12 Days of KKOOM – #6) Hiring of Chief Administrator

 Blog  Comments Off on 12 Days of KKOOM – #6) Hiring of Chief Administrator
Dec 172017
 

Here is a reflection piece written by our Chief Administrator Grace Lee:

2015 Samsungwon Christmas party with Fulbright English Teacher Assistants

Everything has come full circle. In December 2015 I was a KKOOM volunteer at the Christmas parties at Samsungwon Orphanage and Emmanuel Children’s Home. I gathered Fulbright friends together to give back to the local orphan community, not knowing I would come back two years later as Chief Administrator planning it. Even with the changing of roles, the one thing that remained the same is seeing the true joy of the kids as they smiled through activity stations and waited in anticipation to receive their Christmas present.

Many of the volunteers asked how I got started working for KKOOM. After volunteering at the Christmas parties in 2015, I stayed in touch with Aimee because of Fulbright Korea shared experiences and saw her as a mentor. I also personally connected with her because at the time, she was in the process of adopting a special needs boy. And I have always had the heart to adopt one day in the future. In December 2016, I joined the Board and helped increase social media presence with consistent weekly posts and created our Instagram account.

In February of this year, I reached out to Aimee to get professional advice as I was looking into graduate school options. I expressed concern that I didn’t want to work full-time as a teacher while going to graduate school. On that very same call, I was asked if there was an interest to help KKOOM. We had no idea whether it would be full-time or part-time, when I would start, and whether the Board would approve me but I said one word unaware of what the future held: “Yes.” Three months later, I was hired full-time as Chief Administrator.

Having dinner during the 2017 Samsungwon Christmas party with Hyuk

Being grateful is an understatement. The journey with KKOOM from volunteer to Board member to now being able to advocate for South Korean orphans every day has been a blessing. It’s touching to build relationships with donors who love and fight for our mission’s cause just as much as we do. Thank you to our donors, friends, Board members, and KKOOM’s President for entrusting me in this role. Looking forward to seeing what our community efforts can do to help support these kids on a daily basis.

With gratitude,

-Grace Lee, Chief Administrator

 Posted by at 8:33 am

12 Days of KKOOM – #5) Welcoming 8 New Babies

 Blog  Comments Off on 12 Days of KKOOM – #5) Welcoming 8 New Babies
Dec 162017
 

2017 was a season of new beginnings for eight children at Samsungwon Orphanage and Emmanuel Children’s Home. Since April 2016, we have clothed and bought basic necessities for fourteen newly arrived orphans. When they arrive to one of our orphanages, they usually just have the clothes on their backs. This is why KKOOM provides  “Welcome Boost Funds” of approximately $125 to help the child acclimate in their new environment to start thriving.

HyungJun arrived in July at 15 months with his teeth barely growing due to not receiving adequate amounts of water as a newborn baby. In just 3 months being at Samsungwon, it was clearly evident the positive physical growth through his stature. He now has teeth growing and although he is fighting a cold at the moment, we love having him at Samsungwon Orphanage. To read more about HyungJun, we invite you to click here.

One of the children at the Samsungwon Party on December 16th in Korea was smiling ear to ear to receive her Christmas gift. Jin arrived at the orphanage in September and you may remember the photo below (left photo) from the fall 2017 Welcome Boost blog post. Well, she is still sporting that same peace sign as she loves her gifts. We are so thankful for all the support from our friends from around the world who helped make Christmas cheer possible for the kids this year. Our deepest gratitude to all of you for helping us make a lifelong investment in orphan children.

 

 Posted by at 12:55 pm

12 Days of KKOOM – #4) Christmas traditions

 Blog  Comments Off on 12 Days of KKOOM – #4) Christmas traditions
Dec 152017
 

We asked one of our Board members to contribute to a “12 Days of KKOOM” blog post. Here is some reflections from Board member Bill Downey who is currently in South korea.

I am back in Korea for my third Christmas party in four years of visiting Samsungwon orphanage as a KKOOM member!  This is also my fourth trip to Korea this year.  That is a lot of going through security check-ins, sitting at gates, riding to and from airports and checking in and out of temporary places to stay!

Traveling during the holidays is a stressful ritual many of us endure.   Typically, it is for keeping with family traditions that send us into the travel fray, whether it be getting to multi-generational events or taking the family skiing.  There is reassurance and validation in our consistency in observing annual events, what become our traditions.  We often go to great lengths to get there!

This year, I simply do not have enough vacation time to do all the things I would like to do.  As a result, my holiday visit to Korea will not only be short but will also prevent me from participating in what have become over the past few years, traditions, or being consistent.

I have never had children but I like to think that when the kids see me, it is not only good for them to see that I come back consistently and predictably, but that they are important in the lives of others.  It is this consistency, sometimes difficult to do, that forms the traditions in all of our lives.  Ultimately, I felt being there for some of the things I have done the past few years was still important and was better than not coming at all.

These events will hopefully be good memories for our kids and be the foundation for their holiday traditions as they go out and become adults and have their own families.

Our holiday traditions reflect the importance of love, togetherness, and generosity and if we can share those values with these kids, it has been a pretty good holiday!

Your contributions help us do these important activities!  Peace and the joys of the season to all!

Best,

Bill Downey, KKOOM Board Member

 Posted by at 12:42 pm

12 Days of KKOOM – #3) Facebook Live for Samsungwon Party 12/16

 Blog  Comments Off on 12 Days of KKOOM – #3) Facebook Live for Samsungwon Party 12/16
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

12 Days of KKOOM – #2) Do Good on Social Media

 12Days, Blog, In Korea  Comments Off on 12 Days of KKOOM – #2) Do Good on Social Media
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

12 Days of KKOOM – #1) Volunteer-Led Projects

 12Days, Blog, Volunteer-led Projects  Comments Off on 12 Days of KKOOM – #1) Volunteer-Led Projects
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

 Blog  Comments Off on A door of opportunity – the importance of a preschool education
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

 Blog  Comments Off on Holiday Giving Campaign 2017
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!

 Blog  Comments Off on Happy Birthday KKOOM!
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

 Blog  Comments Off on New Beginnings – Welcome Boost Fall 2017
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.