“I Call them G.A.P.’s — ’God’s Amazing People’ “
South Korean-born Soonkyu Shin (better known as “SK”) came to the U.S. as a young, totally blind student — to pursue educational opportunities not available in his native country. At an early age, he became a member of Recording for the Blind (RFB, as Learning Ally was called back then), eventually succeeding through high school, an undergrad degree at Harvard, and graduate work at the Sloan Business School at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Today SK is a highly accomplished financial analyst at Brown Brothers Harriman — and a member of Learning Ally’s National Board of Directors.
On June 13, SK spoke to a gathering of Learning Ally volunteers, donors, staff and supporters — who were all there to celebrate the grand re-opening of the organization’s newly expanded accessible audiobook production studio in Princeton, New Jersey.
“Learning Ally’s audio textbooks saw me all the way through graduate school work at MIT… it’s a treat for me to come and speak to some of the volunteers who made that possible. You know, people do wonder how a blind kid from Korea, speaking very little English, could come to America and accomplish so much.
“All of you Learning Ally volunteers are part of my story. Even though you may be seeing me for the first time today, and I’ve never met many of you, chances are that I might have listened to your words and voices. You are in my life just as much as the readers who read to me face-to-face.
“I think that people facing challenges in life can overcome those challenges in different ways — some people do that by sheer determination and hard work on their own. But many do it because others have worked hard and given up their time and talents to help them out.
“And I always have a name for such people: I call them ‘God’s Amazing People’ or ‘G.A.P.s.’ It’s a special designation I give to them. Every one of Learning Ally’s volunteers, donors, staff, people who make such reality possible for people like myself — you are all ‘G.A.P.s’
“And I am very privileged to be associated with this organization; I’ve been on the Board of Directors since early 2011, and look forward to many more years of working with you to help more kids like myself.”