KAAN Key Volunteer Spotlight: Sejong Cultural Education, Inc.
What's your name?
Sejong Cultural Education, Inc.
Where do you call home? (City, State, Country)
Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, USA
What are your gender pronouns?
Tell us a little about yourself. How do you spend your time outside of KAAN?
As an organization with an emphasis on celebrating cultural differences and the Korean-American identity, we provide programming and support resources for Koreans of all backgrounds, including: first and second generation Korean-Americans, Korean adoptees, bi-racial Koreans, children of adoptees, etc.
Through our organization, we promote two major initiatives - overnight cultural immersion camp (Sejong Camp) and a motherland experience (Sejong Tour). Each provide individuals with different ways to connect with and learn about their identity - culturally, mentally, physically, and emotionally. We have had an extraordinary opportunity to showcase a snip-it of what camp is like with KAAN. However, the tour is a full ten-day experience canvassing across the Korean peninsula, which includes performances, cooking instructions, homestays, and more.
We do our best to keep busy, when we don't have the change to be with wonderful company at the annual KAAN conference.
What is your volunteer role with KAAN?
As an organization, we support KAAN through aide for their youth mentorship program. There is a number of children of conference participants that choose to be involved with the program. As part of the program, our youth get to engage in meaningful learning, fun adventures via a field trip, peer interaction, and usually Korean food along the way.
How did you hear about KAAN?
We were very lucky to have a strong network within the KAAN community, who ultimately allowed us to take a more active role in KAAN and support their success through youth mentorship.
How did you decide to get involved in KAAN?
After presenting with Sejong Cultural Education in Albany, I was approached to help with the youth program. Over the years, my role has changed but so has my perspective of KAAN. I am truly invested in the mission and over the years, KAAN has been a constant in my life. Getting involved as a volunteer has given me so much- relationships, an outlet, a tradition we as a family look forward to year after year.
What issues/topics related to adoption are you most interested in?
In the past, we have a had a chance to sit on some of the panels and provide presentations about culture camps and their influence on emerging adolescents. Other topics of interest include cultural immersion experiences, identity development, support resources for counselors and social workers, and building access and partnership with other adoptees.
What do you love most about the KAAN community?
The people. Without them, the community wouldn't exist. The drive of the KAAN leadership to the youth participating in the mentorship program, all have equal parts in making the conference a meaningful, worthwhile experience.
What is a fun or random fact people might not know about you?
While based in NJ, founded in 1992, we have hosted campers and staff from all parts of the US, including: Montana, Massachusetts, Virginia, Michigan, Colorado, and along the northeast.
Anything else you'd like to share with the KAAN community?
Consider registering your child for an experience unlike any other. Even as an adult, we have placements for counselors, staff, and instructors - don't be shy, everyone (regardless of age) can be a part of our camp experience.
You can find out more about Sejong Cultural Education, Inc. by visiting their website: https://www.sejongusa.org/
Or by visiting their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Nonprofit-Organization/Sejong-Cultural-Education-Inc-179826912033069/