Perhaps you were wondering

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Nov 172013
Michael (white hat / sunglasses) with kids from the Gumi orphanage at the water park they visited this summer

Michael (white hat / sunglasses) with kids from the Gumi orphanage at the water park they visited this summer

Post by Michael Baldwin, KKOOM Board Member & Volunteer. 안녕하세요? / Ahnyonghaseyo… Greetings from Korea. I’m the newest board member with KKOOM and recently moved to Korea (my mini bio). I’ve had 4 prior visits to Korea, but this is my first extended trip in Korea. I’ve settled into visiting an orphanage in Gumi and another in Daegu.

A few general observations from my visits include (from the Gumi orphanage): most of the kids are well adjusted to their lives in the orphanage. When the weather is nice, the kids will go outside and play soccer, run around in the open area playing tag or use the swing set in the yard. The kids are watched after by “house moms” who have made many personal sacrifices to raise the kids. The “house moms” in 6 out of the 7 houses stay with the kids 24-7. Also integrated into raising the kids is the administrative and support staff.

So, a few basic things if you are curious (as I was). No, the kids aren’t starving, have clothes and all go to public school. They have chores Continue reading »

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Access to Preschool Program for Orphan Toddlers

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Oct 022013
2-year-old Korean orphans currently enrolled in preschool through KKOOM

2-year-old Korean orphans currently enrolled in preschool through KKOOM

It is well established that children who attend preschool before reaching school age do better in school. In South Korea, children from regular families typically begin attending preschool at age 2. However, due to lack of funding, Korean orphans are typically unable to attend preschool until they turn 4, when a government subsidy kicks in.

Because of this funding gap, Korean orphan toddlers are significantly behind their peers (who got to go to preschool) by the time they turn 5. This gap persists for the remaining years of preschool and in to elementary school.

To help bridge this gap, since late 2011, KKOOM has provided tuition for 2 and 3-year-old Korean orphans to attend local preschools. Annual tuition for one child is approx. $4,000 USD, but we have been working with private local Korean preschools to lower the cost on a case-by-case basis.

At KKOOM, we believe that sending orphan toddlers to preschool at the same time (age 2) as regular children will help eliminate the access to education gap between orphan toddlers and non-orphans and level the playing field when it comes to educational achievement in the classroom as they grow older.

To date, we’ve had two children “graduate out” of this program (one is now 5 and one is 6), and we have three 2-year-olds currently enrolled in preschool (pictured).  We previously mentioned a few of these program participants in another post, here. In future blog posts, we’ll profile the children in more detail, so please stay tuned!

If you’d like to make a contribution specifically to support this program, you can click the button below to make a donation via GlobalGiving, an online fundraising partner.

 Posted by at 1:49 pm  Tagged with:

Sunday Hangouts with the Samsungwon Kids: A volunteer’s perspective

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Aug 312013

KKOOM Volunteer Shaun Wiese shows off his freshly manicured nails. The kids he visits every other Sunday did them.

Guest blog post by Shaun Wiese.  I’m originally from the suburbs of Chicago and I now live just outside of Gumi. I teach English at Buksam Middle School and have been living in Buksam for just about one year. I started volunteering at Samsungwon in early 2013 and visit every other Sunday. For information on how to get involved with the Sunday visits at Samsungwon, visit our volunteer group on Facebook.

When I first arrived in Korea and found out I was living in Buksam, I was a little nervous due to the fact that every single person (Korean or Foreign) I asked had no idea where the town was. So when I moved here and met the few other foreigners in this town I was kind of dependent on them to help me get around at first. I think I may have been a bit of leach at the beginning. Anyway, throughout all this my friend  mentioned that she volunteered at an orphanage in Gumi. So after I became self dependent and knew how to get around I finally asked her where it was and told her I’d like to go sometime and visit with her. My first visit was to discuss setting up a bi-weekly visit for foreigners to come and play with the kids. I’m really happy I went.

I have visited every other week since that first visit and every time it’s a lot of fun. I typically just play piano or games with the kids (like Jenga, throwing an American Football around, playing basketball, or literally just picking up the little kids and throwing them [gently] above my head). Once I let the girls paint my nails and I’m still seeing little specks of it on me.

Earlier this year, Continue reading »

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KKOOM Supports Soccer Camp for Orphans in Seoul

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Jul 082013

KKOOM is pleased to announce that we will be supporting a soccer camp in Seoul for Korean orphans this summer, from July 22-24. The camp is put on by Jerusalem Ministry, a Korean nonprofit organization based in Seoul.

Here’s a video from last year’s soccer camp. [more after the video]

Continue reading »

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KKOOM Spring Shebang: A volunteer’s view

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Jun 172013

Guest Blog by Christina Galardi. I am teaching at a co-ed middle school in Gumi, South Korea. After the Christmas party last December, I have been coming back every week to spend more time with the students at Samsungwon.

KKOOM Volunteer Christina (right) with a child

KKOOM Volunteer Christina (right) with a child

Collect a purple straw.

Take a picture with a car that is not a Korean brand.

Walk into a store, ask the clerk how much it would be to buy everything and film the response.

WIth just 2.5 hours and counting, these and many more were the tasks ahead of teams of Samsungwon students on one sunny Saturday afternoon. Continue reading »

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Jun 122013
Amber (L) with her student at Emmanuel

KKOOM volunteer and guest blogger Amber Barcel (right) with her student at Emmanuel (left)

Guest blog by Amber Barcel…

I am a Korean adoptee from Bellwood, Nebraska. I am teaching high school in Gumi, South Korea. I have been volunteering weekly at a children’s home in Gimcheon since December and biweekly in Gumi since April.

“Teacher, again, again!” says Bada (age 9) as we finish our fifth round of war. This week, we are practicing numbers in English. Well, we’ve actually been practicing numbers for the past four weeks because she loves the card game so much. I have been tutoring Bada every week since March. When I met her, she was very shy and communication was incredibly difficult. Now, as we have become more comfortable with each other, the talking and laughing never seems to stop. She is just as eager to teach me Korean as she is to learn English. I have discovered that this small, delicate girl has one of the biggest hearts of all the people I’ve ever met. Continue reading »

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