Mirim is an 18 year-old senior attending school in Rockford, Illinois. She is from South Korea and has been in America for three years. Suzy, Mirim’s Local Coordinator, who is always welcomed by Mirim with a hug, describes her:

“Mirim is so happy, fun-loving, very giving, and always willing to help out. She can fit in anywhere and is conducive to anything.”

On October 25th, Mirim won first place in the Rockford Police Department Art Contest raising awareness of domestic violence. This was an improvement over last year, when she was awarded third place.

In this piece, a young boy is crying while his parents fight.  The words read, “Without Realizing It.”  Mirim explains that she has never experienced domestic violence, and thinking about how her younger sister would be affected by domestic violence inspired her art.  She can imagine the sadness and broken heart in the young boy while seeing his parents fight.

“People are not bad, but situations are.  Families should look at how their behavior could affect others in the family,” Mirim shares.

As a result of her win, Mirim has gained notoriety in the community as she has been featured in several local news media.  You can view her interviews by clicking on following links:



Mirim learned about art when she was 13 years-old. Since then her passion for art has grown, as has her talent. She is meticulous about drawing and spends a great deal of time practicing for perfection.

“Pencil drawing is more familiar to me. It is easy to draw people in detail. I love drawing people – especially their eyes and noses,” Mirim shares. She is currently vice president of the art club at school and works very closely with her art teachers. She is excited to participate in another ice sculpture contest at her school this year.

“This year I have to lead other students so I’m nervous about that.  Being leader of the team is going to be a challenge!” Mirim shares.

Lily, Mirim’s host mother, describes her as “a sweet girl who works hard and is very respectful.”  She says that Mirim really enjoys playing with their three young daughters, Ana – 5 years old, Jackie – 3 years old, and Stephanie – 2 years old.

“Mirim has been part of our family since day one. She is very involved in family activities and doesn’t want to miss anything. She is so willing to come out of her room and partake in whatever we are doing!” says Lily.

Lily is very impressed with all of Mirim’s artistic talents – drawing, watercolor, and sculpting.  “Mirim is very gifted. She’ll spend a great deal of time practicing drawing eyes and noses.  She worked almost all of September during her free time perfecting the nose. This was her own personal challenge,” Lily says.

Mirim cherishes many fond memories with her host family. Her favorite was visiting “the Bean” in Chicago with Lily and Konrad, a German student whom her host family hosted for a little while.

She says that she especially enjoys her host family’s nightly meetings in the living room of their home. She enjoys hearing their stories and she can share her own. Reflecting, she share that she also enjoys “spending time with the girls, going to Grandpa’s house, attending church, and going to restaurants.”

When asked about her favorite American food, Mirim replies, “I like roasted chicken and fish tacos. I didn’t really like mac and cheese before, but now I love it!”

Mirim’s future goals are to attend a fine arts college in Canada and eventually become an illustrator. Her determination and passion for art is certainly inspiring. We are looking forward to celebrating more of Mirim’s accomplishments and endeavors this year!

You can read more about Mirim’s artistic journey and when she won her first national art contest award while on the PSE program on the blog:


Written by Flo Ruiz; Edited by Ann Steffen

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