HeeJae was a former KKOOM volunteer and the 2019 Chair of the KKOOM Holiday Parties. He loved volunteering at the holiday parties, something he will always remember. We wanted to share his heartwarming story of why he gives to KKOOM as he starts a yearly donation in memory of his grandfather.
“My brother HeeTae and I were interested in starting a fund to honor our late grandfather who passed away last year on September 14th. He loved children and one of his dreams was to open an orphanage. My grandma told me stories about how he would come back from his business trips to China where he would literally give the clothes off his back to the poor children he met there.”
“The whole holiday party was just an experience that I will always remember. I wish I had the capacity to be a more consistent volunteer and carry on a long-term relationship with the kids I met that day. The importance of consistent adult figures in a child’s life cannot be understated. I think every child should have a mentor like I had in my grandpa so I donate in honor of him.”
While the holiday parties create lifetime memories for the children we serve, it also provides an enriching experience for the volunteers. Once you meet the children, you won’t forget them. The only volunteer opportunities we provide in South Korea are at the holiday parties or at other enrichment activities, due to the vulnerable population we serve.
We love hearing HeeJae’s story of giving back to children in South Korea, thanks to the unconditional love his grandfather gave to children in China. Thank you for leaving a legacy in your grandfather’s memory!
HeeJae is a motivated researcher-educator with a M.A. in clinical developmental health and psychology from Tufts University. He was a Fulbright Teacher from 2018-2020 in Cheongju teaching English to 300 Korean middle school students. Currently, he lives in New York and is a Capacity Building Fellow at the Korean American Community Foundation supporting the work of Korean American Nonprofits in the greater New York area and previously worked at the Seoul Counseling Center as a Research Project Coordinator and the Human Resources Manager.