Obama's letter to OC girl inspires effort to save marine life

Thursday, December 8, 2016
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Audrey Kim, 6, of Irvine, wrote to President Obama about the environment and was so surprised he wrote back that she was inspired to raise funds to help marine life.

IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- Audrey Kim loves anything about marine life.

The 6-year-old girl from Irvine flips through one of many books about the ocean that sit on her bedroom dresser.

"I wanted to help them," she said.

After reading a book about an oil spill, she went to her mom Krystyna Kim.

"I said, Can I write a note for President Obama? And they said yes."

"I said Dear President Obama, I was scared and nervous about oil spills," she recalled.

A few months passed - Audrey's mom says her little girl kept asking why she had not heard back from the president.

"He's very busy with the schedule and saving the world, said Krystyna, with a smile, explaining she tried to make excuses not believing the president would ever write back.

But then last month...

"It's the note from President Obama," said Audrey as she held the letter from the White House, now in a glass frame.

"Surprised," Audrey said, recalling what it was like to open the envelope. "It was a lot of stuff."

The package included photos of the president, the first family, even the family pets - and the letter.

"He said 'Thank you for writing Audrey,'" she said, reading part of the letter. "'Hearing from engaged young people like you gives me great hope for the future.'"

Her dad Richard helps her sound out the word "future."

Audrey may need help reading the letter but her parents say the gesture inspired her to do even more.

This week, with her parents' help she set up a page online to raise money for the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach - just down the street from the Anneliese School, where she is in first grade.

"If the animals are sick, it helps the animal," Audrey explained when asked what the PMMC does.

Her goal is to bring in $1,000 to help marine life.

"So proud of the fact she's only 6 years old and she could actually think about doing all this," said her father, Richard.

To help get the word out Audrey and her mom are making paper roses to hand out for free in the community. Attached is information on her fundraising website, hoping it can raise money to help the Marine Mammal Center care for sick sea lions and seals.

What would she like to see? "The seals going home, back to their family."

We heard about Audrey's story through #abc7eyewitness.

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