My name is Eric Park. I am from South Korea and currently a student attending Bellevue College with studies in communications. As the summer intern for Community Forums Network (CFN), I am working as a Government Affairs/Community Outreach Coordinator. In this role, I help facilitate forums on the issue of young adult employment and am helping to build the internal infrastructure for the organization’s college and government outreach effort.
On July, 17 2012, I had a chance to visit a charity group called the Millionair Club with Suzanne Pak who is the Community Outreach Manager for CFN. It was a great experience to explore how private social services work in the United States. Private charities providing social services is a new concept to me, so I’d like to share my new experiences while I was at the Millionair Club.
To give a little introduction about the Millionair Club, they are a social service center that provides homeless people with shelter, food, activities, security, job opportunities, and employment services. Their mission is to change individual lives by providing jobs and support services. They have been doing this work since 1921. The U.S. has many homeless shelters compared to South Korea. Jacki Lorenz, who is the Major Gift Officer, and Greg Whitney, Sr. Director of Development/Business Relations, gave us a tour and explained how the system works at the Millionair Club. They are trying really hard to make a difference in the lives of homeless people. They are reaching out to many hurting people in the community to help them get jobs and to live on their own.
In Korea, there are not a lot of organizations like the Milionair Club that help homeless people. We do not have large gathering places for homeless people to eat or sleep. Korea does not provide for organizations like the Millionair Club because there are not many sponsors or businesses willing to support them. Also, the Korean government does not place much attention on homelessness. It is interesting to me how social services in the U.S. are very well organized and that there are many other organizations and businesses who are willing to help such as Dick’s Drive-In Restaurants. I feel very proud to work as an intern for CFN, and to see how all the nonprofit organizations make a difference in people’s lives.