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Why We Serve
Written by Jason Whang | Published. 2018.02.27 16:47 | Count : 938
Every winter, Seoul Foreign School Christian Ministries organizes the “Serving Others, Giving of our Deeds (SO GOOD)” project. The four divisions of Seoul Foreign School are each responsible for a portion of the SO GOOD project. Seoul Foreign High School was in charge of giving Christmas gifts to girl orphans at Ethel’s Maeul and disabled males at Angels’ Haven. All divisions collected canned foods for the Seodaemun-gu District Food Market, a food distribution center for low-income families residing in the neighborhood. Every student was responsible for bringing in gifts for the orphan girls and disabled males.
[Seodaemun-Gu District Food Market Item Collection Day]
I have been part of the Seoul Foreign School Community Service Committee (CSC) for the past three years. As one of the High School representatives, I organized the SO GOOD project in the High School. Tony Kim, the Student Council Club Director, and I introduced and publicized the project and organized the logistics of the collected gifts and cans. To see the roots of the SO GOOD project, refer to my previous article, "Make a Christmas wish come true!"

Make a Christmas wish come true!
[Angels’ Haven Gift Collection Day]
“Seoul Foreign School, Centered in Christ, inspires a passion for learning, pursues academic and creative excellence and is dedicated to the service of others.” - Seoul Foreign School Mission Statement
Service is an essential part of student life at Seoul Foreign School. The school values a service-oriented student body. 
The thought and love put into the gifts were evident.  Few students went above and beyond expectations and took time to buy presents that their assigned person would like. Some of the gifts, however, were thoughtless. Gifts were half-wrapped, flimsy, and compilations of used household items that would be of little or no significance to the recipient. The act of buying and giving gifts may seem menial and trivial to us, but these small gestures mean the world to the recipients. The orphan girls and disabled males live in communal spaces and have little or no personal possessions.  It is rare for them to receive gifts that were solely intended for them, which brings joy into their lives. The gifts sometimes stick with these people for their entire life.  I personally delivered some of the gifts and observed the joy these gifts brought to them. 

[Gifts for Angels’ Haven]
Then, why is it that some of us choose to put minimal effort and care in these gifts?
“I’m busy” or “It was before midterms” is a hackneyed expression that I am used to hearing.  It saddens me, however, to see that if this ought to be true, students are so self-centered and cannot afford the time to improve our community. 
“Seoul Foreign School, centered in Christ, inspires a passion for learning, pursues academic and creative excellence and is dedicated to the service of others.” – Seoul Foreign School’s Mission Statement
Our school’s mission statement states that it strives to be a school that is “dedicated to the service of others.” Thus, our school does a very good job providing service opportunities to students. We have many service clubs at our school and many students are perhaps committed to too many of them. Perhaps the reason being is that many students have the perception that service clubs are the key to acceptance into prestigious universities. 

[Distributing Gifts at Angels’ Haven]
Although it is not wrong that there is a section for service activities in college applications, these prestige universities ask for service experience because they look for balance and community engagement in prospective students. 
I find such a college-oriented mindset counterproductive to the service mentality students should  have. 
Thus, if you are doing service for the sole purpose of college applications, I urge you to reflect on the meaning of service. The service mentality comes with time. I do not expect the quality of the gifts to change after being reproached by a teacher. I do, however, believe that being reminded of the impact of our service can help students develop a service mentality. 
Do not commit yourself to all service clubs. Instead, commit yourself to a few and strive for excellence in them.  Do not just fundraise for your cause. Raising funds for an organization can be beneficial but try thinking out of the box. Know your cause, organization, and purpose. Meet the people you are serving. Growing a personal connection with the people you are serving stimulates your desire to do even more for them.



Jason Whang 
Seoul Foreign School

Jason Whang  student_reporter@dherald.com

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