Community Introductions: Teri

Community Introductions: Teri

Today we are happy to introduce you to an adoptee living in Korea.
Teri was nice enough to sit down with us and tell us a little bit about her story and life in Korea:

My name is Teresa Thomas and I was adopted in 1976. This is my second time returning to Korea and I have been here since April 5, 2017. I returned with the intention of doing further research on my birth family, to live and work here on a permanent basis, and also increase awareness about Korean adoptees with disabilities with hopes of also involving native Koreans as well.

I was born with cerebral palsy, a disorder that impairs motor skills. For me, it has affected my walking and my speech. During my first visit to Korea in 1994, I don’t specifically remember if I had any struggles getting around Seoul. However, since coming back to Korea this past April, I have encountered so much difficulty getting to and from places.

I have fallen many times due to uneven pavement. However, I have also seen several “normal” people trip or fall due to uneven street surfaces. The only difference is that they have better balance than myself which prevents them from completely falling.

Another difficulty is riding the public buses. While walking to the bus stop or station I often get shoved, or pushed. This can be attributed to Korea’s 빨리 빨리 culture where everyone is seemingly in a rush to get where they need to go.

Additionally, most stores and restaurants do not have railings on their staircases. Many also do not have elevators. Some people with disabilities have difficulties climbing up stairs without a railing and some have difficulties climbing stairs regardless if there are railings or not.

In general, people with disabilities should be aware of these types of challenges and conditions before visiting any country. They should be prepared to face these challenges at any given moment.

It is helpful to know your limitations - know what you can and cannot do as there is not as widespread ease of access in Korea as there is in a country like the United States. From my experience, you can expect some delays getting around. I recommend taking your time and protecting yourself to make sure you can safely navigate Korea. I also have found that many times, Korean people are very willing to help.

Having discussed my experience with accessibility here in Korea, here are my general recommendations to improve it:

#1 Provide paratransit to supplement the public transportation routes of buses and subway routes.

#2 Create regulations for taxi drivers that would require them to take people with disabilities anywhere within the city, regardless of distance or location.

#3 Improve walking surfaces.

#4 Enforce current regulations or create regulations for buildings regarding the installation of railings and elevators.

#5 Create a better educational system for people with disabilities.

In closing, besides the physical challenges there have been emotional and mental challenges as well. Culturally, age can be a factor as well, affecting employment opportunities. Despite these challenges, everyone, including people with disabilities have great potential. Set your mind to your goals and you can do it!

*Views expressed here are of the adoptee and do not necessarily reflect G.O.A.'L.

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Outreach Trip: Daegu & Busan

Outreach Trip: Daegu & Busan

On July 15, 2017 Nathan (Community Mentor) and AK (Secretary-General) visited Daegu and Busan for an outreach trip to adoptees living in and around those cities. The objective was to meet the adoptees living in those areas and also learn what services are needed or wanted for those adoptees.

 

After arriving in Daegu around lunch time, the G.O.A.’L staff met with two adoptees living in the area for a meal at 새마을식당 (New Village Restaurant) near East Daegu station (동대구역). We enjoyed barbecue, kimchi jjigae, and other dishes! We followed lunch with a discussion down the street at Dunkin Donuts. It was a pleasure meeting the local adoptees and spending time together!


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The next stop was Busan where we met at Busan station and had our discussion at a local Angel-in-us coffee shop. For dinner, in addition to the adoptees, we met a former employee of G.O.A.’L and a staff member from the office of our auditor. We ate at a local Chinese restaurant (홍성방) and enjoyed dumplings, japchae, and other dishes. Thank you very much for meeting us and learning more about G.O.A.’L!

 

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Special thanks to our auditor, Kihyun Park, for the dinner in Busan and Korea Adoption Services for funding the trip!

 

G.O.A.’L as an organization has the objective of expanding services beyond Seoul as we are aware there are many adoptees that live in other towns and cities throughout Korea.
We currently offer 100% discount scholarships for tuition to many schools throughout Korea, outside of Seoul. You can find more information here:
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Grief after being Exposed to Suicide

Grief after being Exposed to Suicide

In regards to recent events in the adoptee community - our mental health partner, You&Me Psychological & Consultation Services (YPCS), has created a document about grief after being exposed to suicide.

You can view the document <<<here>>>

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What Happens at a Loopkin Workshop and How You Can Benefit

What is Loopkin?

Think of Loopkin’s platform as an Airbnb for kids’ activities. You can find a kids event specialist or become one yourself and use their platform to find clients. Watch their introduction video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D92_2KikVXw

Introduction to Design Thinking

At the workshop, Loopkin explains an approach to operating and managing events called Design Thinking. This method can be applied not only to interactions and events with children but has been applied to operations within large corporations (think Google, Apple, etc). This method is used to foster collaboration between individuals and complete projects focusing on the design process and not necessarily the end result. When applied to kids events, this method is used to encourage interaction with each other and creative thinking, rather than taking direction from an authority figure like a teacher or parent.

Ice Breaking Activity: Post-It Note Drawings

In order to meet and introduce ourselves to other workshop participants, we did a short activity with Post-It notes. We first drew pictures of three things that we were good at doing. I chose to draw skiing, playing guitar, and cooking. We were then instructed to get out of our chairs and meet someone who was not at our table, after speaking with someone about your pictures and learning about theirs they were to sign their name. In the time given I was able to speak with two people. After taking our seats again, some folks were chosen at random to talk about who they met. Note that we weren’t instructed to take notes about the other people we spoke with; I suppose it was a test to see if we really were listening and learning about another person and not just concerned with our own drawings.

Design Thinking Activity: Wallet

The main design activity we did was to design the ideal wallet for a partner at our table. At first we could not speak with them and simply had to  sketch an idea from our general impression of them. Next we did a short interview of our partner to learn more about them, we were able to further explore what we found out about them in another interview session. Next we captured their needs regarding their ideal wallet and also insights about our partner to add to the design. Finally we created a problem statement to be solved by the ideal wallet.

Unfortunately we were unable to completely finish the ideal wallet design activity but it did give us a preview into the whole design thinking process and how it could be applied. It was interesting how much we learned about our partner in such a short period of time.

You can view a short clip of the workshop here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUkEQERfD58

If you are interested in how an event with children would be operated, there is a short video of a kids Play workshop here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ00F1bjw9Q

How is Loopkin beneficial to you?

After receiving the training that Loopkin provides, you are able to use their platform to host events and earn income. You can apply the Design Thinking framework to whatever your talents may be. For example, maybe you enjoy writing and storytelling. You could host an event for children that focuses on their creative thinking while teaching them about telling a story or the writing process. The benefit to parents and other caretakers of children is that the kids are able to socialize with one another while thinking outside the box. It also lets their parents or caretakers have a few hours without their children in order to run errands or take care of other business.

If you are already a working professional and would like to learn a new approach to completing projects or working in teams, these workshops are helpful! In just a few hours I really learned a lot about the other people that attended the workshop and, especially about my partner for the wallet design activity. It can help get your team to work together and value each other’s inputs.

Visit their website for more information: https://iloopkin.com/

 
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