Korean Kids and Orphanage Outreach Mission

We are organized to improve and enrich the lives of children living in orphanages and group homes in South Korea; to support these youth after they leave the institutions and start their own lives by providing post-high-school-graduation education, support services, and resources; to aid the institutions and staff that devote their resources to the upbringing of these youth and spread awareness and build compassion for these children.
Jan 4, 2016

Trip of a lifetime to the USA!

Jaeho, Minyeal and JD had a great trip in the US
Jaeho, Minyeal and JD had a great trip in the US

Thanks to your generous financial support, KKOOM is able to create educational experiences for young adult Korean orphans, who would not otherwise have suh opportunities. Last fall, three young adults who grew up at Samsungwon, an orphanage in Gumi, South Korea, traveled around the United States for two weeks. They visitied Chicago, Washington, DC, New York and Detroit. 

The three travelers were Minyeal, age 27, who is planning to transition from factory work to studying English; Jaeho, age 29, who recently completed a Master's in Divinity and is set to become an ordained pastor next year; and JD (Jindong), who studied in Boston this summer and met Minyeal and Jaeho in Chicago to begin their trip.

This fall, the three guys sat down and wrote an essay about their trip. It's a bit long, but we've included it all below, since we hope many of you will be interested in reading about the experiences your support has made possible. Thank you for all of your help!


This first part of the essay was written by Minyeal and was translated by JD. 

September 7, 2015. It was my first overseas trip to a huge country, America.

I went to Incheon international airport, I had never been there before. I hoped to see several celebrities there, but I didn’t. My whole body started to be bad as soon as I arrived. (I don’t know why). The airport was full of people and I had no idea how to check my baggage and where to go to get my airplane. But, I could get the airplane thanks to smart guy, Jaeho.

I was really excited and happy. The flight attendants were so kind. But I didn’t like the meals in the airplane and they served just a little. I just had it to live. Actually, some of my acquaintances said that I will be tired if I take airplane for 14 hours, even so, I didn’t get tired at all. Because I was really excited to visit America.

I slept little while, and the airplane arrived Chicago!!!!! The city I’ve just seen on TV. It was so amazing that I got there from Incheon by plane.

Aimee and Jindong was there to pick us up. The weather was hot like Korea, not warm. But I think it’s better than rain. We ate Chicago Pizza, while we were getting the pizzeria, the street and road was really interesting to me. And I was happy to have real Chicago pizza at Chicago!! Even though I can have it in Korea. But it was not easy to eat it more than one piece. Because it was too greasy, I thought it isn’t good for Korean. But I liked it, I had it in America!!!

After that, we visited a hotel to stay for 2 days. We said good-bye to Aimee and decided to see again next week. I thought we are a team from now on. I wanted to challenge and confront something there and went outside. I was really exhausted and had some parts painful. But I didn’t want to be weak in America.

We looked around Millennium park, Cloud gate, Buckingham fountain first. There were so many people. I didn’t know they are famous. So I was not that interested. Anyway I took lots of pictures.

We returned to the hotel early. We planned where to go the on second day and went to bed. I couldn’t fall asleep well because of jet lag.

Next morning, I thought I can be diligent if I live here and I felt like Chicago is mine. Metro, Construction site, and so many people going to work, I loved it. Even though they were working, it was interesting to me.

And we went to Willis tower and took a picture as soon as we arrived there. After getting the top of the building, the view of Chicago was really great and beautiful. I’m sure that photograph can’t show all of the beauty, we can feel it only if we go and see it.

And the next destinations were Field museum, Art gallery and somewhere… (I forgot it). I saw lots of animals and 4D movie. I also took a lot of pictures. To be honest, I don’t like museums that much in Korea. I can’t feel anything from some exhibitions or heritages in museum. I don’t know why. But I liked the museum in Chicago, it was really big and I saw plenty of things there.

We spent a lot of time and searched somewhere to have dinner. Hamburger or Hotdog…. But I just appreciate to have something and didn’t complain. But I felt like I had snack or appetizer, not meal. After having meal, we visited John Hancock center to see the night view of Chicago. I was so excited.

We stayed and waited for the night view for a long time. After some time, we saw the night view… It was gorgeous and wonderful. I really appreciated God for letting me see the great view. And I didn’t want to come out from there.

I went to bed thinking that I can come back here someday. Next day, we went to Washington D.C. by airplane. The only one place I know of Washington D.C. is ‘White house’, where president of U.S. lives. I’m too ignorant… I thought Washington D.C. is so clean and really wanted to live there. I was so excited that I wanted to live anywhere in America.

From the airport of Washington D.C., we walked to the hotel, I still regret to walk to there. It made us too exhausted. I heard that we can have breakfast for free at the hotel. I thanked Aimee^^. We unpacked our baggage, and Jaeho and Jindong went outside, but I didn’t because I slept. Next day, there were some food on the 1st floor. We had breakfast and visited ‘Pentagon’. I didn’t know that is well-known place to people until I got there. At the entrance, there were several police officer those who are big and looked scary.

After looking around there, we went to ‘White house’, the place I know well. There were many people taking pictures. All of the places we planned to visit were close to White house. We just walked from a place to another place Because it was ambiguous to ride something. So many kinds of museum were in Washington D.C. I thought Washington is so clean city and lots of gentlemen are there. I recognized that it is the capital city of United States.

We returned to the hotel, I was too tired and have some parts painful. We went to Costco to buy something to eat. We had hotdog and bought one chicken. After we came back to the room, We ate ‘Shin Ramen’. I can’t forget the taste. And we went to bed.

We visited zoo next day. But there were just a few kinds of animals and the animals looked tired. I guess it was because the weather was too hot. And I stopped by drug store to buy pain killer. We tried to find another place to visit, but we decided to return to the hotel in order to take a rest for tomorrow. Next morning, we went to the bus terminal in Washington D.C. to go to New York. It was rainy at the moment to say goodbye to us.

The rest of the essay was written by Jaeho and was translated by JD.

The next morning, we went to the bus terminal in Washington D.C. to go to New York. It was rainy at the moment to say goodbye to us.

It takes 4 hours from Washington D.C. to New York. I admire the bus driver that drove the bus without any break time. We can go anywhere from somewhere with 4 hours in Korea. America is really huge.

We arrived New York where we’ve just seen only in movies. We unpacked our baggage at ‘Hi NY hostel’, and met Aimee and her friends. We had pork meat in Korea town. The problem is that it was really expensive. And we took a rest to have good tour in New York.

I had not expected to see a baseball game in America, even in Yankees Stadium!! After the game, we went to Hillsong Church. What I was impressed by is there were two lines of people there, one was a line of people waiting to get into a bar, and another was a row waiting for church worship. It was interesting scene I can’t find in Korea.

Led by Christine, one of Aimee’s friends, we had some pizza which was two times larger than my hand. It also tasted good. I felt everything is huge in America at that moment. And we visited ‘Strand Bookstore’, which was opened in 1927. I really regretted not to study English very hard at the moment, Because I couldn’t buy any books to read.

We walked again and again, stopped by Bryant park, New York city library and went to Times Square. It was really wonderful and beautiful. Even though it was night, I was impressed by many signs shinning. I’m not that good at taking a picture to take all of the beautiful scenes.

We walked again next day to see ‘statue of liberty’, the symbol of New York. (of course, we took subway, lol). Going to purchase the ticket to take the ship, a trickster tried to make us buy their fake tickets and we were about to get deceived, but fortunately, we didn’t. Getting close to statue of liberty was also great, and the skyline of Manhattan was very nice. I envied the natural beauty I can’t find in Korea.

We started to walk again, the next destination was the 9.11 Memorial. The area was still sorrowful and we couldn’t enjoy it. The atmosphere was quite solemn. I wish everywhere in the world be free from terror.

We just wandered without any destination. We walked so long time that I didn’t want to walk more. At the moment, two people appeared those who could encourage us, Christina and Christine, Aimee’s friends and friends of KKOOM. We walked again with two New Yorkers. I felt like we were also New Yorkers. Our goal was to eat many kinds of great food in New York. ‘Little Italy’ was held at that time. I forgot what I ate there, but they were good. The food we ate at China town were really nice; I can’t describe how great they are.

‘Grand central terminal’ was so beautiful not like other stations. I remember that it appeared on lots of movies. There were various stores and restaurants, but we just passed them. We stopped by Times Square again when we returned to the hostel. After looking around there several times, I thought it is just like advertisement exhibition.

Next morning, we visited ‘central park’, I borrowed a bicycle and rode it around there. It was really huge. I wished to eat ‘Samgyeopsal’ on the grass in the park. I wanted to look around the park slowly, but we had just little time to do that. I was satisfied in being there and said goodbye.

Christina recommended us to visit ‘Chelsea market’, and we went there. The atmosphere was kind of special. I felt a harmony of traditional market and modern market.

After that, We moved to Brooklyn bridge. The sunset and Manhattan next to the bridge were really nice and beautiful. I didn’t want to be interrupted by my camera, so I just saw the great view long time.

We recognized that there is a kitchen in the hostel the last afternoon we stayed there. We had ‘Shin Ramyeon’, and moved to Yankees stadium to see a soccer game of ‘New York City’. I was interested that we would see a few famous players such as Pirlo, Lampard and Villa. I was also curious of how the stadium can change to soccer stadium.

We went to bed early to take the airplane the next day. I hoped to be back New York, I was not sure I will be back someday.

I was accustomed to boarding an airplane even though I just have experienced it a few times. I didn’t feel joyful or interesting of getting an airplane anymore.

Our next city was Detroit, the ‘Motor city’. We visited Henry Ford museum with Aimee. We looked around Ford factory and Greenfield village. And we took ‘Model T’, which is almost 100 years old. I was surprised that the car worked well although it is too old. We also took a train with steam engine. I don’t know of Henry Ford well, but I could feel his passion at Greenfield village. After visiting there, we moved to Aimee’s parents’ house. It is a kind of typical American house I’ve seen in lots of movies.

Her parents served us very nice food and handmade beer, they were great!

We went to an outlet to buy some presents. Actually, I forgot the name of the outlet. It was really huge. The discount rate was also nice. After we bought some presents, we visited a casino. It was worth to experience, I lost 10 dollars, but I didn’t think it is waste. And we visited Aimee’s house and the law firm she works. In the evening, we watched a football game of West Michigan university. I knew a little bit about the rule of the game, so I could enjoy it. We spent the last night in America at a pub called “Bell’s”. We enjoyed various kinds of craft beer.

We returned to Korea by airplane from Chicago to Incheon. Two weeks went too fast. I was kind of sad and also happy to go back to Korea.

Someone said, ‘World is wide and there is a lot to do.’ That’s really true. We have a lot to do. And I hope to visit lots of places in the world. I feel like I can go anywhere I want to go if I just decide. But it is difficult to achieve my dream because life seems so busy now. And now, it’s been two months since I returned from America. I think, “Can I really do all of the things I want to do in this life?”

I appreciate God and all of the supporters who helped me to see and experience the wold. I believe the 2 weeks will be great seed in my life. I expect to have beautiful life. I believe God will lead my life and I will follow him.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AIMEE J. JACHYM | Co-founder & President
(e) ajachym@kkoom.org | (skype/kakao) aimeeimnida
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
KOREAN KIDS AND ORPHANAGE OUTREACH MISSION (KKOOM)
Improving the lives of Korean orphans through outreach and education
P.O. Box 973, Portage, MI, USA 49081 | (us-tel) + 1-269-340-0430
The 2nd week of their trip included NYC & Detroit.
The 2nd week of their trip included NYC & Detroit.
Dec 30, 2015

Preschool Program Update

JY has many cute and curious faces!
JY has many cute and curious faces!

In the fall of 2011, we discovered that toddlers ages 2 and 3 (international age) living in Korean orphanages are unable to attend preschool because the government does not provide funding until the children turn 4. With the help of a local preschool in Gumi, we began sending 2 and 3 year olds to preschool at a discounted tuition rate. To date, we've been able to send 7 children to preschool two years earlier than they would otherwise be able to attend without KKOOM fund.

The most recent KKOOM preschool child is JY. He arrived at Samsungwon when he was about 2 months old. He was abandoned on the steps of a nearby hospital and is one of the few "true orphans" at Samsungwon. At first he was very malnourished, but once he began eating regularly and growing healthily, his house mom at Samsungwon discovered that he was quite an active little baby with a lot of curiosity.

Previously, we sent children to preschool beginning at 24 months, but given JY's rapid development, we decided to send him to preschool at 20 months this March. We were a little worried about how he would adjust, but he was very excited to ride in the preschool van with the other older children from the orphanage when it came to pick him on the first day. Ever since then, he has enjoyed riding in the van.

As a result of attending preschool, JY has learned the names of animals, types of cars, and other common items. He's also good at putting together blocks, like Duplos. At preschool, JY also has the opportunity to meet other toddlers his age and learn how to play together.

If JY did not have the opportunity to go to preschool, he would spend the weekdays at home with the Samsungwon staff and would not get to interact with others his age. His house mother predicts that JY would not know nearly as many words and would be behind others his age when the time finally came for him to go to school. After seeing JY and others to go to preschool with KKOOM's support, JY's house mother says she can't imagine how bored JY would be if he had to stay at home all day.

Starting next month, in January 2016, we will send another 20-month-old toddler to preschool. We look forward to sharing more information about him in our next update. 

As always, thank you for your support to KKOOM through GlobalGiving. We appreciate not only your financial gifts, but also your encouragement and participation in our work. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly.

Happy New Year!

Aimee

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
AIMEE J. JACHYM | Co-founder & President
(e) ajachym@kkoom.org | (skype/kakao) aimeeimnida
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
KOREAN KIDS AND ORPHANAGE OUTREACH MISSION (KKOOM)
Improving the lives of Korean orphans through outreach and education
P.O. Box 973, Portage, MI, USA 49081 | (us-tel) + 1-269-340-0430
JY is now 28 months old.
JY is now 28 months old.
Sep 4, 2015

JinDong in America

JinDong in America (near Boston, August 2015)
JinDong in America (near Boston, August 2015)

We reported last time that JinDong, one of our college scholarship recipients, was coming to America. JinDong grew up in a Korean orphanage from elementary school through high school, and he's been living a dream-come-true for the past several weeks during his time in America. We had him write about his experiences to give you a firsthand glimpse of the impact your support is having on his life. This report is much longer than many of our previous reports, but we wanted to include his entire essay. If you don't have time to read it all, you much check out JinDong's quick video intro, which is linked below. As always, thank you for your support! -- Aimee Jachym, KKOOM President


1. Introduction

My name is Jindong. I’m 22 years old (US age). I live in Busan,South Korea, and I study at Pusan National University, where my major is Business administration.  Visiting America was one of my dreams when I was younger. I saw many popular and famous American places, such as Niagara Falls, Times Square, Statue of Liberty and others.  So I’m so glad to visit and stay 3 months in America.

When I was 12 years old, I entered an academic academy in my town and attended until I was 18 years old. Until I was 15 years old, I just studied to compete and win against other students in school, but when I was junior in middle school, I started to think about my future and realized the importance of education in my life. I think if someone studies hard and becomes well-educated, he can have many options to choose a job, and in order to succeed in a certain area, people should study and learn lots of things about whatever it is. So, I made my own plan and curriculum. My goals were to be in the top 10th percentile on the Korean SAT and to get into a good university. When I sat down to study, I always reminded myself about my plan and future and realized if I didn’t study hard, I could not accomplish it.

However I’ve never thought that I was a good student and I studied hard. Rather, I think I need to be more serious and try to study harder than before because the rest of this year and next year are really important for my life, like the last year of high school.

2. College and My Year Off

 When I was elementary school student, my dream was to be a CEO, but it was very indefinite; I was not serious about it. After I entered middle school, I sometimes agonized and considered my future. At that time, my dream was still the same, to be a CEO, and I really knew about my strengths and interests. I liked social studies, geography and English. So I wanted to enter a normal high school and major in business administration in college, but I couldn’t enter a normal high school because of several financial and private problems. Instead, I entered a technical high school focusing on electronics, and there, I thought and agonized about my future and career plan seriously. Even though my concentration was electronics, I didn’t like it and wasn’t interested in it at all. Hence, I determined to enter the business department at Pusan National University because I wanted to get a job in a marketing or management department in a large company.

 I had several reasons for taking a year off from university. First, I needed to prepare lots of things such as English test scores to get a job I want. In the last 3 or 4 years, it’s been getting harder to get a good job in Korea, so I need to get a lot of things ready to be competitive. Also, I wanted to have diverse experiences before getting a job, because once I start working, I need to keep working and it’s not easy to do other things after getting a job. Since I’m having good time in America now, I’m very glad that I decided to take a year off.

3. Before Coming to America

I already knew that American culture is very different than Korean culture, but after I arrived in the United States, I really felt it.  Before I came here, I wanted to experience American culture, such as food, basic manners, public transportation and other things.  I also expected that there would be lots of different people in America.  After I arrived U.S., I really understood how different it is from Korea.

I had a couple of goals for coming to America. The first one was getting better at English. Even though I knew that 3 months is not long a time to get much better, during my time at Boston University, I felt that I improved by fixing some of my word choice and usage problems. The most important thing is that I got to overcome my nervousness when I talk to English speakers. Even though I’m sometimes nervous, I think I have made a big change in this area. Finally, I wanted to visit as many places and cities in America as possible, and at the end of my trip, I’m supposed to visit Chicago, Washington D.C, New York and Detroit! I’m looking forward to do it.  

4. Boston: Exploring, English Classes and Experiencing Cultural Differences

I was in Boston from June 29th to August 22th. I lived in a dormitory at Boston University. I liked it, and the location was really nice. It was 3 minutes on foot from Fenway Park, which is the home ballpark of the Boston Red Sox, and I could see the Charles River through my window. The exterior of the building was also impressive; although it is a little bit old, it looked like a castle.

Of course, I attended CELOP English class every day, during the week, and afterward I sometimes exercised in the great gym on campus. When I missed Korea, I had dinner at a Korean restaurant or bought something to eat at the Korean market called “H Mart”. I felt like I was in Korea when I went there.

I also visited lots of famous places in Boston such as the Freedom Trail, Fenway Park, Prudential Center, Harvard University, MIT and others. My favorite place in Boston is the Charles River. It flows between Boston University and MIT and looks so beautiful. So I sometimes crossed the bridge between the two universities by bicycle or just walked along the bridge and the river. There were many people in boats, yachts and canoes. The skyline of Boston, the Charles River and the beautiful sky made for a beautiful harmony. 

In addition to learning English, I met many students from around the world. Even though America is just one country, I could meet so many international students and people. I think America is like a mini world. In my class, there were 16 students, excluding me: 5 Saudi Arabian, 3 Chinese, 3 Taiwanese, 2 Brazilian, 2 Japanese and 1 Russian. And I had two roommates. One was from Spain and another was from Colombia. 

I experienced many cultural differences with my classmates and roommates from around the world. Let me explain some of the examples. First, Western people use a big towel after taking a shower. Honestly, I still don’t understand why they use it. Also many people blow their nose loudly, even in restaurants. At first, I was so surprised and embarrassed, but now I understand and respect the cultural difference. Another thing that I was surprised at is that so many people jog and run shirtless. Besides these examples, I also had a lot of other experiences.

5. After Boston: Going to New York!

 I stayed in New York between August 22th and 27th, and I visited a lot of popular places there, such as Times Square, Central Park, 9.11 Memorial, Museum of Natural History, Rockefeller Center, Korea town, Chinatown, SoHo and other places.  At the top of the Rockefeller Center, I could see all of NYC. It was so nice. At Times Square, I could see many commercial advertisements that I had seen only on TV or the Internet. It was so impressive.

 I had a little funny story about Times Square. When I was looking around there, two men dressed up as Iron Man and Spiderman asked me to take some pictures together. So I took pictures with them, said goodbye and turned to go to another place. Suddenly they requested tips! It made me upset, because they came to me and took pictures, but I didn’t request anything to them. Anyway, since I took pictures with them, I gave them a tip.

 In the Museum of Natural History, I could see so many diverse things such as dinosaur skeletons, prehistoric people from each continent, detailed information about the universe and many other things. It was also impressive. Owing to its enormous size, I spent 4 hours in the museum.

I had heard from some people that New York’s subway is very dirty and messy, but after I rode the subway, I thought it was not true. The subway station and platform were dirty and old, but I thought the subway train itself was okay. So I was ok with it.    

6. Conclusion

I’m not sure, but I think I accomplished my goals pretty well. Even though I still need more practice with English, I became more confident and more motivated than before. Still, when I talk and listen to English speakers, I often can’t understand what they say. Whenever that happens, I’m usually frustrated and motivated simultaneously. Hence, I’m going to keep studying English with YouTube and other things after I return to Korea.

And also, I made a new goal after my first month in America. It is to travel to lots of countries in the world. Before I came to U.S., I was not interested in visiting or travelling to other countries. Because I thought that I would have to spend lots of money for just a short time, and it is inefficient. But I changed my mind. Visiting and touring other countries make me feel great and give me important life experiences and memories.

I want to visit other countries I had never been before such as Japan, U.K., Germany and others in the future.

Of course I have something else to say. Up until last year, I had never expected nor imagined that I could visit America this year. I appreciate it. And I am always thankful for all of KKOOM’s donors and board members. Thank you so much.

JinDong had to cook a meal for a class assignment!
JinDong had to cook a meal for a class assignment!

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