Four years ago, I wrote the following in a KKOOM guest blog post:
“I hope that one day, I will work directly with the precious children halfway across the world. For now, I will be content helping to fundraise scholarship money or support their Christmas presents.” ~ 2017 12 Days of KKOOM, Liat Shapiro
Four years later, I have not only individually fundraised over $12,000, but have also joined KKOOM’s Board of Directors. Serving on KKOOM’s Board has given me, a Korean Adoptee, the precious opportunity to directly give back to at-risk children and youth in the South Korean welfare system, a community I was born into and adopted out of.
Back in summer 2018 when I was an intern for KKOOM, I visited Samsungwon, a KKOOM-supported children’s home, to lead an English language camp and accompany them on their annual summer camping trip. Before I left, I promised to return. Finishing university, pursuing my career, and navigating a pandemic have prevented me from fulfilling this promise. And so, I turned to fundraising, an activity I genuinely enjoy, for a cause so worth celebrating.
Hosting birthday fundraisers has not only given me a platform to elevate and share the hopes and dreams of these beautiful children, but also to celebrate and recognize the generosity and love flowing from family, friends, and even strangers who surround me.
The generosity of others has always left me in tears; but the birthday fundraisers have by far gifted me the most awe-inspiring and precious memories.
My aunt’s former boss gave $1,200 – the initial goal of my 2019 fundraiser – because he saw my aunt’s donation on his Facebook feed. A day later, he donated a one-time gift that fully funded a new bike rack in memory of his late wife.
An older Korean Adoptee asked if he could share my fundraiser with his family and friends in a small town in British Columbia, Canada, explaining it gave him the perfect opportunity to share more about his Korean heritage with his community. Collectively, they contributed around $300.
Each birthday fundraiser, I have seen family and friends come together with open hearts to send holiday spirit across the Pacific Ocean to the Samsungwon children. As I reflect on past fundraisers, I have come to more deeply understand the truth that fundraising goes far beyond asking others for money – it’s mostly about giving others an opportunity to fall in love with and give to a cause we have already fallen in love with.
– Liat Shapiro, KKOOM Board of Directors
You can share hope for Korean children by creating a birthday fundraiser on Facebook or you can contact KKOOM’s Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org. Grace at KKOOM will be able to create a fundraising page for you or your organization. Thank you for helping to make a difference in the lives of Korean children!