Dec 142017
 

We are excited to share that we will be going live on Facebook! Our first party for the holiday season is Saturday, December 16th at Samsungwon Orphanage in Gumi, South Korea.

Our Chief Administrator will be streaming live from our Facebook page to show some of the games and performances from the festive activities. You can tune in at 12:15AM EST and 5:15AM EST on 12/16. Or you can catch the recorded videos later at a more convenient time. We will also be live on our Instagram page.

We are looking forward to a wonderful time with the 54 kids and 20 volunteers!

 Posted by at 8:35 pm
Dec 132017
 

Today 81% of Americans have a social media profile, and there are 1.96 billion people using social media globally. There is no doubt that social media does a world of good for nonprofits like KKOOM.

On #GivingTuesday, over $274 million was raised online by charities across the world. Thanks to your support, KKOOM has raised $4,995 just through Facebook fundraising alone since November. We love the concept of peer-to-peer fundraising because it amplifies our voice to share our cause with more people.

KKOOM has used social media to raise money for Korean orphans since our inception in 2007. In 2010, we were awarded a permanent spot on GlobalGiving after raising over $20,000 in one month as part of an online challenge for newly vetted nonprofits. You could say that we were an “early adopter” of peer-to-peer fundraising.

It allows our friends, like you, to get involved by making online fundraisers using tools within Facebook. Here’s a screenshot of some of the personal online fundraisers that have been started by KKOOM board members and supporters:

Starting a fundraising campaign is extremely easy! It literally takes 3 minutes. Would you like to help bring more awareness to KKOOM and help us brighten the lives of the orphan children? All you have to do is go to https://www.facebook.com/pg/KoreanKids/fundraisers/. Click on “Raise Money” on the right top-hand corner of the page to start rallying friends and loved ones to support. You can invite 1 friend or all of your Facebook friends.

If you have questions about starting an online fundraiser for KKOOM on Facebook or other online platforms, you can contact me directly at grace.lee@kkoom.org. Let’s work together to continue improving the lives of South Korean orphans this holiday season. Thank you for your ongoing support! ~ Grace Lee, KKOOM Chief Administrator

 Posted by at 7:53 pm
Dec 122017
 

In 2017, KKOOM supported 8 volunteer-led projects (VLPs), compared to 4 last year. These VLP projects allow expats and other volunteers in Korea to give back to the orphanage community using KKOOM funds for projects focused on reaching at-risk kids across Korea. Over the years, KKOOM has supported VLPs at approximately 20 orphanages and children’s homes.

Here are some highlights from VLPs we financially sponsored this year.

Oak Tree Project’s July Quarterly Meeting

We helped provide meals and supplies for Oak Tree Project‘s four quarterly meetings in 2017, which allow young adult college students who grew up in orphanages an opportunity to meet and bond with their mentors.

In early winter, we connected with a children’s home in Seoul to fund sledding entrance fees for kids who didn’t have relatives to visit them over the long school vacation.

We funded two soccer camps in 2018. One was held in April at Yongsan Army Base where middle and high school boys from Geon and Myeong Jin’s Children Homes had a friendly match with their volunteers. We also loved funding Jerusalem Ministry‘s annual soccer camp for boys from different children’s homes across Seoul. To see their video of the camp, see below

Jee Lee on international trip to Japan with 2 girls from Myeong Jin Children’s Home

In the summer, we supported Myeong Jin Home to send two of their girls on an international trip to Japan, helping to pay for entrance fees and transportation costs.

In 2018, we look forward to supporting more projects that align with our mission to improve the lives of South Korean orphans. To continue supporting Volunteer-Led Project initiatives, you can donate by clicking here.

 Posted by at 7:28 am

A door of opportunity – the importance of a preschool education

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Nov 282017
 

HyungJun is KKOOM’s preschool scholarship recipient. Look how much he has grown since he newly arrived in August 2017 at Samsungwon Orphanage.

The South Korean government does not provide funding for orphans to attend preschool until they are four years old. As Chief Administrator of KKOOM, I know firsthand why preschool education is a necessity, having taught three and four-year-olds last year at a private Christian academy in Georgia.

This educational gap created by not providing the opportunity for orphan toddlers to flourish in a learning and social environment can last a lifetime. It is more than just playtime, napping, and eating together. Life skills are built in preschool, from learning how to wash your hands, to going to the bathroom properly, to staying in line while behaving, and learning your ABCs and 123s. Teaching preschool was one of the most difficult things I have done in my professional experiences, yet also one of the most rewarding. Before my eyes in 180 days, I saw children blossom from being timid entering the classroom to being one of the most talkative asking questions during circle time. I watched a four year old articulately read dinosaur names without having to pause to sound out each syllable, doing a better job than I was capable at his age.

During the first four years of a child’s life, brain development is the highest. Children are like sponges and soak up their environment, so they are able to learn new information at a rapid rate. We must make early education a priority in global education to invest in the lives of every child.

KKOOM helps foster the skills a child needs to further advance in society and realize their dreams by providing access to preschool for young toddlers who would not otherwise be able to attend. Currently, because of changing enrollments at the orphanage homes in which we work, we are funding one child to attend preschool. HyungJun is 15 months old and he recently arrived to Samsungwon Orphanage in August 2017. We will continue doing our best to make others aware of this opportunity gap and find more opportunities for other toddler orphans to attend preschool in Korea.

If you would like to give to continue supporting toddlers like HyunJun, we invite you to view our Early education for Korean toddlers campaign. Any donation will help!

We thank you for your strong support to continue educating the next generation. You are helping us invest in our future. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

 

Best regards,

Grace Lee

Chief Administrator

Email: grace.lee@kkoom.org | Cell: +1-678-237-8535

 Posted by at 3:48 pm

Holiday Giving Campaign 2017

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Nov 222017
 

We’re excited to launch our annual holiday giving campaign! Over the summer, we had a successful “Christmas in July” during which KKOOM donors raised $2,185. That’s enough to purchase 62 gifts for the Christmas parties at Samsungwon and Emmanuel in Korea. KKOOM is supporting 130 children at two orphanages in Gumi and Gimcheon to help them experience a bright holiday season.

Sixty-eight children still need Christmas gifts. Can you help?? Any amount you can donate will help us fill the hearts of the children with holiday joy. (Many gifts will be purchased directly by generous volunteers in Korea, but several children’s gifts will be purchased with KKOOM funds.) Donations collected over and above our goal will go in our general fund so we can help kids all year long.

A donation of $35 will fully provide for one Christmas gift for a child. If you make a $35 donation or more by December 31, 2017, KKOOM will mail you a card made by a child and a photo of a smiling face you helped support.

Together, let’s make this Christmas the most wonderful time of the year for these children.




 Posted by at 12:48 pm

Happy Birthday KKOOM!

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Nov 192017
 

On September 26th, KKOOM celebrated its 10th Birthday!

KKOOM’s President, Aimee Jachym, had the opportunity to visit South Korea in October 2017. During her visit, she gathered the kids together for a KKOOM birthday party. It was also a special time in Korea as the country was celebrating Chuseok, a major harvest festival over three days.

 

 

 

 

 

                  On October 5th, KKOOM bought lunch and movie tickets for all the elementary, middle, and high school students at Samsungwon Orphanage. The children enjoyed singing happy birthday to KKOOM while eating delicious cake from Baskin Robbins. While the older children and young teens enjoyed the movies, the preschool children went to a local play cafe to just be kids and have fun.

Aimee was also able to visit Emmanuel Children’s Home in Gimcheon on October 10th to meet with the children there, while catching up with Sujin. Sujin is the piano teacher at Emmanuel’s Children Home that currently teaches approximately eighty children. Lot of details were also solidified for our upcoming annual holiday party. While KKOOM was not able to host a holiday party at Emmanuel last year, we are looking forward to having our Chief Administrator in South Korea this December to hold a festive party this year. Check back soon for more details about our holiday parties and fundraising to purchase gifts.

 Posted by at 12:16 pm

New Beginnings – Welcome Boost Fall 2017

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Oct 102017
 

With fall in the air, KKOOM also welcomed the arrival of three new toddlers to Samsungwon Orphanage and Emmanuel Children’s Home in September. We are grateful our donors have supported our efforts to fund new clothing and basic necessities for fourteen children since April 2016. To facilitate a smoother transition for the children who newly enter the orphanages, we provide approximately $125 to their caretaker which we call “Welcome Boosts.”

Below are stories of three young toddlers who are now thriving in positive environments at the two orphanages we directly support.

Jae (5 months old)

Jae is the second child to arrive at Emmanuel Children’s Home this year and is the youngest baby we’ve supported for a Welcome Boost Fund. Due to his young age, his house mother decided to purchase not only clothes, but powdered milk, bottles, and other nutritional supplies to keep baby Jae healthy. She also said he “sleeps well at night, and eats milk well.” As you can see from his photos, he is growing to become a strong and healthy baby. Look at his handsome smirk while in the baby walker. Jae – we are excited to see you grow with a supportive community at Emmanuel.

Jun (2.5 years old)

Can you see Jun’s cute dimples in his photos (cues heart melting)? His house mother was very excited to buy him new fall clothes, pictured here. She has good fashion sense for Jun, right? We know Jun will be dressed to impress throughout the fall and winter seasons with his new trendy clothes. When we asked her to share about Jun in his own voice, she wrote: “I am 2.5 years old but I have not been able to speak at all yet, so I usually express myself physically. I like to sleep late and I like to eat vegetables like lotus root, pumpkin, and black beans.” Jun seems to be playing big brother well to baby Jae, just simply being in Jae’s presence.

 

 

Jin (5 years old)

We love seeing the cute personalities of the toddlers, including Jin giving us peace signs for days. Although she deals with depression, she has a resilient spirit behind that smile. Look at the shoes her house mother purchased for her, along with new autumn clothes. She’s the hippest child on the block with her new pairs of sneakers. Her house mother shared she is very active and that she is currently learning Hangul, the Korean alphabet. Keep staying positive Jin. Your smile is contagious.

With new seasons starting for these toddlers, we want to ensure they receive a warm welcome and feel comfortable in their new environment, including feeling good in their newly bought clothing apparel. Thank you to our friends and supporters who make it possible to continue providing Welcome Boost funds. You are making a difference.

Supporting College Scholarships – Fall 2017 Update

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Sep 252017
 

Every year, KKOOM supports continuing education for young adults by providing college scholarships to students that grew up at Samsungwon Orphanage in Gumi, South Korea. We help provide a smoother transition out of high school to those who want to pursue an undergraduate degree. For the fall semester, we’ve granted four scholarships to students we’ve supported through their 1st and 2nd year in college. They are diligent with their academic studies as they’ve maintained an average 3.84 GPA during the spring semester. Read below to see how their fall semester has been so far:

Mingyu, 2nd year, at Gumi College, Major: Hospitality and Cooking.

Mingyu is dedicated to continuously improve his baking skills. For summer vacation, he traveled to Daegu to sell bread in a shop and through this hands-on experience, he learned more about bread making outside of the classroom. During a practice test of making bread, he made some mistakes with the lack of taste, but his results were still good. While he had some regrets, he’s okay with making mistakes as long as there is a continued desire to learn and grow. KKOOM loves his positive attitude! This semester, he plans on using his scholarship money for basic school needs and saving up to receive his baking certification. He appreciates KKOOM supporting his college degree from the very beginning and hopes to continue being funded until his very last semester.

Yonghoon, 1st year, at World Cyber University, Major: Social Welfare

Yonghoon is thankful to just be in college and that KKOOM supported his first semester because he did not worry much about how to pay for his school fees. While his first semester was difficult learning new words and terminology, he is excited to dive deeper into what it means to be a social worker. KKOOM asked Yonghoon if he had anything to share with our donors and he said gratefully, “Thank you for your help and support. I will give thanks to God for this grace.” He has a servant heart to give back. In the next five years, he’d like to work at his university in the Social Welfare Department to serve others or work at a senior welfare center.

Minyeal, 2nd year, at World Cyber University, Major: Pastoral Studies

Minyeal’s hardest struggle recently was finding a balance between work and studying – haven’t we all struggled with this? His greatest accomplishment last semester though was his perseverance to improve his GPA. While it went from a 3.9 to 3.8 GPA, he is still proud of his hard work. This reminds us how life is about 1,000 small steps – progress is made over a period of time. His dream is to become a world-wide praise minister working in marginalized communities to decrease the wealth gap between the poor and rich. We believe in you Minyeal. You can do it! He would love to see KKOOM sponsor volunteer service trips to other countries to see, taste, and experience other cultures to learn about life outside of South Korea’s borders.

Yeonhwa, 2nd year, at Yeungjin College, Major: Business Management

Yeonhwa is very proud that she has concentrated diligently on her studies with a 4.1 GPA while having a job. During her summer vacation, she visited Malaysia with high school friends. She enjoyed gaining a global perspective, while seeing the world in a slightly wider field of view. Her scholarship will help pay for her living expenses this semester and she is excited for graduation in February. Five years from now, she wants to work for a company in a high position, living with a family, and living a better life than she has now. As she graduates soon, she shares to KKOOM donors “I want to say thank you for your help anytime, anywhere. You have been a great sponsor for a long time. Thank You. I will live a day when I am satisfied with everything I have learned in college after I graduate.”

We cannot thank our KKOOM supporters enough for providing career opportunities for these four students. Your generosity is allowing these young adults to thrive in their studies while learning more life skills every day. To continue supporting our college scholarship program, we would love if you shared our work with your friends and co-workers. Together, we can help make a difference in these young adult lives.

 Posted by at 12:06 pm

Celebrating Communities in Action – Jerusalem Ministry Soccer Camp

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Sep 112017
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a saying “We are blessed to be a blessing unto others.” Over the years, KKOOM has not only supported Samsungwon Orphanage in Gumi and Emmanuel’s Children Home in Gimcheon, but we have had the unique opportunity to financially assist other children homes in South Korea.

KKOOM provided funds for Jerusalem Ministry’s annual soccer camp – photo credit to Hannah Chong and Sky Becker

Every year, we provide funding to Jerusalem Ministry in August so they can host a soccer camp for boys across the Korean peninsula. This year, our 500,000 KRW donation allowed them to take their volunteers and soccer boys to cool down at the swimming pool. We also helped Jerusalem Ministry provide shade to the kids during the hot summer days with the purchase of a canopy.

Funds are made possible for programs such as the soccer camp through our Volunteer Led Project application. Organizations can request funds to provide additional funding for things, such as but not limited to quarterly meetings, volunteer travels abroad, camps, art activities, and much more. Thanks to the generous support from our donors, these funds are readily available to extend a helping hand to our friends in other organizations who are advocating for South Korean orphans like KKOOM every day.

To read more about Jerusalem Ministry’s soccer camp and stories of student transformations, please click herePhoto credit to Hannah Chong and Sky Becker from Jerusalem Ministry. 

 Posted by at 11:37 am

Learning to Swim at Everland Amusement Park

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Sep 042017
 

In early August 2017, KKOOM Board Member, Bill Downey, traveled to South Korea. He visited the students at Samsungwon Orphanage and even joined them at a local amusement park. We asked Bill if he could share a few of his experiences below:

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Each year in August during the school break, the children, staff and volunteers from Samsungwon visit a water park, go camping or a combination of things and this year they went to Everland Amusement Park, just south of Seoul for 3 days and 2 nights.

Everland is your typical amusement park with various rides, theme presentations as well as a water park and zoo-type exhibit called Zootopia.  This is a good destination as it has something for all ages and interests.   I had a chance to spend some time with the kids on their first full day and visit a couple of the theme areas and have lunch with everyone.  The food was quite good and the park was very well organized, clean and for a day that was near 100 degrees and high humidity, people were handling the crowds and heat in a patient, good-natured way.

This was also my first time without Aimee Jachym’s assistance with language interpretation so I had to sink or swim!  I regret my progress over the past four years in learning Korean has been less than I had hoped. I did manage to cobble together a few sentences here and there and when in a pinch, pull out my trusty Samsung Satellite 8+ and use Google translate.  Maybe not the best way to communicate but it would have to do for now.  I think I needed to be put in a situation that would motivate me to try learning Korean quicker!

Kids are amazing!  As hot as it was, they seemed to be having a terrific time.  It is great for them to have an opportunity to get away from the city and their normal routines, doing things that all kids do.  Time to relax and play are integral in helping them to develop into well-rounded people and your donations help to provide them the opportunity to have these types of activities.  Your support is critical in helping us continue to provide these kinds of activities and support and the kids appreciate it as do we here at KKOOM!

Regarding communicating during my visit, I didn’t sink but I didn’t swim, either.  Let’s say I was able to float and hope to be able to tread water, in Korean by my next trip to South Korea!

NOTE: As part of our commitment to KKOOM and our donors, Board Member Bill personally funded his travel and expenses to attend the Everland trip in South Korea. 

Written by Bill Downey, KKOOM Board of Directors