney in New York and has served on KKOOM’s Board since 2012. In addition to legal experience, she brings to the Board a passion for social justice and international human rights matters. Her experience includes co-supervising an international human rights clinic at Fordham University School of Law and researching and doing fieldwork on various humans rights issues in Sierra Leone and Malawi. She has devoted significant amounts of time to legal pro bono work and looks forward to utilizing her talents and resources to benefit KKOOM and the children in Korea.

Aimee Jachym

Former President/Co-Founder, since September 2007

Aimee was born in South Korea and adopted by a Detroit-area family as an infant. In 2004, she made her first return to South Korea on a Fulbright teaching grant. Aimee spent her free time in Korea volunteering at Samsungwon, the orphanage in Gumi, and developing basic Korean language skills. She never expected that the 2004-05 ad-hoc holiday fundraising drive would evolve, with the help of great friends, into KKOOM three years later. She has bachelor’s degrees from Western Michigan University and a Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University. From 2011-2013, Aimee took a break from her legal career to serve as KKOOM’s first Chief Administrator. She currently practices corporate and international law as an attorney at Miller Canfield.

Leanne Stein

Secretary, since September 2007

Born and raised in Los Angeles County, California, Leanne graduated from Pitzer College of the Claremont College Consortium in 2005. At Pitzer, Leanne double majored in Psychology and English & World Literature, played varsity softball, was active with Pitzer College’s student senate, and spent a semester studying abroad in Botswana. After graduating, Leanne was a 2005-2006 Fulbright ETA, teaching English to the boys at Gyeonggu High School in Gumi. Leanne spent her free time volunteering with the Samsungwon Orphanage preschool children, first and second grade elementary school girls, and a middle school boy. Leanne earned her Masters in Communication Disorders and Sciences from California State University, Northridge. Currently, Leanne lives in Los Angeles and works as a speech-language pathologist. Leanne has served on KKOOM’s Board since the beginning and is strongly committed to KKOOM’s mission.

Liat Shapiro

At-large, since September 2018

Liat Shapiro was born in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, but adopted and raised in the Boston area. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in spring 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics. As a Korean adoptee, it has been Liat’s dream to give back to the South Korean orphanage community. Summer 2018 brought Liat to South Korea as KKOOM’s first summer intern. She is excited to be serving on KKOOM’s Board of Directors and looks forward to helping her younger brothers and sisters achieve their dreams.

Laura Wilczek

At-large, since September 2018

Laura Wilczek is a Korean-American adoptee who grew up in Minnesota with her family. Growing up, she attended several Korean cultural camps, participated in a Korean dance group, and traveled to Korea several times in order to learn as much as possible about the culture and language. During her senior year at the University of Notre Dame, Laura co-created a film documentary exploring the dynamics of the international Korean adoptee community. She graduated from Notre Dame with B.A. in English and a M.Ed in Secondary Education. One life-long dream was to live, work, and learn in Korea for an extended period of time– something she accomplished as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Gumi, South Korea. During her Fulbright year, Laura volunteered at Samsungwon Orphanage and learned about KKOOM. It is because of her work with the children at Samsungwon that Laura returned to the States to pursue a M.Ed. in Reading Education from Peabody College, Vanderbilt University and became a Reading Specialist. She currently resides in San Diego and is a former Special Education teacher. She is honored to work with KKOOM as a board member and is committed to dedicating her time and talent for the benefit of Korean children.

Margaret Cleveland

At-large, since July 2020

Margaret Cleveland attended the University of Missouri and participated in the TaLK (Teach and Learn in Korea) program, through which she developed a passion and heart for the people of Korea. After graduating in 2015, she was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant for a year in Yeongcheon, South Korea, followed by two years teaching with Fulbright at an elementary school in Seoul. In 2017, she was named the Native English Teacher of the Year by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education. During her time in Korea, she volunteered with multiple mentoring and teaching programs for North Korean defectors. She is currently working on her fourth-generation family owned fish farm in central Missouri. She is honored to work with KKOOM to help meet the needs of Korean children.

Sabrina Ku

At-large, since July 2020

Sabrina Ku was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at Daegu Science High School in 2019-2020. During her time in Daegu, she volunteered at Aemangwon Children’s Home with KKOOM. Prior to Fulbright, she was a Girl Scouts for 12 years and spent many summers volunteering with at-risk children in Asia. For her undergraduate, she studied Social Sciences with a focus in Social Policy and Development at New York University Shanghai. During her time at university, her interest in Korean culture and language grew, ultimately leading to a semester abroad at Yonsei University in Seoul. This interest culminated in a capstone thesis about multicultural education and its implications on cultural identity development in South Korea. Sabrina currently resides in the Boston area and hopes to work in the fields of higher education and psychology. She is thrilled to be joining KKOOM as a Board Member. She hopes that her skills, passions, and efforts will lead to positive change in the lives of Korean children.

Leah Garlock

At-large, since March 2022

Leah Garlock is a Korean American Adoptee, and grew up in Upstate NY. She is currently a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in South Korea. Before Fulbright, she worked as an Experience Designer at a social impact design agency in New York City. Many of her clients were focused on improving educational inequities, learning differences, and dual-language curriculums. It’s here that she became interested in the intersection between design and education. In her free time, Leah volunteers for International and Transracial Adoptee communities, as well as AAPI organizations. She is passionate about using her skills for good, and is excited to use her experience and knowledge to help serve KKOOM’s mission.

Tina Mohr

At-large, since March 2022

Christina Mohr is a native New Englander and an adoptive mother of an amazing daughter who was born in Busan, South Korea. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of Connecticut and a Juris Doctorate from Pace University. Christina is an attorney in the public service sector who also devotes time to pro-bono counseling low income clients regarding bankruptcy and landlord tenant matters. Christina served on the KKOOM board from 2015 through 2018 and has re-joined the board again in 2022. She has a deep appreciation for Korean food, language and culture. She is committed to KKOOM’s mission by focusing on business planning, budgeting, and the strategic use of the organization’s financial resources. 

Patricia Liu

At-large, since September 2022

Patricia Liu is a Korean American author, entrepreneur, and E-commerce executive living in Minneapolis and New York City. She is the founder and CEO of BestofKorea.com, a media platform that features the best of Korean culture, entertainment, lifestyle, and achievement. She is also the author of The Wrapping Scarf Revolution, a book that introduces the Western world to the beautiful and eco-friendly Korean tradition of wrapping and carrying with fabric. Born in Seoul, Korea, Patricia immigrated to the US at the age of 5 and graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in Painting. Both her grown sons have worked with KKOOM in various capacities including a summer stay at a children’s home in Korea as well as online tutoring programs. She is honored to be serving KKOOM as a board member.

William Downey

Honorary Board Member

Bill Downey is an information technology specialist and professional photographer based out of Boston, Massachusetts. After completing his career in the U.S. Army, Bill has performed in various roles from senior IT manager with Harvard University, commercial pilot with a private aviation firm and adjunct professor with Lasell College.  Bill completed his undergraduate degree at Western New England University, holds various technical certifications as well as being a commercial pilot and certified scuba diver.  Bill’s keen interest and passion for Korean culture formulated during a four-year tour of duty in Korea during his army career, and previous experience with various non-profit organizations led to his desire to support the KKOOM mission.  Bill has also supported KKOOM by making volunteer trips to Korea and is committed to continuing his direct engagement with the kids and the orphanages through multiple visits each year.

Erika Senneseth

Co-Founder / Honorary Board Member

After graduation from Connecticut College, Erika spent the 2004-2005 school year teaching English as a foreign language at the all boys’ Gyeonggu High School in Gumi, South Korea. Her favorite times in Korea were working with preschool and early elementary children at Samsungwon orphanage. She now uses her Masters in Education to coordinate the educational components of KKOOM’s 360 degree giving campaign. She is originally from Minnesota but is currently the Head of School at Sandhills School, a school for students with dyslexia and ADHD in Columbia South Carolina. She served on the KKOOM Board of Directors from 2007-2013.