The origins of KKOOM started with one wish – to bring Christmas cheer to youth at a children’s home in Gumi, South Korea. Aimee Jachym, KKOOM’s Co-founder, was a Fulbright English Teacher in 2004 and during her free time outside of class, she volunteered at Samsungwon Children’s Home. Aimee, along with Erika (KKOOM’s other co-founder) and their friends within the Fulbright Korea network wanted to give the children a reason to celebrate the holidays – through Christmas wish list items. They raised $2,000 to purchase gifts for the children knowing that for some of the children, this would be the only gift they would receive during the holiday season.
They continued to uphold this tradition of purchasing Christmas gifts for a few years until 2007, which is when KKOOM was officially founded. For the past nineteen years, we have provided over 1,550 Christmas gifts to seven children’s homes in Seoul, Gumi, Gimcheon, Daegu, Busan, and most recently in Sejong, South Korea.
The heart of KKOOM was founded on one goal – to give love during the holiday season. This love is found in big and small ways – from house mothers volunteering their time to purchase the gifts for the parties, to college students giving $40 to sponsor one Christmas gift, and to volunteers traveling all across South Korea to be present at the holiday parties. Mother Teresa once said, “It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.”
We’re continuing the tradition of giving love to the children in South Korea this Christmas. We are impacting the lives of 206 children through meals, gifts, and enrichment activities. This past holiday weekend, we hosted two Christmas parties at two children’s homes in two days – talk about a busy season of giving Christmas cheer! At one children’s home, we hosted a Talent Show for the second year in the row. The children practiced their performances for months and were able to sing and dance their hearts out in front of a group of judges (aka volunteers). This was also their second year making gingerbread houses; since there are a lot of younger children at this children’s home, we shipped gingerbread house kits and it seemed to spark more creativity in them!
At the second children’s home, we hosted activity booths on Christmas Eve, from a nail station, to face painting, a photobooth station, pin the nose on reindeer, games, and decorating Christmas cookies. They love the gingerbread house competition as they have been doing it for the past four years. See the amazing gingerbread house creations they made! Thank you to KKOOM Board member Leah for organizing the parties on-the-ground and bringing all of her friends to serve as volunteers this year. We couldn’t have hosted the parties without you!
Here is a Merry Christmas greeting from some of the children we support. Thank you for all the love you’ve given the past nineteen years to ensure the children know they are dearly loved and cared for.
Grace resides in Georgia and first volunteered with KKOOM in 2015 when she was a Fulbright English Teacher in Sejong. After volunteering at the Samsungwon Christmas party, she became a Board member in 2016, the Chief Administrator in 2017, and the organization’s first Executive Director in 2020. While at Georgia State University, she obtained a Public Policy degree, with a concentration in Nonprofit Leadership. As the Executive Director, she oversees all social media marketing, manages donor relations, email communications, and supervises our KKOOM interns and executive assistant. You can read more about Grace here.