Summer Newsletter 2022
Artwork & Poem by Dulwich College Seoul Students for Open Arms
(Poem written by Senior Student at Dulwich College Seoul)

We are now a homeless family,
I’m a starving, a lost foreigner,
Will there be shelter for us?
Now our throats are getting drier.

Our life could be clear,
The support from Nolbu’s family was only cheer,
Now my mind is filled with hopelessness and fear,
Only left with a tear.

After a disastrous starvation,
We finally escaped the hopeless imagination,
There are aftermath for your actions,
But kind actions will return back to you.
Hello OpenArms,

Welcome to our Summer Newsletter! It was pure good luck that Sanjini and I were able to be in Seoul at the same time in June. It was my first time back since leaving Korea in January, 2020. I am grateful for the technology that kept us connected over 2.5 years but nothing replaces meeting volunteers and the children in the flesh! It was wonderful to see familiar faces and just as special to see new ones. Our dreams are coming true and the hard work on our website, volunteer on-boarding and organization is paying off. When I left Korea, we were partnered with 2 child welfare centres and now we are reaching children at 4! As I sat in the Early Year’s class at Cheongwoon Child Welfare Center with children who were part of the Toddler Program 3 years ago, I was overcome with emotion and gratitude to you all. Children I once taught were sitting on the laps of volunteers and laughter filled the air. We have created a sustainable organization for children as they age. We did it together!

Another highlight was meeting the Primary Charity Club at Dulwich College Seoul (led by MaryAnn Campos and Hosanna Lee) together with Sanjini, Nicole and James. Not only is Dulwich a partner but many of their teachers have become OA volunteers (including Hosanna and James). MaryAnn said it best; "We are beyond partners now. We are friends. It’s a beautiful community that we share where love and kindness easily get in. Open Arms is the reason we do what we do.” Dulwich also presented Open Arms with a precious thank you gift of a framed drawing and poem by students. They were inspired by a Korean folk tale of two brothers, Heungbu and Nolbu written in the Joseon Dynasty. The moral of the story is that good deeds are rewarded while evil deeds are punished. Dulwich recognizes our kindness. Our reward will be seeing the children succeed. They fuel our passion and also fill our hearts with love. 

Please read on to hear about our BIG NEWS!
With thanks, gratitude and love to you all,
Volunteering Opportunities!
One Caring Adult per Child

Good news! We have restarted our Early Years programs at Myeongjin Child Welfare Centre (twice a month on Saturdays as detailed in the sign up form) and weekly Tuesday classes at Cheongwoon Child Welfare Center. We also hope to soon re-open at DreamTree Welfare Home (Thursday evenings, weekly). You must be a registered member to volunteer.

Summer Early Years Classes
A special thank you to Kathrine, our volunteer extraordinaire, who is leading the Early Years classes at Myeongjin CWC and Cheongwoon CWC in Katy's absence during the summer months. In past summers, programs were on summer break as most volunteers were away. However, this summer Kathrine enthusiastically agreed to lead the classes. Thank you Kathrine for your leadership and the other summer volunteers for your dedication to the children!

We look forward to the return of OA volunteers and hope you had a restful and glorious summer with lessened pandemic restrictions
Early Years
Myeongjin CWC
With most of the OA volunteer teachers gone overseas for the summer, leading the classes with only a few co-teachers proved to be both a challenge and an opportunity to reflect more on the work we do. I clearly noticed the importance of the number of volunteers present and thereby the amount of careful attention we’re able to pay each individual child.

When I look back and compare earlier sessions with almost as many as one volunteer per child, the children seemed much more calm, happy and responsive during these sessions. I realized that having enough volunteers is crucial, as it enables us to give our full attention to the children as individual, rather than just as a part of a group or institution.

The children are almost always placed in a group setting, without individual attention and care of one or two parents. So my belief is that this might be one of the most important things we have to offer the children - our devoted attention and interest in each and every one of them.

- Kathrine
Early Years
Cheongwoon CWC
"Junhwan and the kids are really enjoying the classes - because they can relate to each other in a way that we can’t,"
- Kathrine

Junhwan (an aged out young adult from Myeongjin CWC) is also a volunteer with the Early Years Program.

The pictures below were taken by one of the little girls with Barbara's phone. They show a glimpse of what she sees; a beautiful community where love and kindness exist. 

Dulwich College Seoul
Primary Charity Club
On June 8, Barbara, Sanjini, Nicole & James had the pleasure to meet the Primary Charity Club of Dulwich College Seoul. As the school year wound down, we welcomed new members to the club which is more popular than ever. Led by teachers MaryAnn Campos and Hosanna Lee, there are approximate 30 children aged 6 to 11 years old. Some of the children have been members of the club for several years and also help recruit friends. They work hard during the Christmas Toy Drive and also special fundraising events throughout the year for Open Arms. The children are our future and it is beautiful to see them already making a difference in their community and for children who have less than them. 

"Teaching children to give back to the community has countless benefits for their mental and emotional development. As a result, it can pave the way to academic and inter-personal success."
Read Article
Summer Kick-off Dinner
Close to 20 OA volunteers gathered for a summer kick-off party on June 3 at Maple Tree Itaewon for an evening of fun and food. We were fortunate that Barbara and Sanjini were able to join from Canada and Sri Lanka and also, celebrate Sally’s birthday! It was wonderful to meet volunteers in person outside of screens and classes. It was also great to meet family members (Matt, Lily & Olivia Wasmund) who play an important supporting role and are very much part of our OA family. As pandemic restrictions ease and our community continues to grow, we look forward to regular in person gatherings.
Barbara, Sanjini and Sally met with the Changemakers and other aged out young adults from Dream Tree Village over a casual dinner. They shared what they they have been up to and their dreams and aspirations. They inspire us with their work ethic, some working up to 3 jobs to support themselves while attending school. We hope to guide them and provide valuable career connections in the future. If you are interested in volunteering with aged out young adults, please contact us
💕 Rest in Peace Gretchen 💕
It’s with a sad heart that we say goodbye to our dear friend who lost her battle with cancer on June 21, 2022. Gretchen loved Open Arms and the children. She travelled 2 hours each way every Tuesday evening to volunteer at the Early Years class at Cheongwoon CWC. It wasn’t too long after she started that she also brought her son, Mike and husband, Hans. She was loved by us all and the children who will forever remember her gentleness and kindness. We are brainstorming about ideas on how to honour her life. If you have any suggestions, please let us know.
"Gretchen is one of those rare pure persons you cannot find nowadays. She always said “God bless you” instead of goodbye whenever I got off the subway before her.” - Ina
Katy on Radio Show 'Diverse Voices'
Katy was invited to speak about Open Arms and shared her experience with teaching at orphanages in Korea.

Interview by Jasmine Lee on Radio Show 'Diverse Voices' on TBS eFM (101.3MHz) 4-5 pm on Friday 13th May: Katy Freeman, Open Arms.
"Diverse Voices," a radio show on English broadcaster TBS eFM (101.3MHz), deals with a variety of issues surrounding migrants and residents of foreign nationality in Korea. It is hosted by Jasmine Lee, a Philippine-born naturalized Korean and former lawmaker who has worked with various civic groups active around migrant and multicultural family issues.
Lee Hyo-jin, The Korea Times
SIWA & International Community
Fundraising and Food Festival 2022
September 24 & 25
“Share Culture, Share Love, Share Life” 
Seoul International Women’s Association (SIWA) is collaborating with Jongro-gu and Jamunbak Cultural Forum to host the 2022 SIWA & International Community Fundraising and Food Festival. With the funds raised and organized through the joint leadership, SIWA aims to focus on directly assisting disadvantaged communities in Korea, especially those of orphaned and vulnerable youth. SIWA hopes to bolster these communities through volunteer work and building community cohesion. 

Since its inception in 1962, the SIWA & Diplomatic Community Bazaar has been supported by more than 80 organizations and diplomatic missions consisting of representatives from 34 embassies, non-profit organizations, and SIWA sponsors. Together, they have raised more than ₩3 billion, and it has remained their annual capstone event and the most prominent international fundraising event in Seoul.

This year, all the proceeds will go jointly to Open Arms Korea and Soyang Rainbow Children’s Home!

Please stay tuned on how we can help through food donations (i.e. home-baked goods, confectionery, etc.) and also volunteer at the event.
Visit SIWA website
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#2173, 20th Fl, 149, Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul, 03186 South Korea
ph. +82 10 5917 3214 (krn)
ph. +82 10 2716 5644 (eng)
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Photo credits to: Simon Gate, Kathrine Nielsen, Katy Freeman, Sally McEachen, and all those who have contributed photos. If you would like to be given credit, please get in touch.