Oops! I completely forgot to publish this post last year! Anyway, last year, Mike and volunteered a couple of times at an orphanage in Seoul with a volunteer organization called Bean. We only went twice because the process to sign up was crazy competitive. If you didn’t sign up within an hour of receiving the notification email, then the volunteer spots were already filled.
Both times we volunteered there were about 15 others, most of them teachers like us. The orphanage was modern and clean.
I was surprised that many of the kids weren’t strictly ‘orphans’ but lived at the orphanage because their parents were not able to support them financially. In fact, most of them saw their relatives on a regular basis.
The kids, for the most part, were kind of rowdy and did not behave very well. There was really no discipline or management system set up by the volunteer organization so I’m sure that contributed to the moments of chaos. The language barrier probably didn’t help either. However, there were a few kids that were quiet and only wanted to draw or color.
As volunteers, we were assigned to an age group based on our preference. Mike and I chose the third and fourth grade students. For about an hour we tutored the kids in English one-on-one using worksheets. Afterwards we had snack time and playtime with them.
The first time we volunteered the weather was nice so we stayed outdoors most of the time. We bought the kids ice cream and basically just ran around with them.
The second time it was pretty chilly so we played with the kids inside the auditorium.
Here’s a video of one of my favorite kids. He is a bit of a hellion. I didn’t realize it until later but you’ll notice him jumping on a pink toy chest, well, there was a kid inside the chest!
After seeing one of the other kids get on a volunteer’s shoulders and walk around, this little boy came to Mike and (I guessed) wanted to walk around on his shoulders, too.
Here’s a video of snack time with the kids.
I was hoping to be able to help with babies but the youngest kids were in kindergarten. They were a lot of fun, though.
Mike and I enjoyed our time with the kids. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to volunteer again with Bean because the orphanage is quite far from us, plus there are usually a lot of volunteers who sign up right away. I’ve seen other orphanage volunteer opportunities with Mannam. (See Mike’s post about Mannam and Mannam Basketball here.) We definitely want to volunteer with them soon.