We had the opportunity to visit Saenaru Community Center, one of our volunteer sites, last week to discuss further about the details of job descriptions and other expectation of the program. During this visit we were able to learn more about this site and I would like to introduce the brief history and ministry of this site.
The center was established in 1994 to serve as a soup kitchen for the homeless and as a children’s center for low income families. The location of the site is right by Daejeon station, which is known for a small business district, “Jjokbang village” (one-room accommodations divided by thin walls into several rooms), and a red-light district. There are many people dealing with homelessness and senior citizens who live alone in this area because the rent fee is cheaper. The center is also close to the train underpass, which is known as a crime hotspot which could be harmful for children and youth. There are also many families with a single parent, grandparents raising a grandchild(ren), and low income/dual income families in this area.
The center provides basic meals and delivers free meals to the those dealing with hunger and loneliness living in the area. For children and youth, the center provides after school programs and a safe space until the late night to reduce child neglect while their parents are working. The center continuously develops diverse programs for the community in order to protect and help children to live in a healthy environment. The center operates 7 days a week including a worship service on Sunday with the people it serves.
Rev. Kim, the founder and current director of this center, always has a great smile on his face and a lot of energy whenever we meet him. He also likes to play with Sahn, and Sahn really loves to hang out with him. He studied social work after he started this center to learn professionally about how to help the low income community in the area. He mentioned that he is grateful to have Young Adult Volunteers in his center because they bring a lot of positive energy while serving in the soup kitchen. Even though there is a language barrier between the clients and volunteers, there will be a great opportunity for volunteers to learn about poverty issues in Korea through this agency.