Aug 10, 2020

Let Their Light Shine - Summer 2020 Update

Hank is 2-years-old & a new preschool scholar
Hank is 2-years-old & a new preschool scholar

Many new conversations started this summer about equality, equity, and race. For KKOOM, education equality is important and something we directly address by funding preschool scholarships for at-risk toddlers at Korean children’s homes. Government funding for toddlers in the social welfare system to attend preschool starts at age four. KKOOM provides the necessary funds, thanks to our amazing friends and supporters, so a young child can start preschool at the age of two. Without your generosity, the children we support would not have early access to preschool to build stronger academic and social-emotional skills. KKOOM is currently funding two children to attend preschool. 

While COVID-19 affected the start of preschool for Gabby and Hank in 2020, they were able to start in mid-May. We want to share more of Gabby and Hank’s personality traits with you, so you can get to know them better. Gabby has been a KKOOM preschool scholar since spring 2019 and Hank is a new preschool scholar in 2020. 

Gabby who is forty months old loves her playtime inside and outside the classroom. She enjoys playing with blocks, dolls, and houses the most. Storybook reading time is also one of Gabby’s favorite things to do. Staying healthy, she is not a picky eater. She especially loves cucumbers and vegetables. When we asked Gabby’s house mother to use one word to describe Gabby’s personality, she said, “very active and active.” One of the biggest improvements in Gabby since arriving at Emmanuel Children’s Home is that she is healthy, socially, and physically, while not being in diapers anymore. When Gabby first arrived in May 2019, she was very shy and barely let anyone hug her. Now, she is always seen with a smile on her face, trying to play with friends at school, or making duck faces while at the children’s home. 

Hank arrived at a children’s home we support in May 2019 and is 23 months old. He turns two years old on September 14th. When we asked his house mother what he likes to do the most, she said that Hank is very curious and loves to play with his toys. Hank loves fruits and meat but does not like eating vegetables. His character traits are uniquely described as, “Hank has a brave personality without fear.” Shortly after arriving at the children’s home, the staff was concerned about a potential physical challenge because his eyesight was out of focus. In a year, his eyesight has improved. Compared to his peers, he is healthy and has a bigger body. 

Our two KKOOM scholars are very active and have no fear. While circumstances beyond their control have shaped their early experiences, thank you for giving Gabby and Hank a better tomorrow. You give them a chance to have equal access to a preschool education they would not have otherwise. The scholarships allow them to shine brightly for many years to come. You and other devoted individuals give opportunities for a two-year-old and a three-year-old to let their light shine. KKOOM appreciates your giving, positive thoughts, and the outpouring of love to support our preschool scholars. 

Gabby is 3-years-old and loves her playtime
Gabby is 3-years-old and loves her playtime
Jun 16, 2020

Resilience through COVID-19: Spring 2020 Update

Byung Kyung finds joy in meditating and reading
Byung Kyung finds joy in meditating and reading

In South Korea, the spring semester marks the beginning of a new school year, as students in Korea start the new school year in March and end in December. This spring semester presented challenges to students due to COVID-19 as they navigated a new schedule for their classes. KKOOM reached out to our two college scholars, Byung Kyung and Minyeal, in mid-April to give us a sense of how their daily school routine.

Byung Kyung and Minyeal are both majoring in Applied Music at a Divinity college in Daegu, South Korea, which was the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in South Korea. While the spring semester was supposed to start on March 16th, online lectures did not begin until April 13th. Most professors record their lectures in advance using “Naver Band” and also conduct some classes using ZOOM. Each subject is about 25 minutes in two sessions for lecture and homework. 

The transition to online classes did not seem to pose a problem for either of our college scholars. Byung Kyung takes advantage of study groups with classmates, while practicing social distancing and uses caution while interacting with others. His favorite class this semester is vocal performance to help strengthen his talents. What gives him the most joy nowadays is reading and his meditation time. 

When we asked Byung Kyung if he had any words to share with KKOOM supporters, he shared, “Even around the world, coronavirus gives us a lot of pressure. There are times I have struggled with how coronavirus has affected our society, but I am still having a good time by the grace of God. Thank you for your support in helping me recover from life’s difficulties. I also want to help other people later without forgetting this grace!”

Minyeal’s favorite class this semester is piano accompaniment. Minyeal is a praise band leader at his local church, so he is used to being behind the mic singing. While piano accompaniment is his favorite class, he also shared this class gives him many challenges personally and academically. It is a difficult class, but Minyeal has a positive attitude about his effort and progress made throughout the semester. He really enjoys it because of the accountability and personal attention he receives through 1:1 learning with the professor. One of the best things that gives Minyeal daily joy is writing Bible verses. It helps him relax throughout the day. 

Sharing his appreciation for KKOOM’s support, Minyeal also expressed his thanks to every supporter who helps fund his college scholarship. “As I received a lot of love, I will do my best to work hard to live as a person who gives and loves many people. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all those who support my dreams, and I sincerely hope and pray that the Lord’s love will be filled there. Thank you very much.”

Through the unexpected challenges of a delayed start to their spring semester and transitioning to online classes, Minyeal and Byung Kyung have faced adversity with grit and resilience, learning to bounce back from difficult situations. There’s a famous saying in Korean culture called “hwaiting,” which means “you can do it.” Your generosity motivates these two young men to pursue their dreams in the midst of a global pandemic. Thank you for giving Minyeal and Byung Kyung the strength to get through their studies, day by day, by cheering them on saying, “You can do it.” 

Minyeal says "I will do my best to work hard."
Minyeal says "I will do my best to work hard."
Mar 20, 2020

Great News and Thriving in a Positive Environment

Thank you to the Hugh C. & Thomas Lord Fund!
Thank you to the Hugh C. & Thomas Lord Fund!

KKOOM is so excited to share we received a $20,000 donation this spring through GlobalGiving, who recommended KKOOM to a family foundation. This generous donation from the Hugh C. & Thomas Lord Fund will be used to fund several of our educational projects and programs -- one of which is an exciting project we are planning for the summer! Our long-standing programs, such as the educational scholarships will also benefit from this donation. We are grateful to impact move lives through our preschool scholarships so Korean children can dream bigger! 

The children we support in South Korea will return back to school on April 6th, a delay to their original start date in March due to the coronavirus outbreak. They have been on mandatory quarantine for the past five weeks, not being able to leave the children’s homes to help control the spread of the virus. Due to the recent events, our generous friends through Facebook and our website have funded snack parties, along with chicken and pizza parties for the three children’s homes we mainly support. 

Your generosity helps us fund two toddlers to attend school during the spring semester. In our last report, we shared how Minnie, Jay, and Gabby have been thriving inside and outside of the classroom. Minnie and Jay are now being funded by the Korean government to attend preschool. 

Our current preschool scholars, Gabby and Hannah, live at Emmanuel Children’s Home. Both girls arrived at Emmanuel in 2019. Hannah arrived in March 2019 as a 100-day-old baby being a victim of abuse. Gabby arrived in May 2019 and we shared in our last report how her favorite song is the “Three Bears Song,” which is called “Gom Se Ma Ri” in Korean. 

When I visited South Korea in December 2019 to help plan the inaugural Christmas Talent Show at Emmanuel, I had a chance to hear Gabby sing the “Three Bears Song” live as the youngest participant at the talent show. She captured the attention of every audience member and judge as she confidently sang the song with the assistance of one of the staff members. 

Your giving has made a profound impact on Gabby, providing her the opportunity to attend preschool in the fall semester. When she first arrived, she was a shy, little girl who barely spoke and had a hard time allowing people to hug her. Now, she is not afraid to sing in front of a crowd of her family, siblings, house mothers, and KKOOM volunteers. Thank you for giving Gabby a safe environment to learn, grow, and get outside her comfort zone. 

KKOOM is grateful that you believe in our mission to support these two young toddlers to thrive in a positive atmosphere. When the children are able to start the new semester, we are excited to see Gabby and Hannah foster creativity and develop positive connections with their classmates and teachers. 

We hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy and safe. 

With gratitude, 

Grace Lee, Chief Administrator

Gabby singing "Three Bears Song" at Talent Show
Gabby singing "Three Bears Song" at Talent Show
Hannah when she was 100-days-old in March 2019
Hannah when she was 100-days-old in March 2019
 
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