Love and Kindness Make a Difference
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Love and Kindness Make a Difference
  • 이은주
  • 승인 2005.06.01 00:00
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▲ Bertha Holt holds a child in India, 1944. Like Bertha, many university students today share their passion with the orphans by doing voluntary work.
- Phot provided by HCS
   During the 1950s, there lived a married couple with six children in the United States. Then, one day in 1955, the couple visited Korea and they managed to bring 12 Korean children to the United States for adoption. Among the 12 children, the couple themselves adopted eight. In October of that same year, the couple took their first step towards founding a permanent service for international adoption. That married couple was Harry and Bertha Holt, the founders of Holt Children's Services (HCS).
   A story like the Holts' may be hard to hear today, as families have gotten smaller and people have become more independent. However, by doing community service for the HCS, people today can still share their love, passion, affection, and kindness just like the Holts.
   As a non-profit social service organization, HCS guides domestic and international adoption programs and development programs for orphans, by operating child care centers. Students in Seoul are welcome to show the same love that the Holts devoted to their children by volunteering to serve the orphans who live in the center located behind HCS' main office in Hapjeong Station. There, the volunteers bathe and nurse the babies, change their diapers, clean their rooms and feed them.
   "Most orphans are taken care of by foster families. But the children who do not have a home yet are taken care of by us in the center," says Lee Hyun-ji, who is in charge of public relations for HCS. Harry Holt once said, "Every child has the right to have a home." Lee says, "Having volunteers who work with the children part time gives the children a chance to feel family love."
   In addition to volunteering at the center, students can also help with HCS' office work and learn about the difficult procedures that must be followed to complete an adoption. Or, when foreign families visit Korea to adopt orphans, students can actually act as translators and guide the families around Korea. "Language is always a big problem," says Lee, "We find it most difficult when the foreign families visit us and cannot communicate. Qualified university students can truly help us in this area."
   Woo Ji-hee (Konkuk Univ., 3), who volunteered with HCS in April said, "I was very nervous when I first met the foreign parents from the United States because I didn't know how to talk to them. This is an issue that has to be dealt with carefully. However, after we broke the ice, the parents taught me a lot about love. When I asked them about the child that they adopted, they couldn't stop smiling and expressing their pride towards that child. They were just like any other parents! I had a great time taking them around Seoul and introducing Korean culture. They especially liked the visit to Deoksugung."
   Barbara De Angelis once said, '"Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver." HCS staff members emphasize that being a volunteer for homeless children is not difficult. Foreign families from the United States, Norway, Denmark, France, and Luxemburg are scheduled to visit Korea this summer. Basic training for volunteers will be held June 8 and 24 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at HCS' main office near Hapjeong Station.

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