So Jung's Story
The following is a portion of the abstract from So Jung’s volunteer project, which was presented to the 2018 Korea Prudential Spirit of Community Awards assembly.
As I saw my family members carrying out service activities, I became familiar with giving back at a young age. In elementary school, I followed them to the service centers they visited. At first this was just for fun; however, I later realized how much help those centers needed. All the volunteers influenced me a great deal as they were willing to give up their free time to serve without expecting anything in return.
In high school, I founded and led multiple service-oriented clubs to broaden my areas of service and share the meaning of serving others. Since I want to establish my own service-focused non-governmental organization (NGO), I have focused on my passion by planning, preparing, and participating in the activities myself. What sets me apart is that I create opportunities based on feedback from or conversations with centers.
First, I planned multiple service programs and gave donations to the local Multi-cultural Children’s Home. After hearing immigrants’ stories of hardship, I became very passionate about helping them, which led me to start the First Aid Kit Donation Project for children in developing countries. Then, at the Agape Medical Center for Foreigners, I held free bazaar and Christmas events. After working at the center for over 4 years, I produced the Medical Translation Guidebook to reduce the language barriers when treating patients. When completed, the guidebook was donated to many medical centers throughout South Korea.
I was also very excited about the First Aid Kit Donation Project for children in developing countries. Initially, I used my own money to stock the first-aid boxes. After making 50 boxes myself, I donated them to the Single-parent Family Daycare Center in Kolkata, India.
Afterward, I expanded by engaging two service activities-oriented clubs: “With You” and “Together.” While working with them, “With You” was selected as the Korean Council of Children’s Organizations’ “National Children’s Rights Advocate Club” and “Together” was chosen as the Korean YWCA WeCan Center’s supported club. With their financial aid, “With You” carried out programs for first-aid boxes for children in developing countries, while “Together” held cooking classes for multi-cultural children. To gain even more help, I also contacted and visited local churches, pharmacies, hospitals, and medical centers. Furthermore, as a founder and president of “Together,” I planned and continued other activities for the foreign laborers.
Throughout these successes, I learned how much service activities rely on collaboration. When I was working alone, everything depended on me. However, in a group setting, I constantly had to ask for assent, wait for responses, and be patient when others did not follow through. At first, I was disappointed, but then I was able to encourage and motivate others to realize our goals.