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
Jan 10, 2021

A Better Future for Two Siblings - Fall Update

Gabby & Hank at his 2nd birthday party (fall 2020)
Gabby & Hank at his 2nd birthday party (fall 2020)

Gabby is turning four-years-old in March and Hank is 28-months-old. Your support has allowed us to fund their preschool education for the past three to four semesters. We also wanted to make a special note that Gabby and Hank are siblings. They both arrived at a children’s home we support in May 2019. By asking their house mothers about their progress in school, we recently found out that they attend school together as brother and sister. 

At a young age, developing social skills is an integral part of a child’s development. For Gabby and Hank, their social interactions are improving because of daily instruction and socialization at preschool. Both of their house mothers recently shared how preschool is positively impacting their lives and they see the benefits of these changes. 

While Hank can still be shy at times, his social skills are improving gradually. He does a better job of waiting patiently. Gabby’s social skills have improved significantly. The teacher sees her as the “assistant teacher.” Her teacher praises her strong ability to lead as she helps classmates who may be struggling cognitively in the classroom.

They are learning a variety of skills and gaining unique experiences inside the classroom. Gabby has daily specials Monday through Friday such as music, sports, forest exploration, Chinese class, and performance class. During national holidays, she engages in cooking activities like making plums, songpyeon rice cakes for the Lunar New Year, or making kimchi. 

Can you guess what is their favorite thing to do at school? Play outside! Hank likes to take walks and play with the ball during physical activities. Gabby is the first to go outside, sometimes even going before the teacher. Recently, she really enjoys playing on the train with her friends. Even after coming home, it is a daily routine to line up all kinds of toy containers and sit on top of the lid of the toybox called the train. 

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health says that the biggest indicator of success in adulthood is based on a child’s social and emotional skills in kindergarten. Thank you for helping Gabby and Hank thrive in their educational environment. You are giving them access to a better future through your kind giving and generosity. These two young toddlers as siblings are truly flourishing academically and socially thanks to your investment in their lives.

Gabby enjoying cooking class at preschool!
Gabby enjoying cooking class at preschool!
Hank riding on a kickboard at the children's home
Hank riding on a kickboard at the children's home
Oct 20, 2020

Not Giving Up on My Dreams - Summer 2020 Update

You turn on the news, and it is sometimes hard to find hope in our current society. Through the setbacks, unexpected circumstances, global pandemic, and racial tension, we have bounced back from the challenges we have faced over the past several months.

For one of KKOOM’s college scholars, the coronavirus was met with a delayed start to the spring semester, learning through virtual teaching, and having a shorter summer break, along with finishing his last year in college. Minyeal is a senior at a college in Daegu pursuing an Applied Music degree. His dream is to become a praise minister. At the end of the summer, we asked Minyeal to answer a few questions about his summer vacation. His answers have been translated into English.

What did you like the most about your spring semester?

  • During the spring semester, I chose a class called piano accompaniment. It was a very rewarding time, so I made a commitment to keep getting closer to the piano little by little.

How long was your summer vacation?

  • Due to coronavirus, summer vacation was only one month, and there is a graduation performance around December. I focused more on my studies rather than enjoying my summer vacation personally.

What did you do this summer?

  • It did not feel like summer due to the rainy season being so long, so I spent the summer with more focus on my studies and praise, as I said earlier.

When do you graduate?

  • Graduation is scheduled for February 2021. By December, all semester classes are expected to end safely thanks to KKOOM and those sponsoring my scholarship.

Are you reading an interesting book or part of the Bible?

  • I am currently reading through Psalm.

What is your favorite food to eat or drink in the summer to overcome the hot weather?

  • There are many things and food to overcome the summer heat, but I like coffee. I drink Americano often.

What goals or dreams do you have when you graduate from college?

  • It is the most difficult question, but I always want to become a minister of praise. Many plans may change due to certain circumstances, and my efforts are important, but I will not give up and won’t get frustrated. I will rely on my faith to reach the narrow path in the end.

What are your favorite Bible verses and why?

  • "Why are down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God - soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God" [Psalm 42:11]. Many Bible verses comfort me and give me grace, but it is true that the reason why this Bible verse touches my heart is that I am afraid of various things. My own future living in this world is unstable and I am about to graduate. However, I shared this Bible verse to believe in the Lord and stand up again, while being comforted and refreshed again through the Word. 

Fall down seven times, stand up eight. This is a powerful Japanese proverb that means in life, you will be knocked down. But in order to win, all you have to do is stand up one more time. Minyeal’s faith helps keep him focused on his future goals, even through setbacks. While KKOOM is a 501(c)(3) non-religious organization, we do not discriminate on funding a scholarship based on a scholar’s religious beliefs. 

Thank you for being a part of his journey to reach his dreams. When a young adult ages out of a children’s home after graduating from high school, the individual is given approximately $5,000 by the Korean government and then, they are on their own. By funding Minyeal’s college scholarship, you are giving him hope to not give up, no matter how difficult the circumstances are. He is unsure what the future holds, but he is walking confidently into the unknown with your support and his faith. 

Minyeal enjoys drinking Americano in the summer.
Minyeal enjoys drinking Americano in the summer.

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