In January 2021, I started my Fulbright ETA grant in South Korea. From the moment I started, I knew I wanted to volunteer for organizations that supported children living within the Korean welfare system. As a Korean American Adoptee, my goal was to learn more about these organizations, as well as the welfare system itself, in order to find the best methods of support and service.
It was at an alumni panel during my Fulbright Orientation that I was first introduced to KKOOM. Soon after, I joined a team of dedicated Fulbrighters to work on “The Dream Big Series,” a social media marketing campaign to help expand and share KKOOM’s outreach and mission. This project quickly turned into another presentation on branding and digital strategy, both of which gave me the opportunity to present at KKOOM’s Annual Board meeting.
The gratitude I felt in lending my professional and personal background to servicing and supporting KKOOM’s mission was a big catalyst for me deciding to join KKOOM’s Board. I wanted to learn and be part of a team of dedicated and diversely talented people who were all coming to the table for the same cause.
Fast forward to the present day, and joining KKOOM’s Board has been one of the most meaningful experiences for me this year. While I have enjoyed working on branding projects and sharing digital and design insights with the team, the most meaningful experiences are found offline.
Through an event early this year in Seoul, I had the opportunity to spend the day with a few students from one of the children’s homes KKOOM supports. It’s one thing to support the spread of KKOOM’s mission online, but it’s another to see it in play (literally and figuratively) in real life. To be honest, I still have yet to fully process how much meeting and playing with the children that day touched my heart. It was so hard to leave and say goodbye. However, now every time I return back to my computer for another Board call or assignment, I know the work we are doing truly goes beyond the screen and the keyboard. It touches the lives of real people, real children. With your support, I hope we can keep creating safe spaces while welcoming brighter tomorrows.
Leah Garlock is a KKOOM Board member who joined in March 2022. She is currently wrapping up her grant year teaching English in South Korea as a Fulbright teacher. As a Korean American Adoptee, she volunteers for International and Transracial Adoptee communities, as well as AAPI organizations, in her free time. She is passionate about using her skills for good, and is excited to use her experience and knowledge to help serve KKOOM’s mission. You can read more about Leah here.