Unification News for November 2001
Seeking Dorm Parents in Korea
by Steve and Jeri Tamayo
We have been in Korea working as Dorm Parents and Teachers for the second generation who come to the World Student Garden of Brothers and Sisters (Officially known as the Korean Language Institute for Foreign students) to Study the Korean Language and Culture. We have been here since September 1994. We have enjoyed our work here in Korea. We have been given so many opportunities to see and experience Korea in all its myriad forms. As well, we have grown in our love and dedication to our second generation, they are the reason we longed to come here in the first place.
Couples have been interested in this mission in the past, but we had no way to accommodate your families. Now our apartment will be opened and there could be a chance for you to fill the position if the cards are in your hands. Our apartment by the way has two bedrooms, a living room with a small kitchenette and a bathroom and shower combined. There are two small balconies out side the door size windows. In the event two couple are hired one set of you will have to live in an apartment near by.
We believe a family with grown children, or perhaps in or close to their teens and not too many, 2-3 or a just starting family none or one child would be suitable. This is a full-time mission, yet a very rewarding one. The nature of the mission though can keep you on your toes, so if you have a lot of little ones it could be tough. And at any rate, I'm pretty sure the school wouldn't hire a large family, of small children.
For the last 3 years we have been feeling our time to move on is coming. We have talked extensively about this moment and how we would continue from here. We want to continue to be involved with the second generation that's for sure. We are planning to return to my hometown area in Reno Nevada. We will work together with our region in all Church activities. Also my sister's family who is a 1989 blessed couple, and our family will work together to create a second-generation retreat center. As well we want to make a home where Korean blessed children can come and study English. We have a vision to create a home where blessed children can come year round to receive Divine Principle education, internal guidance and refurbish there faith through long talks, long walks, prayer and physical work (house, yard, garden, etc.)
Steve's contract will finish in July of 2002. Our hope is that a replacement couple can be found quickly so they can come here even as early as January (no later than March) so they can learn the ropes here and get settled in by the time we leave in July.
We are hoping that you can help us to find a couple for this mission. I am sending a copy of a revised list that Dale and Joy Garrett put together and James Chisholm revised and added to of an ideal dorm couple. This way if you know of people, who are interested and would like to know more about it, you can share this information with them. I am sending an example of a one-year plan too.
I canít say we met all the requirements, but if someone at least has the desire to, that could work, it did for us. All anyone really needs to do this job is a Faith in God, belief in True Parents, Divine Principle and a love for our second generation. If you have that then everything will come into place. We don't mean to burden all of you with the problem of finding a couple to replace us, but we are sure that a qualified couple could be found to take our position. The program has grown and developed a lot in these past 7 years. We really feel it is time for new blood to fill this position. Besides that itís really the time for us to move on.
Steve and I will miss Korea very much. It has become our true home, and I know for myself it will be very hard to leave. I think of it now and tears flow without control. I know we will return again and again as often as we can. At the same time we are looking forward to the future and all the wonders of life and what it will unfold in the future. Our greatest hope is that we can continue to be a source of hope and inspiration for blessed children. Also we look forward to working in Reno and hope to be a supportive blessed couple and active members there.
Qualifications for Dorm Parents
1) The husband and wife should both have a strong life of faith and a good marriage together. Each individual dorm parent should be a good example of following God and True Parents. This example will teach the Blessed Children more than anything else either of them say. As a couple, if the dorm parents fight with each other the children would obviously be placed in an impossible situation. But if the dorm parents have a really beautiful unity between them, it is easier for the children to have confidence in being matched and blessed by Father in the future. The dorm parents must have a foundation of good communication with each other in order to generate good communication in the program and with the children.
2) Really able to love kids (24 hours a day, day in and day out). You basically have to be a person who really loves kids even when it is very difficult (and teenagers, even Blessed ones, can be very challenging!) You should be prepared to love these children as much as or more than their own parents would love them. When your own child is in need of your attention, you sometimes have to pay attention to one of the dorm children instead.
Itís very helpful if you have some past experience in taking care of people in intensive situations, even if it is not necessarily of teenagers. Any type of parental role is good training for this mission, for example: summer camp, workshop staff, "actionizer" programs, center director or state leader, or Parent etc. Dorm parents have to remember they will take care of kids when they are physically sick, homesick, nervous, jealous; the whole gamut of human emotions. On top of everything, all these experiences are all taking place in a foreign country while the kids are away from their parents. Itís an awesome responsibility, with an awesome experience.
Of course, most of the time there are no problems, and just spending time with the kids is like a holiday in Heaven, their hearts are so beautiful. The prospective dorm parents shouldnít have overly idealistic conceptions of how Blessed Children are "different" from other children. They go through many of the typical struggles all teenagers do. By looking at them "through the eyes of shimjung", believing in their original minds, and listening to them and sharing with them with honesty, humor and love, you can build good relationships with them.
3) The desire and ability to learn Korean. Besides the fact that Father always emphasizes it, learning Korean for this mission is important because your success here depends a lot on doing it. It helps in: Being a good example to the kids. Being able to unite with the Korean and Japanese members working in the program here. Being able to survive and eventually thrive knowing the language of the country you are living in.
Strange as it may seem, this mission is so full time that it is hard to find time to learn Korean! It would be ideal if a prospective dorm parent couple could come here for one year, just study Korean and get used to living in Seoul, then start as dorm parents. Actually, this is what the first Japanese dorm parent did when he came here. But because of the time frame for the need of a dorm parent now, you just have to "learn while you work", which is what all the Western staff who have come here so far have done. Fortunately we have several Korean staff members who are willing to teach the Language to us. Itís just a matter of getting our schedules in sync. To be successful in learning Korean it is necessary that you really want to learn Korean and that you can actually force yourself to do it.
4) Flexibility. Flexibility coupled with humility is essential. Both students and staff members in this program are from a number of different countries and have different cultural traditions. Since we come from different parts of the Unification Church, we may even have quite different experiences within the church. We canít be attached to our own countryís way of doing things. Also, as in any new situation, you definitely start out as a servant of servants. You must be open-minded and not attached to doing things only one way.
5) Able to deal with stress. Culture shock, language difficulties, etc. may bring a lot of stress. Living intensely with others is stressful. One difficult child can be stressful. Dorm parents must be able to deal with this by sharing with other dorm parents, by praying, etc. Our program is fundamentally "relationship" oriented. Learning to communicate honestly and openly has helped all of us who work here and study here. Not only do we become close but also we eliminate a lot of stress that could be, if we didnít speak out to one another, in constructive and informative ways. . Flexibility is important here too, obviously.
6) Having a college degree. At least one of you must have a degree. In order to teach at our school, you have to have a BA or BS degree. We teach English, Math, Korean Culture (coupled with Church History and Fatherís life), Social Studies, Phys. Education and some Geography. We try to add some Art classes with the Korean Culture class.
Job Description for Dorm Parents
1) Responsibilities as a couple. The most important way parents teach their children is through example. It is essential that dorm parents have a strong faith life that is resilient, hearty and tested. We are here to pass on our tradition and faith to the second generation. We all go through doubts and storms and testing periods, but if we are not dealing with these deeply and positively, it will hurt the children.
2) Dormitory responsibilities. You will help to take care of 70 or more teenage children living in a dormitory. This includes:
A. Leading and/or organizing religious services. This includes morning and evening prayer meetings, Sunday services, and Holy Day celebrations, giving internal guidance, raising up student leaders, individually talking and counseling students about personal situations and academic progress.
B. Taking care of childrenís physical needs. (Includes buying clothes, glasses, whatever else they need; taking care of medical needs. Working with staff members from other cultures. At World Student Garden, itís important to remember that youíre coming into a situation, which is not at all the same as what you have experienced before, and that uniting with Japanese in America is different from uniting with Japanese in Korea.
As far as the new dorm parents salary I canít answer that question. Mr. Lee doesnít discuss that with us. Itís really something you will have to discuss with him.
It is possible to find extra English teaching jobs. Myself I use to work 3 hours a week at the High School teaching English. I made $300 a month. And there are individual jobs you can find that offer anywhere from $15-35 an hour depending on the class. As well you will find that more than 3-4 hours a week in extra classes is more than enough as far as time is concerned. We have found that dorm performance goes down quite a bit, working longer extra hours then that. I have tried often. It doesnít work. And Steve, doesnít take any extra classes. Being the head western teacher at school.
We believe that the right couple for this place is one that really loves our blessed children and has a realistic vision for them. A couple who is willing to dedicate at least 3-5 years to the program, because it takes that long to grow into this mission. As well, a stable staff is always best. If you are an older couple then you might even want to consider a career change. Your children can even receive some benefit of attending the program as well, depending on their age. If you were a younger couple then, 5 years would be more than enough, especially if you have a growing family. Actually a young family with a child already, would want to really consider carefully if this is what they really want to do. One more benefit. The airfare for the couple will be reimbursed and the program will cover the immigration fees in Korea. If children are traveling there is no reimbursement for their airfare.
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