I decided to volunteer with Sharing Love with Korea, a nonprofit organization that was developed with the idea of helping children leaving Sinaewon Children’s Home, who were in need of financial and emotional support. I would get the opportunity to help show Korean orphans around America. It was an amazing experience, one which I can only describe as humbling. The reason why I chose this word was because I did not know what was going to happen when I met the students, although I knew that I was going to have a great time. I was really moved on how the Korean American students got along quicker than what I expected. Even though there were language barriers, we didn’t let that stop us from becoming close. I was really moved by their reactions every time we arrived at a new place in America. This was their first time in the country, and I was surprised by their reactions to every location. I was really happy to see them smiling and having a good time, and I was honored to serve, help, and show them around America.
On the first day we went to Universal Studios. I was really nervous about what my first impression would be towards them, since I didn’t know that much Korean. I thought it was going to be awkward, but as we rode more rides, our group became closer. We first went to the Harry Potter ride that was outside of a castle. The visiting students thought that was all there was, but the volunteers and I showed them many more rides such as The Simpsons, Transformers, and Jurassic Park. During the second day, our group went on USC and UCLA College tours. These experiences were amazing! I liked how the tour guides were students as well, so our group got a closer perspective of the campus. USC looked so huge; it felt like it could be its own town. I also liked how USC was surrounded by their school color, burgundy. Our group also learned one cool thing that students do at USC. University of Southern California they hold a peace sign up to represent victory. What I liked about the UCLA tour was that I got to look at the amazing green environment it had. There were a lot of cool art sculptures outside and a lot of parks. It was a really humbling experience because of all the information we learned about becoming an adult and learning more about colleges. Even though the trip was about the children, I got to learn something innovative as well. On the third day, our group went to volunteer at two food shelters. Early in the morning, we went to a nonprofit food pantry called the Saint Joseph Center. The volunteers and I were responsible for putting specific food into bags such as yogurt, sandwiches, salads, etc. After that, the head of the food pantry decided to make us cut brussel sprouts. While the volunteers and I were doing all the work inside, our visitors were serving the food to the people. After we were all done serving, we began to debrief and talk about our experiences. The kids said that they had a great time, they were all happy because they had spent their day making a difference by helping others. Right after, we went to the Central Library because that was one of the visiting students requests; his dream was to become a librarian. After learning about certain books and their history, we volunteered at another food shelter called the Dream Center. The Dream Center is not a shelter where people come and hand out food. Instead they pack up food into trucks and then set up in people’s neighborhoods. It was an amazing experience because we get to go to the people instead of them coming to us. On our last day together, we went to visit LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Everyone loved looking at the art and we were amazed by all of the texture and design. Then, during the afternoon, we ate our “Last Supper” together on the Santa Monica Pier. We dinned at Bubba Gump, and the shrimp was delicious. Around 5pm everyone had to say their goodbyes. The Korean students were around my age, so it was really easy to bond with them. It was a sad moment, but a great experience where I got to meet new amazing friends who I now consider family.
Fairfax High School