Dec 12, 2019

Building Stronger Communities Together-Winter 2019

Minnie loves to smile and play with her friends.
Minnie loves to smile and play with her friends.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Supporters and friends of KKOOM play a unique role helping to make a positive impact for the children we serve. KKOOM is currently funding three toddlers to attend school from two children’s homes in the Gyeongsangbuk-do area. We asked their house mothers to share their favorite things they love and their progress in school. 

Minnie is 26 months old and is thriving at the children’s home. When she arrived in late May, her speaking ability was below average. Just seven months later, she articulates herself very well and is curious of her surroundings, always asking “What’s that?” She loves reading books. KKOOM’s Chief Administrator had a chance to read stories about Pinnochio, Sleeping Beauty, and the Ugly Duckling all within 5 minutes to Minnie, as she grabbed the next book in pure excitement before finishing the one at hand. Her favorite cartoon characters are Pororo and Tayo, The Little Car. She loves Pororo and toy cars so much that she asked for a Pororo toy car for Christmas this year. Minnie has a sweet tooth and loves seaweed and miso soup. This is Minnie’s first year of going to school and she enjoys it! You can see from the photos that she loves to color.

KKOOM started funding Jay to attend preschool in early 2019. His favorite things to do are singing and playing with toys. Being 32 months old, he also started speaking at a later age. We asked his house mother if she had any funny stories to share about Jay. One day in the past few months, he suddenly spoke a sentence. Everyone was surprised and laughed together to celebrate the joyous moment. The house mother shares her gratitude with his teacher, “Thank you! Good job!” While Jay gets sad when he cannot go outside, he is most happy when he eats his favorite food, sweet snacks. Jay grows in his confidence every day, while having a stubborn side as well. He loved gardening at school in spring 2019, and enjoys the company of his friends.

Gabby arrived the same day as Minnie but at a different children’s home in late May. She is 33 months old and has blossomed since starting school. Her teacher describes her as the class leader, taking really good care of the other children at school. When she first arrived at the children’s home, she liked to be left alone and didn’t enjoy people holding her. Now, she is slowly warming up to people and allowing them to hug her. Gabby loves Pororo and stuffed animals, especially the large plushie ones. At school, she is learning nursery rhymes and how to draw and cut, which sharpens her fine motor skills. She likes to sing songs, especially the “Three Bears Song,” called “Gom Se Ma Ri” in Korean. So you’ll find her often singing around the children’s home.  

Support from house mothers and teachers, daily interactions and relationships with their peers give Minnie, Jay, and Gabby important social-emotional experiences. By providing these young scholars an education, you are giving them opportunities to shape their personal development, learning, and emotional wellbeing. Being surrounded by a strong community is essential for any child to grow in their self-esteem and character. We are grateful you give these children a new start to be educated and integrated into a positive environment where they can continuously find support, love, and acceptance. 

With gratitude, 

Grace Lee, Chief Administrator

Minnie coloring at school.
Minnie coloring at school.
Jay loves having a good time!
Jay loves having a good time!
It's obvious that Jay has a funny side :)
It's obvious that Jay has a funny side :)
Gabby takes good care of other students at school.
Gabby takes good care of other students at school.
Gabby is slowly warming up to people since May
Gabby is slowly warming up to people since May
Oct 14, 2019

Serving with humility - Minyeal's summer vacation

Minyeal helping to feed a young adult at Aemangwon
Minyeal helping to feed a young adult at Aemangwon

Summer vacation gives our KKOOM college scholars a chance to take a break from school to make more time for leisure activities. Minyeal, an Applied Music major, had a busy summer helping to open a coffee shop with a friend, attending a summer retreat, and volunteering at a children’s home that assists children with physical and cognitive challenges. Here’s a chance to hear more about these activities, getting a better glimpse of Minyeal’s personality as he strives to give back to others. 

Somang Church is located in the Gyeongsangbuk-do region of South Korea where many young adults from Samsungwon attend. They serve in leadership roles, leading worship either singing, playing the drums, or playing keyboard / piano. Jaeho is one of the adults who leads worship at Somang Church. He grew up at Samsungwon and now has a family of his own with two children. In August 2019, he opened a coffee shop on the first floor of the Somang Church building. The name of the coffee shop means “Good Coffee” in English. 

Having done all of the renovation from scratch, Minyeal helped Jaeho build the coffee shop. Instead of buying hardwood flooring and shelves, Jaeho found all the materials for free, on the side of the road. The shelves came from separate parts, so the two of them assembled the shelves together and painted them all black to give them a clean, polished look. One of the most important roles Minyeal had was sampling the drinks before the coffee shop opened. It’s not easy to make the perfect vanilla latte so Minyeal’s opinions was helpful in making the coffee shop successful. 

Every summer, the young adults who have aged out of Samsungwon meet up to have a family reunion. This year, they went to Pohang to enjoy the beach and each other’s company. With more than 30 people attending, Minyeal enjoyed sharing new and past memories with brothers and sisters he grew up with. KKOOM helps pay some of the costs of their annual summer retreat to continue showing them the importance of community and family. 

Minyeal volunteers on a regular basis at Aemangwon, one of the children’s homes we support with KKOOM outreach. With his strong connections to the staff, he coordinated a visit for KKOOM’s Chief Administrator and seven volunteers in August 2019. The volunteers included other young adults from Samsungwon, Fulbright Korea English Teachers, and former KKOOM volunteers. We stayed at Aemangwon about two hours and played with the children in two different rooms, ages ranging from nine years old to twenty-four years old. Minyeal helped feed lunch to the teens / young adults in their 20s who are unable to walk. 

While Minyeal continues to stay busy, he serves with humility to spread joy and compassion to others. We are grateful for your continued support to allow Minyeal to grow in his leadership skills and to complete his Bachelor’s degree. Your generosity gives Minyeal confidence to continue giving his best in his classes, amidst a busy schedule. Thank you for believing in Minyeal’s potential to reach his dreams. 

Minyeal helped assemble shelves at "Good Coffee"
Minyeal helped assemble shelves at "Good Coffee"
Annual summer retreat in Pohang
Annual summer retreat in Pohang
Minyeal driving to Aemangwon with other volunteers
Minyeal driving to Aemangwon with other volunteers
Sep 13, 2019

Gaining Self-Confidence: 2 New Preschool Scholars

Minnie is 23 months old and loves to smile!
Minnie is 23 months old and loves to smile!

KKOOM establishes a community for orphan toddlers outside of the children’s home by funding their preschool costs. The Korean government does not fund school costs for orphan children until they are 4 years old. KKOOM understands this causes an educational gap for the children we serve, so we provide funding as young as two years old, thanks to your generosity. Giving these children access to a school environment is important for a child's development because it builds a sense of self, while learning how to problem solve, set boundaries, and how to share with others. 

Summer 2019 marked a season of new beginnings at two children’s homes we support. Four children arrived all on the same day on May 30th. KKOOM is happy to send two of the newly arrived children to preschool. While we have three preschool scholars now, here is more information about Minnie and Gabby, our newest preschool scholars. 

Minnie is 23 months old. Her house mother describes her as “lively and spirited.” She loves to run, play with the other young children, and walks around with a unique posture similar to an adult. Her signature look is to hold her hands behind her back as she strolls around the children's home. Minnie stays positive through her laughs. Attending preschool helps her build social skills to interact with children her own age as she continues to build her self-esteem. Wherever she goes, her presence in the room is evident with her poise and smile. Minnie exudes joy from the inside out. 

Gabby is 2.5 years old and is naturally a bright and lively child. Her house mother believes she will have no problem making friends in the future because she’s not afraid of approaching others with her kind personality. While she is young, she articulates herself very well. One of Gabby’s strengths is her gratefulness for what she has, including the toys at the children’s home. The value of her education is learning from her peers in a positive environment. 

The attitudes, values, and actions learned at preschool will positively influence Minnie and Gabby’s interactions with peers and adults in the future. We are confident the young toddlers will continue to thrive in school as they build their social and academic skills. The investment you make in their lives is invaluable. Thank you very much for providing a better tomorrow for Minnie and Gabby! 

With gratitude, 

Grace Lee, Chief Administrator 

Gabby is 2.5 years old and is a social butterfly!
Gabby is 2.5 years old and is a social butterfly!
 
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