Meet NAKASEC – Chan Kho Kim

Do you ever wonder who the people at NAKASEC and our affiliate centers, KRC and KRCC, are? Not just the staff, but the community members, volunteers, interns and board members? Well they are the ones who keep us grounded, help drive our campaigns and keep us motivated. You may have seen our seniors on the State Capitol fighting against budget cuts, our young people dancing, singing and shouting out for youth rights or our children playing poongmul (Korean drums) at rallies and marches.

Well, in order for you to get to know us better, we are rolling out our #meetNAKASEC Fridays where we will profile one person within our network.

Today we’re featuring Chan Kho Kim, Youth Organizer at KRCC! We hope you enjoy!


Q: What’s your name?
My name is Chan Kho Kim, but I go by a few names. My professors tend to call me Chan because they think “Kho” is my middle name (I’m sure many Koreans run into that) and my friends call me CK, my nickname since 7th grade.

Q: Where are you from?
My answer to this question never fails to receive a surprised look. I am 100% Korean, but I was actually born in Russia because both sides of my grandparents emigrated from Korea during the struggle years. My parents met there and had me. I lived in Russia for eight year before moving to the U.S. My grandparents are back in Korea now, enjoying their retirement years in the homeland. Now, I consider the Windy City home.

Q: How did you get involved with KRC, KRCC and/or NAKASEC?
I got involved with KRCC during my sophomore year of high school. In need of service learning hours, my good friend Joseph Park brought me to this wonderful center and had me sit in on a FYSH (KRCC youth leadership group) meeting. From that day, it was a match made in heaven (between KRCC and I, not Joseph). The youth organizers were welcoming and very friendly. This initial attraction made me keep coming and after learning what KRCC was all about, I realized that this place is my second home.

Q: What was one of the first actions or campaigns you remember being involved in?
The first campaign that I was involved in was Human Trafficking. We raised awareness on the issue through workshops, outreach events, making awareness bracelets and more.

Q: Why do you do the work that you do with KRC, KRCC and/or NAKASEC?
I do the work that I do because I believe that everyone’s voice needs to be heard. Some people are fortunate enough to have a megaphone and have a powerful voice. Others do not have one at all. It is our duty, as megaphone holders, to shout out for those who cannot.

Q: Tell us of a memorable moment with KRC, KRCC and/or NAKASEC 
One memorable moment that I had with KRCC was the during the annual staff retreat. Being a new staff member at the time was a bit nerve-wracking because I was not too familiar with everyone. After the retreat, I not only felt closer to them on a work level, but on a friend level as well. Don’t let the KRCC staff image fool you, they know how to have fun!

Q: What hope do you see for the Korean American community?
I have one main vision for the Korean American community, and that vision is unity. Looking at Chicago, the Korean people here have been dispersing into the suburbs and the clusters are getting weaker. This makes it harder to represent our community because we are not in one location. This is why unity is a must!

Q: If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be and why?
The person I would trade places with would be Bruce Lee. I want to learn his way of thought in order to achieve the maximum potential of my mind and body. Being a martial arts practitioner myself, I highly respect what Bruce Lee has achieved and forever see him as my idol.

Q: What is your comfort food and why?
A: My comfort food is Korean food in general. Although I was born in Russia, I grew up with Korean food around me. Some of my favorite dishes include bulgogi, miokuk soup, and fried kimchi (I apologize for the spelling). Other than Korean, I also enjoy Mexican food!


Meet other folks at KRC, KRCC and NAKASEC!