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Parents of Jenny Lin keep her memory alive by helping Castro Valley community

Parents of Jenny Lin keep her memory alive by helping Castro Valley community
Parents of Jenny Lin keep her memory alive by helping Castro Valley community 03:27

CASTRO VALLEY – Nearly 30 years after Castro Valley teenager Jenny Lin was murdered, her parents have made it their mission to keep their daughter's memory alive and to help their community at the same time.

Jenny lives on through a legacy of giving begun by her parents, Mei-lian and John Lin.

John told KPIX 5, "Jenny, although she was take away by this horrific murderer, she is too precious to just be gone."

The husband and wife formed a nonprofit in Jenny's name after their 14-year-old daughter was stabbed to death in their Castro Valley home in 1994. Her killer has not been found.

"We wanted to do these things, anything that she loved to do, we wanted to carry on that, we wanted to continue doing that for her," said Mei-lian Lin.

Jenny Lin (Jenny Lin Foundation)

The Jenny Lin Foundation organizes an annual vigil to remember the teenager and continue the hunt for her killer.

The foundation has also created community programs, from leadership and tutoring to child safety, and helped start a section of books on safety in several county libraries.

But the highlight is a music education program in orchestra, band, and choir that ends with a community concert at Chabot College.

College student Sophia Shih is among the thousands of students who have taken part over the years in the free, volunteer-led summer program.

Shih was first a participant, then spent four years as a student coordinator who plays the violin. The Lin's have watched her grow as a leader.

"They're the kindest people and it breaks my heart, but also it's so heartwarming when they come and tell me every time I do something that they're proud of, like giving a speech at the memorial service, or performing and taking on a responsibility out of my comfort zone," she told KPIX 5.

Jefferson Award winners Mei-lian (left) and John Lin created the Jenny Lin foundation in memory of their daughter, who was murdered in 1994. CBS

In addition, community donations have funded two kinds of scholarships for several dozen students: one is for academic and music excellence, and the other, for promising young musicians.

The awards pay tribute to Jenny, a straight-A student who played the viola.

Her mother said, "Jenny would feel that these young students, young musicians, accomplished her dreams."

From music to child safety, board member Lynne Foy-Couche said Mei-lian and John Lin give from their heart.

"They always put other people first," said Foy-Couche. "They've remained adamant that whatever they can do to stop this from ever happening to anyone again is priority number one."

John Lin said he and his wife know Jenny would approve of their work with the foundation.

"I know she'd be proud of what we're doing," he said.

For serving the community through the Jenny Lin Foundation, this week's Jefferson Award in the Bay Area goes to Mei-lian and John Lin.

Note: The Lin's now live in Southern California but return frequently to the Bay Area to take part in foundation events.

As far as the investigation into Jenny's murder case, they said authorities are using updated technology to follow new leads.

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