[Student Essay] Pursuit of shaping a better community through service

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[Student Essay] Pursuit of shaping a better community through service

(Yoojeong Lee, Grade 11 Student from Branksome Hall Asia)  
 
For me, Jeju is my second hometown and the homework that I have to solve. When I first moved to Jeju in 2017, my conception of Jeju was a peaceful tourist destination, where I didn’t belong as I came from another city, Seoul. However, ever since I encountered service activities in Jeju, my view has completely changed. It started with a small action, participating in various service clubs that my school offers. As I do more and more of those activities, the happiness that comes from service captivated me to design my ways of doing service and supporting the local community I live in. Then, I started to agonize about how I could become a part of the community and wondered what I could do to contribute to the community. In this article, I will share the outcomes of my process of deliberation on what to do.  
 
Jendelion is a service club, which creates a mobile application and a website on the Korean online platform, Naver. Jendelion is a combination word of Jeju and Dandelion, which reveals our ambition to spread to the Jeju local community just like the dandelion that disperses through Jeju breezes. This club aims to let the public know about the hidden history and culture of Jeju by introducing historical and cultural places, reviving the local economy by introducing hidden places, and helping prevent the spread of Covid-19 by showing contact-free locations in our application.  
 
As a founder and the co-leader of Jendelion, I have overcome various obstacles. There were many tasks that I had never managed before, from the fundamental skills and programs required to develop an application, the designs of the app, and the costs of all the software programs. In addition to that, as I led this club even during the Covid-19 pandemic, the club members and I also had to adapt and continue our project through virtual meetings. However, by going through various trials and tribulations with my team, trying many different online platforms, holding fundraising events in and out of the school, and continuously giving new attempts every week, we finally succeeded in publishing our application on Androids and working on iOS. The determination of shaping a better community continued in the following activity, named Bring Hope to Moseulpo. Bring Hope to Moseulpo is a service club that visits Moseulpo’s child care center for children in need to work as tutors and as mentors for the children. As the center has a mission and vision of helping children find their own dream and growth as a local community, our club members also aim to contribute to achieving the mission by contacting the children every week for two hours. It is also related closely with the UN Global goal “Quality education,” as we positively affect the Moseulpo children’s vision and inquiry towards learning and open a pathway of interaction towards a larger community. As the president of this club, each week, I renew my resolve to provide not only academic help but also social support through interacting with the children heart to heart, communicating and understanding each ones’ life and circumstances. As many children in the center do not have many opportunities to spend much time with their parents, and each one has their own circumstances, I encourage my members to socialize with the children as mentors, big sisters, and most importantly as friends, with the determination to guide them to see the positive aspects whenever some challenges come in their life.  
 
My love and passion for the service within my local community moved forward and made me participate in a number of other projects, such as taking the role of the president of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province Youth participation Committee, working as a director of the local stock contest to share the life-changing habitats within my community, and further. Through all these volunteer works, I learned more about Jeju and felt myself becoming a part of the local society. The fact that I am making even a tiny difference in the community that I live in came to me in a great sense and pushed me to find more of it. It also taught me the importance of collaboration with my teams and the gratitude towards the local community. I will continue to stretch my limits to engage with all the service resources and opportunities my school and community offer. To pursue my own utopia that I dream of, I will carry on to challenge myself, to fail, and to overcome.
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