The KKOOM Soccer Camp is an annual summer camp we love sending children to. It is run by our partner organization Jerusalem Ministry and it is a camp solely dedicated to elementary school boys who are living in Korean children’s homes. While most of the boys attending the camp live in Seoul, KKOOM is the only organization that brings a group of boys who live outside of Seoul to South Korea’s capital.
This summer was the first time we were able to take a group to the camp since 2019. We asked KKOOM volunteer Sarah Park to share her experience being a first-time volunteer and having the opportunity to travel to South Korea. Sarah was able to cover her airfare costs through a personal fundraiser.
You know when you meet someone once and you just know… well this was Grace Lee for me. During this year, I had the honor of holding the title of Miss University 2023. Grace reached out to me on instagram through some mutual friends, and invited me to sing at KKOOM’s annual gala. Our phone call was refreshing and I was grateful for the opportunity to support such a niche mission.
After performing at the gala and meeting Grace in person for the first time, we had to follow up for a little boba date. Our conversation was rich and full of overlap in cultural experiences, heart aches and faith. Towards the end of the conversation Grace began to explain the nearing trip to South Korea and passively mentioned how the team was down one volunteer. We locked eyes and there it was… “would you want to come?” Let’s just say I bought my plane ticket the next day.
Although rather spontaneous, God blessed me with an opportunity that led me to deeply understand the culture of children’s homes and the reality that orphans are limited in their experiences. KKOOM is really doing something special. We took them to Lotte World, the Aquarium, a soccer camp with peers who shared similar experiences, a taekwondo show, and satisfied all their favorite cravings. We had loads of fun and as expected, some of the sweetest moments were sitting on the ground of the AirBnb playing cards and passing a ball, talking about who they were and what they liked to do.
My hope for KKOOM is to see us equip Korean youth continuously and encourage them to believe and achieve their dreams. Thank you Grace and the team at KKOOM for exposing me to realities beyond what I had known and for inviting me to make dreams come true, one action at a time.
Sarah Park is a senior at University of Georgia majoring in Marketing. In January 2023, she was crowned the first Korean American to win the Miss University of Georgia title. Outside of her classes, Sarah welcomed new students to UGA as a 2022 Orientation Leader and is the Director of the Athens Branch for the Atlanta Run Club. She is always in a fearless pursuit to find out what sets her soul on fire.