NetKAL Service Projects Make a Difference in the Community

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The Fellows Leadership Program provides individuals with the skills, mentoring and resources that can transform lives and communities.  A key focus of the program is emphasizing social work and civic responsibility, and Classes are required to institute community service projects as part of their leadership ventures.  Below is an update on some ways in which our NetKAL Fellows are helping the community:

Korean-American Community Service Day was conceived out of NetKAL VIII with a vision for developing the event into the largest nationwide day of service sponsored by an Asian-American group. The goal is threefold:

1) Organize fragmented volunteer work around the country for greater impact and be a catalyst for creating long-term relationships.

2) Increase exposure for active Korean-American community engagement in all underserved communities.

3) Provide an annual event to unite NetKAL alumni and their networks.

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NetKAL Fellows and volunteers working in Astoria Park, New York City

On November 8, 2014, the inaugural Korean-American Community Service Day took place simultaneously in New York, Washington DC, Atlanta, San Francisco and Los Angeles.  Thanks to the leadership of the NetKAL VIII Service Day Team – Amy Ahn, Seung Baik, Gina Chon, James Jung, Peggy Kauh, Ellen Kim, Celina Lee, Rich Lee, Angela Moon and Michael Park – 25 charitable organizations participated, creating a powerful network for one day of community service.

10403479_741520465923604_1214559721903759230_nWith over 250 volunteers participating, communities were served in various ways including feeding the hungry, tutoring inner city kids, working with disabled children, assisting WWII veterans, planting trees, cleaning public parks,  registering voters, and making kimchi for shelter and transitional housing residents.

“We created KA Service Day to mobilize Korean-Americans across the country to demonstrate our collective will and power to bring positive change to both our local communities and nationwide.  Our goal is for KA Service Day to inspire thousands of dedicated volunteers to participate, and expand the event to being one of the largest days of service in America.  We could not have launched our inaugural day without NetKAL, and we look forward to further growing this movement with the strength and support of this network.” – Peggy Kauh, NetKAL VIII

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Pathway was founded by members of NetKAL VII, and is a mentorship program designed for young Korean-American college students and recent graduates.  Rather than a one-on-one mentor/mentee pairing, the Pathway program connects each mentee with a permanent team of mentors who work with them to navigate personal and professional goals throughout college and beyond.  Participants in the program will also benefit from the extensive network of NetKAL alumni in business, law, entertainment, medicine, politics, and many other fields. The genesis of this program came from the philosophy of “paying it forward” and actively demonstrating NetKAL’s mission to mentor the next generation of leaders, serving to strengthen the Korean-American community at the local, national and international level.

After a competitive interview process, the selection committee comprised of NetKAL Fellows David Lee, Eddie Ahn, Chris Lee, Young Chung and Jennifer Chung, chose the program’s first three student mentees.  Each student has been paired with four Bay Area NetKAL VII Fellows and the program officially kicked off in October 2014.

“We are excited to connect a younger generation of Korean-Americans to a network that so many of us have found inspiring and life changing.  Pathway is a unique opportunity to meet Korean-Americans with a broad range of personal and professional experiences who are absolutely committed to helping each other.” – Jennifer Chung, NetKAL VII

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The Korean Foster Family Initiative was born out of NetKAL VI. The Fellows wanted to bring awareness to the deficit of Korean-American foster parents and ultimately recruit Korean-American families to become licensed foster care providers.  The program is overseen by Fellow Connie Chung Joe, executive director of Korean-American Family Services (KFAM) and thanks to her leadership, and the support of NetKAL Fellows and friends, the program is making a tremendous difference in the lives of Korean-American children in Los Angeles.

Recently, 16 Korean-Americans graduated from the Los Angeles County DCFS foster license training program in their native language. Thanks to KFFI, two Korean-American siblings were placed among the first graduating couples.  These foster children were recent immigrants who were removed from their home due to child abuse, and were forced to live in separate residences until KFFI was able to find a home for both of them.

“It’s not often that something we contribute to has such a direct, profound impact on others in need. So thank you all at NetKAL who have helped get this program off the ground and continue to support it with your time, donations, and moral support.”  – Connie Chung Joe, NetKAL VI

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