Summer vacation is like a thousand pieces of gold to university students and young adult workers. The Church of God young adults dedicate themselves to their school studies on campus and to their works at workplace. However, they wait for the summer vacation, not to simply improve their resume or enjoy their youth, but to help their neighbors in the big world and furthermore preserve the earth, which is home to life.
Around the end of July, 540 members from the Church of God University Student Volunteer Group [ASEZ] and Church of God Young Adult Worker Volunteer Group [ASEZ WAO] flew to 84 cities around the world. They were equipped with zeal and passion along with their passport and suitcase, and poured their energy into volunteer services as required by each city.
ASEZ carried out volunteer services, focusing on implementing the “Changemakers’ Resolution.” This resolution was adopted by university students from 42 countries during Worldwide ASEZ Summit 2019 held on July 15. The resolution includes activities such as developing volunteer service programs customized to the status of crime by region and country, designating zero crime street and school, specializing each activity through ASEZ advisory committee system, and enhancing university students’ competencies through communication with experts in each field.
ASEZ students who flew to cities in different countries made use of an enormous amount of materials such as government reports and theses related to crime by country in order to examine the reality of crime status in each local region, and came up with suitable volunteer service programs; some members got ideas from the thesis that says that elderly people got involved in theft due to hardships of life in our ageing society, and they made programs based on the information. Also, ASEZ appointed people related to the event and local VIPs as advisory committee members, and had talks with them to gain useful expertise and experiences. During the ASEZ talks, various issues related to serious crimes by country, from a simple burglary to firearm crimes, were discussed in universities and major institutions such as National Cultural Heritage Palace in Guatemala, Hornysby City Hall in Australia, and University of the Free State in South Africa. Jafeth Ernesto Cabrera Franco, the Vice President of Guatemala, met the university students and said, “University students are bringing positive impacts upon society.” He promised to continue to support their activity. Edgardo Emilio Garrido Lopez, the Chief of Police of Callao, said, “We’re planning to make a program to help 26,000 students with staying away from crime. As part of this program, we need your cooperation because university students are the ones who will lead the future of Peru.”
ASEZ quickly summed up the local situation and set up plans. Then they immediately took their plans into action. Their activity plans were centered on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design [CPTED]. ASEZ members painted family-themed murals in crime-ridden alleys in Valenzuela, Philippines, and cleaned up the trash to brighten up the atmosphere in the streets in Epsom, U.K. They also planted trees on the parched streets of Arequipa, Peru.
ASEZ also visited local schools and municipalities to take the first step toward Zero Crime Street and School project. Eleonor S. Santos, the Principal of Mandalay National High School, said, “It is important to reduce crime and violence in schools. I entirely agree with ASEZ on the belief that Mother’s love is the key solution.” ASEZ members held seminars, conferences, and forums to inform people of the dangers of crime and raise their awareness in Panaji, India, in Mexico city, Mexico, and in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
ASEZ WAO, the Young Adult Worker Volunteer Group, is carrying out the Take Action Project [TAP]. It is a volunteer effort of workers, the engine of the world’s economy, to act together and change the world together by tapping at people’s hearts for the balanced development of human beings and the earth.
ASEZ WAO went overseas during their short vacation period, and took the lead in resolving common global issues in regard to environmental pollution, teenagers, senior citizens, hygiene, and so on, based on their knowledge from various working experiences and previous TAP activities. They held a forum about reducing the use of plastic to raise environmental awareness at the Farmingdale Public Library in NY, U.S.; removed gorse that harmed the ecosystem in Wellington, New Zealand; opened an oral hygiene class for elementary students in Gustavo, A. Madero, Mexico; and carried out blood drives and campaigns to inform the citizens of the importance of blood donation and helped health authorities with blood supply in Raipur, India.
They also played a role of private delegation. They taught the Korean alphabet and traditional Korean games at the SK (A) Bukit Kemandol School in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and held a Korean cultural event for students and elderly people in Taichung, Taiwan.
As ASEZ WAO’s meaningful way of spending their vacations got known, the local media covered their news and municipality workers and citizens encouraged them.
“As displayed in this cleanup, the fervor and positive energy of ASEZ WAO young adult members make our neighbors and communities happy, and ultimately contribute to saving the earth and mankind from environmental risks.” – Chicago Defender, an American online newspaper –
“Your activities are helpful in resolving problems in Cambodia. I support ASEZ WAO that is trying to make a better world from A to Z.” – Bou Chumserey, the Vice Minister of Education, Youth, and Sport of Cambodia –
Before returning to Korea after finishing tight schedules, ASEZ WAO received plaques and certificates of appreciation from many organizations and influential figures, including Caloocan City Mayor Oscar G. Malapitan and American Senator Kevin Thomas. ASEZ WAO received support from councilors when they were invited to the regular meeting of city councilors in Glendale, CA, U.S. “It’s significant for children to receive dental care. Maybe, that’s why the teachers were more grateful. I feel great to help the children on the other side of the world with knowledge I gained from my work experience,” said Sister Kim Yu-jin, a dental hygienist in Naju, Korea, after holding a hygiene class in Mexico.
As a novelist said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes,” the young adults have broadened their horizons through their volunteer services around the world and returned to their schools and workplaces with much more maturity. They are going to share their experiences and continue to make systematic volunteer efforts in cooperation with municipalities and welfare institutions.