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High school student forms ensemble to help hearing impaired

Early this month, a deaf teenage boy received a hearing aid, thanks to donations from a handful of fellow teens who used their musical talents to raise money.

The seed of their philanthropic act was planted about two years ago when a young clarinetist visited a welfare center as a member of a student volunteer club at his school.

“As I talked about helping the physically challenged with my friends while doing volunteer work there, I started to wonder what it would feel like if I wasn’t able to hear the music I played,” Joseph Kim, an 18-year-old senior at Asia Pacific International School in Seoul, said.
Joseph Kim (right) and his ensemble perform in a Seoul hospital in late July. (Joseph Kim)
Joseph Kim (right) and his ensemble perform in a Seoul hospital in late July. (Joseph Kim)

This thought led him to gather five other schoolmates to form a clarinet ensemble to help those with hearing disabilities.

“We performed during school breaks at various places, such as shopping centers, street corners and office buildings, collecting a steady stream of donations,” Kim said.

After making charity performances for nearly two years, they raised 1 million won to buy a hearing aid to give to a deaf teenager through “Cochlea of Love,” a Korean nonprofit dedicated to helping the hearing impaired.

On Sept. 6, they presented the hearing aid to the teenager, whom they did not name.

After realizing that two years of performing could only buy one hearing aid, Kim decided to take it a step further.

He recently founded his own non-governmental organization, “Pure Sound,” together with a college student, in hopes of making a greater contribution to the deaf and elderly.

“Currently in its initial stage, Pure Sound has tried to promote itself to enlist volunteers beyond musical talent and resources,” Kim said. “We are recruiting donors and volunteers of all ages.”

He plans to keep the organization alive through his juniors in school even after going to the United States to study at university.

By Chun Sung-woo (
Korea Herald Youtube