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Choi joins with SKT to help underprivileged youthBy Cho Ji-hyun
Published : May 22, 2011 - 20:02
Choi Kyoung-ju, the first Asian to win the Players Championship earlier this month, offered to donate 100 million won ($92,353) to establish a youth support center in North Jeolla Province at an event in Jeju on Saturday.
In a joint effort with SK Telecom, Choi’s donation will be used for establishing a “1318 Happy Zone” center for teenagers in the area, according to SKT officials.
The centers provide educational and cultural support and free meals to underprivileged children.
The first of which established in September 2006, there are now 33 centers ― sponsored by SKT and a group called the Corporation Leftovers Love Sharing Community ― in operation across the nation.
Choi, who is also known as K.J. Choi, recently won the biggest tournament of his career in Ponte Vedra Beach in Florida. He was the first Korean-born golf player to earn the PGA Tour Card and also the first Korean to win on the PGA Tour. In addition, he was the first Asian to break into the World Top 10 player rankings.
Choi donated 175 million won to build a youth support center for the Shinweol community in 2008 in a bid to narrow the educational and welfare gap for children there.
He also donated another 100 million won to build a meal station in Cheongju operated by the country’s top mobile carrier.
Choi also established his own foundation in March 2008, stating that he hoped to create a place where there was hope for children in need.
As a sign of appreciation, a group of four teenagers from the Shinweol youth center visited Choi, who is currently in Jeju, and congratulated him on his win in the Players Championship earlier this month.
Choi has built a special relationship with young people at the center in Shinweol, operated by SKT, as he attended the launching ceremony of the center in 2009 and also asked the teenagers there to play guitars at a fund-raising event organized by his foundation.
At the event held in Jeju, which is where the SKT Open is being held, Choi pledged to continue his donation efforts with SKT. SKT is the veteran Korean player’s official sponsor and the two signed a three-year contract earlier this year.
SKT has been collecting funds from selling spectators’ tickets and auctioning participating players’ personal items to help underprivileged teenagers.
In 2009, it gave 45 million won to finance meal plans for needy children and collected another 39 million won to buy the materials required for a cooking school.
Going a step further, the country’s leading mobile carrier is taking part in various social contribution activities related to mobile phones such as taking applications to donate blood and giving consultation services through wireless methods, according to its company officials.
It is also offering educational sessions on how to use mobile phones for seniors and supporting mobile applications for the visually-impaired.
“We wish to show gratitude to veteran player Choi who is making joint efforts in the social contribution activities with the company, and SKT will be in the lead in transforming Korea into a happier place to live in,” said an SKT official.
By Cho Ji-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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