Jun 21, 2021

A Fresh Start - Summer 2021 Update

Jaehyuck is KKOOM's newest college scholar!
Jaehyuck is KKOOM's newest college scholar!

While we welcome a new season of summer beginning this week, we are also excited to have a new college scholar for KKOOM! His name is Jaehyuck and he grew up at a children’s home we support. Within two weeks of graduating from high school, he was asked to move out of the children’s home at 18-years-old, the stage of life when a child ages out of Korea’s social welfare system. The Korean government provides approximately $4,000 for young adults to transition into adulthood, a one-time subsidy to independently live on their own. 

When Jaehyuck heard he received the KKOOM college scholarship, he said, “After leaving the children’s home, there are a lot of difficulties and a lot of things to know. Thank you for helping me like this! Thank you!” He started his collegiate studies in spring 2021 and plans on graduating with a two-year degree from a university in the Gyeongsangbuk-do region. We asked him a few questions as he was wrapping up his first semester in college and we translated those answers into English.

  1. Write your self-introduction.
    • My name is Jaehyuck. I like to exercise and I am very interested in singing and acting, and I would like to try it if given the opportunity. But I want to study hard and get a job as a great bodyguard. 
  2. What is the expected graduation year and month? 
    • January 2023
  3. Why did you choose your major? 
    • Since I am interested in martial arts and in secret services, I chose to study Security Management. 
  4. What are you looking forward to the most this semester?
    • I am looking forward to studying security-related topics, and I am also looking forward to meeting new friends and studying. 
  5. What are your goals for this semester?
    • My goal is to get good grades through hard work, receive a national scholarship, and continue attending college. 
  6. How do you plan to use the scholarship (700,000 won or $615) provided by KKOOM this semester?
    • I want to use it for transportation, textbooks, and to cover some of my lunch expenses.  
  7. What is your dream and how will college help you achieve it? (The dream here does not necessarily have to be related to your studies or work).
    • My dream is to become an actor. 

Supporting Jaehyuck’s future dreams by funding his educational studies gives him a fresh start, a new beginning in life. You give him the confidence to embrace the unknowns and challenges ahead. We are grateful you are a part of his journey as he pursues his passions to serve his country through the secret service. Thank you for breathing life into him, validating his dreams, and giving him hope for the future. 

Jaehyuck wants to be a secret service bodyguard.
Jaehyuck wants to be a secret service bodyguard.
May 13, 2021

Flourishing Education: Spring 2021 Update

Harmony enjoying Korea's spring flower blooms
Harmony enjoying Korea's spring flower blooms

Every day has a new beginning, a new blessing, and a new hope. In March 2021, a 22-month-old toddler arrived at a children’s home we support. Giving the child a fresh start, KKOOM provided a Welcome Boost Fund of approximately $125 so the house mother could buy new clothing and basic necessities. The young toddler’s name is Harmony and we are proud to announce she is KKOOM’s newest preschool scholar. To protect the privacy of the child, we have given Harmony an alias name and masked her Korean name. 

Harmony started preschool immediately upon her arrival thanks to your generosity. Typically, the Korean government does not provide financial support for toddlers growing up in Korea’s social welfare system to attend preschool until they are 4-years-old. Getting acclimated to a new learning environment as a 2-year-old, we want to share some of her personality traits and things she enjoys doing. 

What she enjoys the most out of anything else is eating. Now, she tries to eat more snacks in between meals. The children typically have a snack a few hours before dinner at the children’s home. We asked Harmony’s house mother to describe her in one word. She said, “Bright and playful.” When she first came to the children’s home in March, she hid her expressions or forced herself to laugh. Gradually, her expressions have brightened in two months. 

Funding Harmony’s preschool education is a transformational opportunity because it is strengthening her lifelong skills. We asked her house mother, “If you could say one thing to KKOOM supporters, what would it be?” Here is her response translated into English. 

“Thank you for funding Harmony’s preschool scholarship so quickly after her arrival. The scholarship helps the children a lot. Living at a children’s home during the pandemic and government restrictions, it is hard to build social and emotional skills. If it was not for KKOOM, Harmony would not be attending preschool due to her age. Despite the lack of educational attainment and though it’s incomplete sentences, her speaking ability has improved. In less than 2 months, her babbling has turned into short words like, “me too, with me, or give me.” If KKOOM continues to support her educational opportunities, there is much growth expected in her educational endeavors in the future. Thank you!”

In a short amount of time, Harmony has blossomed in her self-confidence through emotional and verbal communication. You play a vital role in making knowledge accessible for our preschool scholars, like Harmony. According to the Wyoming Department of Education, at-risk children are 25% more likely to drop out of school or 60% more likely to never attend college without a high-quality early education. 

"The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all," a famous quote from the Disney movie Mulan. Despite her life circumstances, Harmony has access to early childhood education because of you. Thank you for giving her the chance to thrive in preschool. You are reshaping her destiny to flourish in education so her future dreams can come true. 

Welcome Boost Fund for Harmony - new clothes/shoes
Welcome Boost Fund for Harmony - new clothes/shoes
Harmony working on fine motor skills during school
Harmony working on fine motor skills during school
Feb 19, 2021

A Time To Celebrate!

Byung Kyung (center) at his graduation performance
Byung Kyung (center) at his graduation performance

In our last GlobalGiving update about our college scholars, we shared how Minyeol was not giving up on his dreams. Despite a pandemic delaying the start of the school year last year, he was determined to finish the race and graduate on time. We are proud to say that both of our college scholars have successfully graduated! 

Thanks to your support and the KKOOM College Scholarship Program, Byung Kyung and Minyeol finished all their semester classes in December and had their graduation ceremony earlier this month. Graduating from the same college in Daegu, they both studied a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Music. Beyond college, they are interested in a career in ministry. On the weekends, Byung spends time with social workers and Minyeol leads worship at his church. Building community and serving others are two important traits they value. 

The hardest part about college was learning new things I have never done in my life, says Byung Kyung as he reflects on his collegiate studies. For Minyeol, he said there never was a hard time. “Day by day is fun and grateful, and above all, it is not difficult thanks to the care of KKOOM supporters.” 

While you may be thousands of miles away from South Korea, you directly impact the lives of these young adults. Minyeol expresses sincere gratitude for supporting his dreams. He shared, “I am grateful you have helped me out in my life and taking care of me so I don’t lose my strength. In the future, I will continue to pray for the KKOOM group and will not live a life that is embarrassing to my sponsors. Always thank you and thank you again. 

As Kerry Washington said, “Your life is your story and the adventure ahead of you is the journey to fulfill your own purpose and potential.” Thank you for walking through this journey with Minyeol and Byung Kyung as they continue striving to reach their fullest potential. Your giving and your support helped these two individuals discover their purpose in college and helped them believe graduation was possible. Together, we made those dreams come true! 

In our next post, we will share more about our new scholarship recipients - stay tuned for more updates! May you continue to stay safe, healthy, and blessed. We are so grateful for the love you show to our Korean college scholars. 

With gratitude, 

-Grace Lee

Minyeol w/ the house mothers who helped raise him
Minyeol w/ the house mothers who helped raise him
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