(Please stay safe through this challenging time period. We are re-running one of our favorite "Have You Mets" featuring Linda & Jimmy Yip.)
The pain of losing a child knows no words. When Jimmy and Linda Yip lost their only child, Nathan at age 19 in an automobile accident, they could have withdrawn from life and felt forsaken, but they didn’t. In their grief, they found some solace and comfort in 2002 by creating the Nathan Yip Foundation in their son’s memory. Everyone involved is a volunteer, so 100% of the proceeds raised go directly to the mission of building schools to educate underprivileged youth, buying food and supplies, buses and providing support to these precious kids in poor Chinese, Mexican, and African remote villages. The Yips are now also making an effort to support similar projects in Colorado.
The Yips are so filled with love for life and people. Today they say their lives are full and rich because of the love and support they receive back from the community. From such tragedy has come great hope for tomorrow’s world citizens; and there's no better way to help honor Nathan than to attend one of their “Nathan Yip Foundation Chinese New Year Gala” annual fundraisers. 2013 “Year of the Snake” just took place on February 2nd.
“Nathan was a young man with great empathy and concern for world problems,” Jimmy and Linda tell us with great pride. They continue by saying: “As a Chinese-American, he knew how fortunate he was to be born in America and knew that by connecting with children in other countries, he could make a true difference and begin to help create a more global society.”
There are eight Chinese principles I read about: Loyalty, righteousness, perseverance, courage, wisdom, honesty, harmony, and politeness. The Yips have all these traits and live by them. The Yips opened up their hearts to me - as they do to so many people who adore them. Linda Yip knows so much about wellness that I tried one of her recommended cures for getting rid of a cold. “Get the juice out of an onion, and drink it.” Next time you feel a cold coming on, try it – it really works!
I knew the minute I met them that I would love them forever. People connect emotionally with Linda and Jimmy. They touch your heart and soul, and because of their generosity, wisdom, and kindness, we are proud to make them our Valentine’s Day couple of the year.
Let’s end with a few quotes from people who have also been inspired by Jimmy and Linda Yip:
After attending one of the Yips Chinese New Year events, Dr. Richard Kelley – owner of The Outrigger Hotels poignantly said: “In Denver, despite the snow and cold, there were many celebrations of the Chinese New Year this week. Linda and Jimmy Yip gathered their friends together to remember the meaningful but tragically short life of their only child, Nathan. A Kent high school classmate of my son, Chris Kelley, Nathan was killed in an automobile accident at age 19 while a freshman at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The Yips use the occasion of Chinese New Year to raise funds to support the construction of schools for underprivileged children primarily in China, but also in Haiti, Mexico, Africa, and the U.S.A. During the rest of the year, Linda and Jimmy travel to these areas to personally supervise these projects.”
“They truly are extraordinary, and that’s the only way to describe them. I was asked to take the place of my friend who has volunteered for them for their Chinese New Year event for years, and this one year she couldn't make it. Oh, my, they were just so incredibly sweet to each and every person who was volunteering. They acted as if we were giving our left eye! They then insisted on giving everyone extra perks weeks later. Their son is surely beaming with pride.” Linda Turner
“The Nathan Yip Foundation is a wonderful organization started by an amazingly caring and devoted couple! And devoted they are to many things: the community, finding solutions for hunger and poverty, being a good friend to all, and devoted to keeping the memory of their precious son Nathan alive and all that was important to him during his short but meaningful life.” Nancy Alterman
What helped you both turn your lives around after Nathan’s death? Nathan really helped us. We believed that he wanted us to be happy, and we worked hard to do that. Also, Jimmy’s mother and sister, Ann, were living with us and they were in a lot of pain. We knew that we needed to change our attitude and help everyone move forward.
Is there someone special who helped you both through some of your most challenging times in life? Our business partner Fred Miale is like part of our family. We have worked with Fred for over 30 years and had many ups and downs. But we are like family and we always stick together and support each other. It doesn’t matter if it is in regard to business or family, he is the person we can trust and talk with about anything.
You both have traveled extensively, what have been your favorite places to visit and why? China is always our favorite place to travel. We have a lot of friends still in China and we believe that it is the friends that make a place special. That is why we like Denver so much. Also, we have to say, we love the Chinese food in China too.
What do you like most about living in Denver? The people. We have so many friends here.
What was your greatest challenge when you first started the Foundation? Like any new business, we were starting from scratch. No one knew about the Foundation and many did not know the story of Nathan’s death. It took a long time to begin to generate support, but we were determined. Our Foundation began like a family and then started to grow. But today we still feel much like a family – only a bigger one.
How do we get more people involved in doing community volunteering and charitable giving? When people donate to a charity the most important thing is for people to understand where the money is going. The Nathan Yip Foundation is run nearly 100% by volunteers and we know that all dollars raised are going to the good causes that help children through education. Today, people are more skeptical about giving and it is important that they know where their money is going.
.What qualities do you look for in a friend? We look for integrity, honesty and kindness and we are lucky to have many friends with all of these wonderful qualities.
How would you describe your life at this moment in time? Our life is very busy, but full of satisfaction.
What is your favorite place in your home? The kitchen. When you come to our home we are all there enjoying wonderful food usually prepared by Jimmy’s sister Ann. Our friends love our kitchen too!
Whenever we see you, you are so upbeat, positive, and cheerful - what in your view is the key to always looking so happy? We tell our friends, “don’t worry, be happy.” That is our mantra. If something might upset us, we just turn it around and look through another window. Also, we always try to be young at heart.
Who are your heroes? There is a woman who runs one of the orphanages that the Foundation supports in China. Her name is Madame Xiu. She was a single woman living in China and found homeless children in the market places and just started bringing them home. After she collected about five children, she needed some help. From her selflessness came this wonderful orphanage that now houses over sixty children, many with disabilities. Over the years, she has housed, raised and helped more than 1,000 children. We admire her selflessness.
What is the best advice someone ever gave you? That you gave others? Someone once told us the old saying, “it is better to give than to receive.” We’ve taken that to heart and we hope that through our Foundation we’ve been able to share this through our actions and our words.
What is your favorite quote, saying or motto? We have two that we live by: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” “Catch the Moment and Enjoy it.”
Is there anything in life you would have done differently so far? No, not really. We are happy with our choices, the ups and downs and our journey so far.
If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title be? “The Life of Love.”
What are you most thankful for today? We are thankful for our friends and family. It is because of their support that we are able to do the kinds of things we do.
What is something Nathan would want you to share with all the young people of today? Nathan’s accident involved a young person drinking and driving. I think Nathan and all of the friends in the car that day would say to other young people, don’t drink and drive.
How has the organization evolved since its inception? We began as a very small foundation trying to do the best we could do. Slowly with more volunteers and friends we’ve grown and now are supporting children in Mexico, China, Africa and in Colorado. Also, our board has gotten much more sophisticated with each bringing special talents to the table. There are experts in non-profit management, fund-raising, marketing, finance and so much more. They help us to monitor the Foundation and keep our mission in line,
What can each one of us do to make this a better world to live in? Always have an open heart to people and make them feel that they are always welcome in your life.
How would you describe your childhood in Taiwan and Hong Kong? Linda: I grew up with wonderful parents and am the youngest child of seven. We all helped out a lot and my parents stressed cooperation and hard work. It is because of them that I can do what I do today.
Jimmy: My life was much harder. My family left China when I was three years old to flee from the Communist party. We left everything behind. I had one sister and six brothers so it was hard for my family to start all over again. I am most grateful to the Silesian Fathers in Hong Kong who provided free schooling. They taught me not only how to survive and thrive, but they stressed the value of love and giving back to the community.
If you found a treasure chest, what would you want to be in it? This might sound greedy, but really we would love to have more money to do more good work through the Foundation.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve ever met? Most recently we’ve gotten to know Mark and Margaret Berzins. They were the honorary chairs for our gala this year. They are very successful business people whose generosity is always improving the world. Also, they have four children and each of the children are involved in their philanthropic work. I find them a wonderful example for all of us.
What one word would describe your life right now? Satisfaction.
What is the most important life lesson you have learned? We’ve said this before, but it is so important here. We really believe that if you give more than you receive you will have a satisfying and happy life.
Finish this sentence: Jimmy and Linda Yip are the champions of – friendships.
What’s in the future for the two of you? What do you still hope to accomplish? We hope to continue our mission with the Nathan Yip Foundation – helping more and more children find a better future through education.
What would you like future generations to remember you for the most? We really don’t want anyone to remember us. We just hope that people continue to share our spirit of giving after we are gone.