“About our daughter Jenny”
We live in San Francisco Bay Area, California. Our daughter Jenny was born and raised here in the Bay Area.
Back in 2016, Jenny was a junior at the University of California, Berkeley. She transferred to this highly competitive university she was longing to attend and she was enjoying her college life. She had always loved music since she was a small girl, and she especially loved singing with her guitar or ukulele. She had just started volunteering at a campus radio station at UC Berkeley.
On December 2 of the same year, the day when all the classes for the fall term were over, Jenny and her friend Vanessa attended a concert at an Oakland warehouse near Berkeley. They were caught in an intense and uncontrolled fire which broke out in the middle of the concert. It was utterly catastrophic, resulting in 36 fatalities including Jenny and Vanessa. A majority of the victims were students and musicians.
We, Michael, Toshiko and her older brother Chris, lost our beautiful Jenny in this incomprehensible tragedy. She was only 21 years old and full of life. The days of sorrow and pain had begun.
Over time, with the support and encouragement of numerous people surrounding us, we came up with an idea to establish a fund for our sweet and loving Jenny to pass along her passion for music and art. Initially, we made contributions to the art and music programs and classes she had taken at school. Before long we discovered an organization called “Ukulele Kids Club (UKC).” Corey Bergman, the founder of the group, also unexpectedly lost his son, who was a college student at that time.
We deeply sympathized with him, and decided to partner with him. Thanks to tremendous support from an overwhelming number of people, we have given out more than 200 ukuleles as gifts to hospitalized children nationwide, helping heal their souls and uplift their spirits.
Since Jenny was planning to study at a college in Japan for a semester in the fall of 2017, we would like for Japanese children to receive the gift of music that UKC could provide as well. We also hope Jenny’s dream and passion will reach the hearts of many children through this work.
Jenny’s story is also shared on the UKC website: