[KKOOM] Scholarships for Aged Out Korean Youth

by Korean Kids and Orphanage Outreach Mission
[KKOOM] Scholarships for Aged Out Korean Youth
[KKOOM] Scholarships for Aged Out Korean Youth
[KKOOM] Scholarships for Aged Out Korean Youth
[KKOOM] Scholarships for Aged Out Korean Youth
[KKOOM] Scholarships for Aged Out Korean Youth
[KKOOM] Scholarships for Aged Out Korean Youth
[KKOOM] Scholarships for Aged Out Korean Youth
[KKOOM] Scholarships for Aged Out Korean Youth
[KKOOM] Scholarships for Aged Out Korean Youth
[KKOOM] Scholarships for Aged Out Korean Youth
Minyeol enjoys eating guk-bap (rice soup)
Minyeol enjoys eating guk-bap (rice soup)

KKOOM started its 15th Anniversary celebration in September 2022. One of our longest lasting programs has been the college scholarships for young adults who have aged out of the social welfare system in South Korea. We are excited to share how many lives we have impacted through these semester scholarships in the future. This report gives an update on how scholars Minyeol and Jaehyuck are doing in their second years of graduate and undergraduate school.

Minyeol:

In 2017, we began supporting Minyeol as a KKOOM college scholar with his Associate’s, Bachelor’s and now his Master’s degree. And despite the challenges and limitations brought on by Covid-19 and spending the majority of his classes online, Minyeol is grateful to have been able to successfully wrap up his first year of graduate school studying Theology in 2021. 

He told KKOOM that his favorite course so far has been “Christology” which involved difficult terminology and vocabulary. It provided him with a much deeper understanding into his faith as he aspires to become a praise minister. He is thankful to now have in-person classes this year. 

In fall 2021, Minyeol was also matched with a church ministry and has since poured his heart into serving. He spent his summer break interacting with the young children of this church and even finds himself eagerly anticipating the weekend because he gets to spend precious time with the elementary school students from the ministry. 

During Chuseok, one of the largest holidays in South Korea in September, KKOOM’s Executive Director and Co-founder had a chance to catch up with Minyeol. Minyeol is always very grateful to KKOOM supporters for helping make his collegiate experience possible. His gratitude could be felt in every word he expressed to KKOOM’s leadership and how much encouragement the scholarship gives him on a daily basis. 

Jaehyuck:

In 2021, we announced Jaehyuck as one of KKOOM’s most recent college scholars! He grew up in a KKOOM-supported children’s home and started his 2-year college degree in spring 2021 at a university in the Gyeongsangbuk-do region. He is studying Security Management while also pursuing his dream of becoming an actor. 

We asked Jaehyuck to reflect on his first year in college. Jaehyuck shared with us that he was both fascinated and excited to get to study in college but found that adjusting to the new environment and people was a bit challenging. However, he soon got accustomed to school life, made close friendships with his peers, and even achieved an impressive ranking of 18th out of 40 students at his school. He says it was an extremely rewarding experience to have studied the hardest he has in his entire life to receive such high grades. His classes are a mix of in-person and online classes so, besides the days he has shoots for film projects he is involved in, he goes to school to take classes. His favorite class in the spring semester was “Security First Aid Response”. He found it fun and engaging to learn ways to make quick judgments that could save lives.

Jaehyuck spent his winter and summer break pursuing his dream of becoming an actor by studying with his acting teacher to improve his skills. He even told KKOOM that he was able to take part in amazing experiences including learning directly from experienced actors and auditioning for short films and dramas. Recently, Jaehyuck was even featured as a supporting actor in a music video for a band called Suri! 

Only provided with $4,000 in government aid, he was expected to navigate adulthood alone and encountered a lot of difficulties after leaving the children’s home at 18-years-old. Jaehyuck’s hard work and resilience has proven that despite these difficulties, your support or encouragement through KKOOM’s scholarship can help motivate him through the most challenging days. Thank you for supporting Jaehyuck’s future by investing in him now. 

Within the next year, we are excited to reconnect with former KKOOM scholars to hear how the scholarship directly impacted their lives and career goals. On behalf of the young adults we serve, we thank you for your steadfast support in brightening the lives of Minyeol and Jaehyuck. 

Minyeol dedicates Sundays to serving at church
Minyeol dedicates Sundays to serving at church
Jaehyuck loves watching "Twenty-five, twenty-one"
Jaehyuck loves watching "Twenty-five, twenty-one"
Jaehyuck's favorite foods include meat & ice cream
Jaehyuck's favorite foods include meat & ice cream
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NaHyeon with KKOOM's Executive Director in 2019
NaHyeon with KKOOM's Executive Director in 2019

NaHyeon is a former KKOOM College Scholar and is now enrolled in the English Language Institution at the University of Utah to study English. His English studies are possible thanks to the Yana Ministry sponsoring him with a scholarship. 

His dream is to stay in the United States at the end of his year-long program and open up his own restaurant. We are hoping to get him one step closer to his dreams by funding internship experiences across the nation working at different restaurants to diversify his culinary work. Thanks to a KKOOM donor, his first internship experience is funded with the travel and meal costs. He is currently in Atlanta, GA, and will start his internship this week. 

To better understand NaHyeon’s story, here is his bio that he shared recently with the Yana Ministry. 

“I first entered the welfare center when I was 4 years old. Although I don’t have any memories of or keep in touch with my birth mother, I was still able to mature into a person of sound body and mind through the care of the director and the center mothers. 

Growing up, I lacked patience and grit and found myself oftentimes giving up in the midst of many presented opportunities. I had no interest in studying and lost my chance to apply to my high school of choice due to low academic performance. At that moment, I thought of all the younger children at the center. I resolved to become better because they were looking up to me. 

Through rigorous studying, I was able to become valedictorian and I tried to live a life I was proud of as the President of the student body for all 3 years. One day in my junior year, I happened to attend a lecture by a well-known chef. It changed my life forever. I began to dream of becoming a chef that could cater to people’s hearts through food. 

I aspire to be a chef. Because I have received so much unconditional love and support, I hope to one-day give back to those that need it.” - NaHyeon 

From KKOOM College Scholar to Oak Tree Project Scholar (KKOOM’s partner organization) to now being a Yana Ministry Scholar, NaHyeon has worked incredibly hard to be studying English in the United States. It is a full circle moment to see your generosity through the college scholarship program has allowed NaHyeon to be on a journey to pursue his career goals. In the future, we will share more updates and share a blog post written by NaHyeon. We will also give you an update on how Minyeol and Jaehyuck are doing as they start their second year of graduate school and second year of college.  

We hope to continue making dreams a reality for the children and young adults we serve. Thank you for being a part of our story to make this possible for more aged-out adults like NaHyeon. 

With gratitude, 

-Grace Lee, Executive Director

NaHyeon is excited for his Korean BBQ internship!
NaHyeon is excited for his Korean BBQ internship!
NaHyeon receives advice from an Executive Chef
NaHyeon receives advice from an Executive Chef
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Minyeol is wrapping up his 1st year in grad school
Minyeol is wrapping up his 1st year in grad school

One year ago, Minyeol was wrapping up the last semester of his undergraduate classes. Now, he is finishing up the first year of his graduate studies in Theology. There are still challenges having all virtual classes, but his optimism to push through is inspiring. We asked Minyeol to answer a few questions on how his fall semester of graduate school is going. Here are his answers translated in English:

1) What do you enjoy most about college?

  • I have started my second semester of college during my first year of graduate school. Because it is still virtual classes, there are some challenges, but there is a subject that I like the most. This is a sermon course. In order to do ministry in the future, you need to prepare for sermons, and this course teaches you how to prepare for a sermon. I enjoy listening to it.

2) What is your favorite thing to do on the weekends?

  • There are still many limitations due to Covid-19. But I think the best thing to do is to worship at church on Sundays and to talk with people.

3) What is the most challenging thing about college?

  • The most difficult part is having non face-to-face academic classes. For the virtual classes, there are many things that are needed in various situations, and it is difficult to talk about ministry without any in-person communication.

4) How does the scholarship money of 700,000 KRW help you pay for school or does it help you with living costs?

  • I am very grateful to receive the 700,000 won semester scholarship through KKOOM. I am currently living with a lot of support and I am content in my life.

5) Do you have anything you would like to say to your KKOOM supporters?

  • A heartfelt thank you to the KKOOM supporters. In the future, I will not forget this grace, study harder, and do my best to repay you in my life. I want to meet and say hello to each and every one of you, but I cannot do that. So I would like to say thank you, even though it’s a short gesture.

6) What are you most grateful for?

  • Everything is by God’s grace. There are many things to be thankful for, but I thank God for giving me the opportunity to study so difficult, and I am most grateful to the KKOOM organization that gives me a precious scholarship in a difficult environment.

7) What helps you get through really tough days?

  • Even hard days seems to have strength. There are many ways to overcome this, but the most intensive method is to meditate while listening to praise or take time to reflect on my heart through prayer. This is how I overcome the most difficult situations in my life.

8) What is your favorite season of the year and why?

  • I love all seasons. One of my favorite seasons is winter. The reason is simple. Because there is Christmas when Jesus was born. 

Anytime we hear from Minyeol, he is most grateful for you. By investing in his graduate studies, you are keeping hope alive for this young man navigating the world through difficult circumstances, something that he acknowledged in this blog post.

Each of you may have experienced your own difficult days this year as well. Despite the unexpected we have navigated the past several months or the past two years, we extend a heartfelt thank you for taking the time to support, care, and give love to young adults like Minyeol.

Even through the hard days, you give strength to a young man on the other side of the world. Your generosity is reminding Minyeol to be grateful for everything he has. Through the holiday season, we hope you find joy through rest and are continuing to stay safe, healthy, and blessed. Thank you for being a blessing to our college scholars Minyeol and Jaehyuck. 

With gratitude, 

-Grace 

Minyeol is a worship leader at church
Minyeol is a worship leader at church
Minyeol at Aemangwon Children's Home in 2019
Minyeol at Aemangwon Children's Home in 2019
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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.
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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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Korean Kids and Orphanage Outreach Mission

Location: Jonesboro, GA - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @koreankids
Project Leader:
Grace Lee
Portage, MICHIGAN United States
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1,595 donations
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