Jul 132014
Amazon has made donating to your favorite charity, KKOOM, a breeze with AmazonSmile :)


At no extra cost to you, each purchase is eligible for a 0.5% donation to the charity you choose. All you have to do is shop at smile.amazon.com. Click the link to get started. Make sure “Korean Kids and Orphanage Outreach Mission” is selected as your charity of choice.


For more information, check out AmazonSmile Program Details and More About AmazonSmile.


If you have a few minutes, setup both AmazonSmile and igive (http://www.igive.com/welcome/lptest/wr24c.cfm?c=62797) to maximize your giving potential to KKOOM when you shop. All at no cost to you, except a fraction of your time.


Don’t forget to spread the word, too!  You can do so by sharing on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter page. This will link your friends and family directly to smile.amazon.com in support of KKOOM. http://smile.amazon.com/ch/26-1204716


Korean Kids And Orphanage Outreach Mission
 Posted by at 10:04 pm

Help KKOOM with iGive

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Jul 012014
Help KKOOM by using iGive!

Help KKOOM by using iGive!

Korean Kids and Orphanage Outreach Mission – July $2,000 Contest and $5 New Member Bonuses
New supporters can mean $5 even if they don’t shop.

On top of that, your members can help Korean Kids and Orphanage Outreach Mission win $1,000 or $500.

Everybody who joins iGive.com to support Korean Kids and Orphanage Outreach Mission and tries the iGive Button through 10/15/14 means $5, free. Do it now, and KKOOM gets $5 for free!  http://www.iGive.com/KoreanKidsandOrphanageOutreachMission

That alone is exciting.  But there’s more.

You can also help by spreading the word about how iGive can help ANY cause or charity.  The member who invites the most people who join iGive and try the iGive Button will win $1,000 for his or her cause.  Second and third place winners mean $500 for their causes.  It doesn’t matter what cause that new member chooses to help.  If the member who got the most new members is supporting Korean Kids and Orphanage Outreach Mission, you win!

You MUST use YOUR personalized iGive Tell A Friend link to invite new members, otherwise that new member won’t count towards winning.

Get your personalized link: http://www.iGive.com/html/tellafriend.cfm and use the personalized “Tell A Friend” link on that page to invite friends to join iGive.  If a supporter isn’t already a member of iGive, they can join (and earn Korean Kids and Orphanage Outreach Mission $5 when they try the iGive Button).

So, why not?  Help us get the word out so that KKOOM earns an extra $5 for new iGive members. That’s in addition to the normal donation amount. There’s never been a better time to ask folks to help your group, at no cost to you or to them.

Why share with your friends & supporters? -

  1. When they shop, they’ll help Korean Kids and Orphanage Outreach Mission.  Why not let them take advantage of over 1,400 stores that want to help?
  2. The average shopper is raising over $30 – $100 a year for their cause … all for free.
  3. It’s simple and automatic..
  4. $5 for KKOOM for free, just for trying us out.
  5. The more iGive members, the better the deals we can get from stores.

Get the word out today. The sooner you start, the better your chances of winning $1,000 or $500.

You can help us by spreading KKOOM’s iGive link everywhere (Facebook’s a great way, but Twitter, e-mail, blogs, bulletin boards, and handouts all work).  Here’s KKOOM’s link: http://www.iGive.com/KoreanKidsandOrphanageOutreachMission

Thank you for your support!

 Posted by at 7:38 pm
Jun 292014

Thank you from KKOOM!Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, KKOOM was able to raise $3,890 on GlobalGiving and Microsoft’s YouthSpark Bonus Day, which was held on June 25, 2014.  These funds will go to support young adult Korean orphans in their college and professional pursuits.

Microsoft matched 100% of donations while the allotted $200,000 of bonus funds remained. Unfortunately, the bonus funds ran out in less than 30 minutes after the bonus day started at noon US Eastern time!

However, KKOOM was grateful to raise awareness and and much-needed funds for young adult Korean orphans. Most of the funds will go to college scholarships. KKOOM currently supports 5 college students who grew up in Korean orphans, and we hope to continue to support more in the future.

 Posted by at 8:54 pm
Jun 212014

Three of our five KKOOM college scholarship recipients just finished their first year semesters in college, and we wanted to use this post to let them introduce themselves. Here are their firsthand biographies.*

First-year college students

First-year college students

Yoonjung, Gumi University, first year, early childhood special education major

I decided on my major because I want to be able to share the love and grace I received while growing up in a children’s welfare institution with others. The pain and challenges I’ve overcome inspire me to want to help others do the same.

Upon entering my first semester in college, I was most looking forward to making new friends, experiencing a new environment, and learning new things on my way toward adulthood.

The KKOOM scholarship helped out with my daily living expenses and gave me some extra margin to enjoy myself a little.

At the moment, my dream is to become a social worker. Others tell me that I have a strong sense of responsibility, and I enjoy helping others.

In my free time, I enjoy reading, so I’ve always enjoyed going to the library to borrow books.

Sunghee, Korea Polytechnics Gumi University, first year, electronics major

I wanted to study electronics, which I had exposure to in high school, along with something else, and automated systems was a good fit.

In my first semester, I was most curious about how quickly I would adapt to college life. I was really looking forward to it and really nervous at the same time.

I’ve been saving money from my part-time job to pay for my living expenses, but the KKOOM scholarship has covered all of my textbooks and study aids, which I would’ve otherwise had to take care of on my own.

My dream is to enter a large company after graduation. I enjoy making and assembling things, so I hope to enter a suitable profession in the manufacturing realm.

On a personal note, I really enjoy soccer, even though I am not especially good. I am especially looking forward to the 2014 World Cup.

Junghye, Gyeongbuk Science University, first year, professional cosmetology major

Ever since I was young, I wanted to become a make-up artist and a hair designer. After graduation from high school, I received my hair dresser’s license and began working as a stylist in a salon. After nearly 10 years, I decided to go back to school to get my professional cosmetology degree and license in make-up design.

Returning to school allows me to learn about so much more than just hair. I’ll also be studying health and beauty generally in addition to make up and body art.

The KKOOM Scholarship will cover some of my school expenses and license exam fees.

In my free time, I enjoy traveling, so whenever I have a chance, I like to visit the mountains or the ocean. I also enjoy reading.

Whenever I get the opportunity to make someone feel beautiful, I feel an overwhelming sense of happiness.

Wednesday, June 25th is Microsoft YouthSpark Bonus Day. It starts at 12:00 PM Noon EDT and goes for 24-hours or until funds run out. All donations to our “Support for young adult Korean orphans” on GlobalGiving will be matched at 100%! Please consider giving generously on YouthSpark Bonus Day!

*Biographies translated from Korean to English by Aimee Jachym.

 Posted by at 9:56 am
Apr 122014

For the past 4 years KKOOM has participated in fundraising opportunities through GlobalGiving. Born of an idea from two World Bank executives GlobalGiving is a grassroots fundraising platform for grassroots nonprofits like KKOOM to raise funds for our causes. You know your money is going to a good cause because GlobalGiving ensures only quality programs are funded through strict oversight.

KKOOM inaugurated its first GlobalGiving campaign by raising over $10,000 and winning first and third in two competitions! It was an exciting time for KKOOM, for our generous supporters, and never would have happened without yours and GlobalGiving’s help.

One of the hallmarks of GlobalGiving is their continuous efforts to increase donor fundraising through their Bonus Days. This upcoming Bonus Day on Wednesday, April 16th is extra special in that a whole 50% of funds donated to KKOOM through GlobalGiving’s campaign will be matched by GlobalGiving and Microsoft. 50% doesn’t happen very often, which is why we are extra excited by this opportunity.

The specific program we are fundraising for is KKOOM’s College Scholarship Fund. KKOOM provides scholarships for achievement-minded young Korean orphan adults. One of the first recipients was able to fulfill his dream of traveling the world and changing peoples’ perceptions of Korean orphans and achievement. Five more this year are recipients of the award. The orphanage staff remark on the level of achievement these young adults have steadied themselves toward. KKOOM would like to further the capacity for more worthy orphans this year to take the steps toward their professional lives. Participate in the upcoming Bonus Day on Wednesday, April 16th and watch how your generous donation affects the lives of orphans.

KKOOM would like to give a special thank you to GlobalGiving and Microsoft for making this all happen!

Also, thanks a million to you, our awesomely supportive donors! Don’t forget to check out our GlobalGiving website for College Scholarship Fund updates and to donate – with matched funds – this Wednesday, April 16th!

One of KKOOM's first College Scholarship Fund recipients before jetting off to travel the world

One of KKOOM’s first College Scholarship Fund recipients before jetting off to travel the world

 Posted by at 6:06 pm
Dec 252013
Merry Christmas from Korean Kids and Orphanage Outreach Mission

Merry Christmas from Korean Kids and Orphanage Outreach Mission

We hope you all have a wonderful day as you celebrate togetherness and love with your families. We also hope that you’ve enjoyed the 12 Days of KKOOM blog series. We look forward to reconnecting with you in 2014!

Here’s a recap of the 12 Days of KKOOM blog posts.
1. Christmas Activities
2. College Scholarship Recipients
3. Sentiment without Action is Irrelevant
4. Who is an Orphan?
5.  Get Involved! Volunteer Reflection
6. What is an Orphanage?
7. Korean Educational System
8. A Line of Children Without End
9. How a Smart Little Girl Inspired Us
11. Gifts for 171 Kids
12. Merry Christmas!

If you’ve liked this, please use the “share” links below to let your family and friends know. As always, feel free to connect with me at ajachym[at]kkoom[dot]org. I’d love to hear from you! ~ Aimee, KKOOM Co-founder and President

 Posted by at 1:28 pm
Dec 242013
A toddler from Samsungwon gets his presents with the help of his house mom

A toddler from Samsungwon gets his presents with the help of his house mom

On Sunday, December 22, 171 kids from two orphanages in South Korea received Christmas Presents thanks to the generosity of 91 volunteer shoppers and donors. These KKOOM-sponsored gift drives were put together by international expat volunteers who live in Gyeongbuk Province, South Korea. The volunteers used email and Facebook to recruit volunteers and coordinate logistics. All of them have previously volunteered with KKOOM in the orphanages where the gift drives were hosted.

This is the 10th annual gift drive KKOOM volunteers have helped host at Samsungwon, an orphanage in Gumi, and it is the 4th annual drive at Emmanuel Children’s Home in nearby Gimcheon.

At Samsungwon, the afternoon was punctuated with a fried chicken snack for everyone, which was sponsored by KKOOM. The kids submitted their wish lists to KKOOM in advance, so they all got gifts they wanted — which they were happy about. Their gifts ranged from stuffed animals and toys to snack foods and make-up products.

At Emmanuel, the older kids were given spending money (per their request, which was donated by volunteers) and the younger kids got toys and other fun presents. The Emmanuel event was capped off with a greeting from the orphanage’s pastor and group photos. The kids from Emmanuel also wrote thank you notes, which are pictured in the photo gallery below.

Photo Galleries

Samsungwon Christmas Presents 2013-12-22
Emmanuel Children’s Home Gift Drive 2013-12-22
Thank you note from the kids in Daniel House at Emmanuel Children's Home

Thank you note from the kids in Daniel House at Emmanuel Children’s Home

 Posted by at 1:46 pm
Dec 232013

This year, KKOOM was proud to support 4 volunteer groups with funding for volunteer-led projects (VLPs). VLPs are a way for expats in Korea to give back to orphanages in their communities by serving as a conduit for KKOOM funds and projects to reach at-risk kids throughout Korea. To date, KKOOM has hosted VLPs at approximately 20 orphanages and children’s homes throughout Korea.

Here are some highlights from this year’s VLP work.

KKOOM Volunteer-led Project Korean Orphanage

Winning Team from the 2013 Jerusalem Ministry Soccer Camp

Starting in January, we connected with a volunteer in Mokpo to help kids at GyeongAeWon get resources for an English class.

In May, we helped kids from Dream Up Children’s Home in Suwon go on a field trip to Seoul for the first time.

In the summer, we partnered with Jerusalem Ministry to help kids from six children’s homes throughout Seoul attend a multi-day soccer camp. Here’s a highlight video put together by Jerusalem Ministry.

Thank you note from Jerusalem Ministry

Thank you note from Jerusalem Ministry

Finally, this winter, we helped volunteers at Sunrin Orphanage in Pohang host a Christmas party earlier this month. We’ll share a write-up from the volunteers here on our blog in January.

 Posted by at 9:17 pm
Dec 222013
This is the smart little girl I met who helped KKOOM start the preschool program

This is the smart little girl I met 2 years ago who inspired KKOOM to start the preschool program

One of the things we’re most proud of is helping kids in orphanages attend preschool 2 years earlier than they would otherwise be able to go. The Korean government provides a subsidy for orphans to attend preschool starting in the year they turn 4, but most children from ordinary families start going to preschool 2 years earlier. We’ve written elsewhere about this early access to education program.

What I want to write about today is how I learned about this gap. A few years ago, I was living at Samsungwon, the orphanage where we’ve hosted a number of programs, and I noticed an extremely bright little two year old. She had already learned her ABCs and was learning to manage a mouse with her small little hands. She would sit in front of a computer for hours, visiting websites like Yahoo Kids, watching nursery rhyme songs — often in English, curiously enough, by her own choosing.

One day when all of the older girls in her house were away at school, she peeled off half of the keys on the computer keyboard. The reason? She was tired of the song that kept playing on loop on the computer and was trying to make it stop. When the older girls came home, they were pretty upset that the keyboard had been destroyed, but they did have to applaud this little girl’s effort.

Another day, again when the older girls were at school, I walked in to find her face covered in a bright red shiny liquid. Of course I immediately thought it was blood. Rushing over, I found that it was, thankfully, not blood — but rather half a tube of an older girl’s red tint lip gloss. Evidently this little girl thought she would play a little dress-up by herself. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 9:10 pm
Dec 212013

As I mentioned a few days ago in an earlier post, I first went back to Korea in 2004. What follows is an essay I wrote in 2005, approximately 10 months after I first arrived back in Korea. It details my early involvement with the kids at Samsungwon and my own journey, which ultimately led me to start KKOOM. It was originally published in the Fulbright Review, a publication of the Korean-American Educational Commission in Seoul.

A Line of Children Without End, by Aimee J. JACHYM

when i close my eyes
i try to place your face
in the space reserved for
first memory.
but there is nothing
it is that feeling of misplacement.
where are my keys?
where is my spirit?
my love?
my blood?
blood mother
~ “waiting for mom,” a Detroit hospital lobby, June 2004

Thursday, a twenty-five-year-old father brought his 22-month-old son and 3-year-old daughter to Samsungwon in Gumi. This place has nothing to do with electronics or the Fortune 500 giant like one might expect. Rather, Samsungwon [no relation to the Samsung company] home to children who have been abandoned or, as in this case, dropped off. The father explained that, lacking a job, he was unable to care for his children and that the mother, though they had once been married, had long since been out of the picture. He promised to come back for his children when he had a job and a place to live. The caretakers, veteran to these rarely fulfilled vows, assured him that his children would be well cared for.


Hyun-bin, 2005

Today it is Saturday, and Hyun-bin and his nuna (older sister) Yu-bin now have new “homes,” new “mothers,” and new “brothers and sisters.” Their homes are part of the seven-house structure that is Samsungwon. Each house consists of four bedrooms, a common room, and a bathroom. Separated by gender, the children live in mixed-aged houses of twelve to fourteen whereby the older children help look after the younger ones. The children live here until they graduate from high school or college. Each house is headed by a permanent caretaker, whom the children know better and more lovingly as “Mom.”

Hyun-bin and Yu-bin’s seventy-seven new siblings, all their senior, are excited by their arrival. I sense the novelty lies in the fact that the youngest realize someone smaller has come to take the generally undesirable title of “baby” at Samsungwon. It would be erroneous to think that the hierarchical structure of Korean culture eludes the walls of Samsungwon, so here, as in the rest of Korea, the children take pride in the privileges their seniority affords them. Thus, the preschool and elementary school students especially are eager to show their new siblings around and teach them the ropes of everyday life, which, yesterday—one day after their arrival—included introducing them to me and my popular bag, which is always known to contain candy. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:07 am