Heroes who risked their lives to save others

HOPE to make Christmas jollier for kids going through tough times

HOPE to make Christmas jollier for kids going through tough times

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Published : 2013-12-03 19:53
Updated : 2013-12-03 19:53

Volunteers pose at last year’s HOPE Christmas for Children event at Goodtree Children’s Center. (HOPE)

Helping Others Prosper through English is looking for donations and volunteers for three Christmas for Children Programs this month.

As well as professional entertainment from a clown magician and a Psy look-alike, HOPE will provide winter-related children’s games, fun English activities, homemade cookies and ice cream, and a visit from Santa.

The events will be held Dec. 15 at the children’s cancer ward at Severance Hospital in Sinchon, Dec. 21 at Goodtree Children’s Center in Nowon-gu and Dec. 22 at the Mulmangcho School for North Korean orphans in Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province.

HOPE project director Eddie Robinson said the Psy lookalike was a friend who volunteered to perform, while he came across the magician on the way to a HOPE meeting. It’s the kind of chance encounter that Robinson said he liked to make the most of.

“Everything is an opportunity, Everywhere I go I see things and take a picture or write down ideas for toys and games and gifts for the kids for a month and a half,” he said.

Each event will involve 15 to 20 children and Robinson is hoping to have a similar number of volunteers to help hang decorations, organize and run the event, and play with the children. Robinson is also looking for a managing director to coordinate events and provide Korean language assistance.

Volunteer drives will be held at Sam Ryan’s in Itaewon at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday while donations of gifts and cash are being collected at locations in Seoul, and at Suwon and Guri in Gyeonggi Province.

Robinson said gift donations should be suitable for children in elementary school (grade 6 and under) and recommends stationery, socks, gloves and hats. The gifts will be packed into stockings, with the HOPE team trying to match gifts with the children’s needs.

“If they show up and they don’t have gloves, or their gloves are raggedy or the jacket is bad, we try to enhance what they have,” he said. “We have a box of things. While they are playing the games outside, all the elves are busy putting the stockings together.”

Robinson said HOPE collected significant amounts from donation boxes in Guri and Itaewon last year, as well as from organizations including Seoul Foreign School, but that the majority ― about 3 million won ― of what HOPE received was given through small bank transfers.

He said that he would offer a choice of T-shirts, donated to HOPE, for anyone who sent 25,000 won or more.

Donation boxes will be provided at Sam Ryan’s in Suwon and Itaewon, 3-Alley Pub in Itaewon and Bottoms Up in Doldari, Guri.

Those wishing to donate electronically can transfer money to HOPE via Shinhan Bank account No. 100-025-517130.

By Paul Kerry (paulkerry@heraldcorp.com)

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