Being a strong ‘Daddy-Long-Legs’ to children

Volunteer is but practice, continuing to serve as long as my strength allows 강영훈l승인2022.09.28l수정2022.09.28 10:41

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Jean Webster’s novel Daddy-Long-Legs tells the story of a talented girl growing up under the auspices of a man. Thanks to Daddy-Long-Legs by the girl’s talent was able to blossom without being buried in the orphanage, and Daddy-Long-Legs became synonymous with a patron who helped children grow. Children have dreams and talents. However, there are many children who have to give up their dreams and talents because of realisty or because of disasters and accidents. And the children need Daddy-Long-Legs. It is unfortunate for children to give up their dreams and talents, but it is also a loss of the social development dynamics. That’s why there are people who are helping children grow up the way they want without giving up their dreams and talents. <PowerKorea> covers Park Togun CEO Kang Shin-tae who is a gracious and strong Daddy-Long-Legs for the children. 

 

Wishing to be remembered as Daddy-Long-Legs from children

‘Smile, order, and caring’ open up the future of children

Kang, who has been running a construction company in Busan for more than 30 years, has a dream he wants to achieve as much as a successful entrepreneur: to be remembered as Daddy-Long-Legs from children. Kang became involved with children in earnest in June 2003 when he participated in the Sending Boys Donga Daily Movement. The movement is a sponsorship project that sends the newspapers for rural children who have had relatively few learning opportunities to open their eyes to the world. Kang donated 960,000 won to help children communicate with the world. For Kang, children are “the ones who open the future.” Kang believes that children should grow up to be healthy adults who can reach out to their neighbors first with a bright smile so that the area and even society can be brightened. Therefore, the volunteer activities he leads do not lack “smile, order, and consideration.”

The beginning was humble. It was a campaign to encourage children to observe traffic order in the vicinity of schools where children come and go. Learning, Kang thought, was not only at the head of the desk. He hoped that even on the way to school, children would naturally learn the orderly appearance of keeping a good eye on his surroundings. Kang was distressed. “Sponsorship” was enough to practice sharing, but the thirst to give more than one to the children didn’t go away easily. Kang said “From campaigns to keeping traffic order and guiding juvenile delinquency, I have worked tirelessly to improve the humanity of children. I have continued my practice until now with the hope that I will grow up right.” 

▲ Park Togun / CEO Kang Shin-tae

Giving kids the opportunity to experience more

From love for children to love for neighbor

Kang also invited children living in a remote village to Busan so that they can feel a little bit of life in the city. “In the early 2000s alone, there were more than 5500 primary schools across the country, but not all children in all schools had equal experience and education. I wanted to invite the children to show the transformation of the city.” He just remembered the school in Chunnam Jiangsung County, where he had sent the newspaper to children 3 months ago. He remembers a letter from a child “My school is in bad shape, and I don’t learn much because I’m in a rural area. Please be sure to invite us.” Around that time, news of Typhoon Cicada causing a great deal of fall and damage to the countryside was also heard. He invited the children to Busan for 2 nights and 3 days on his expenses. 

As a result, Kang began to pay attention to the community. Although society has developed a lot, there are still many neighbors around them who continue to lead difficult lives. In particular, there were many people who groaned because of natural disasters. It hurts his heart every time he saw neighbors who had been harmed and turned into refugees, or who were looking at the houses swallowed by the disasters. He wanted to do more and was appointed as the Director of the Busan City Secretariat of the Pan-Citizens’ Union for Disaster Overcoming.

He also began sponsoring the free lunch service at the Busan Bopper Sharing Movement Headquarters. There is also an order in volunteer. What refugees need most is “food.” Making a meal is also something that people do. There should be incentives. Encouragement was given to the feeding volunteers to further enhance the quality of service. Sometimes I went out of the field myself. Since 2003, when typhoons were unusually frequent and the damage was severe, he intensively sought out the Nakdong River estuary and vinyl houses and erected them with hand-crafted house materials. When the typhoon crushed Gimcheon-si in Gyeongbuk Province, he did not stop sponsoring, sending 47 boxes of handmade sneakers.

Continuing ‘restless’ volunteer

Continuing to serve as far as strength is reached

Even in the practice of neighborly love, he did not let go of the bonds of connection with the children. He wanted to see the children grow steadfast. Children’s hidden talents should not be wasted or buried in “money” issues. He said “There were a lot of dream trees in the area who couldn’t go to the competition because they didn’t have the training fees, the stamp fees. Because physical education is the only place where the country stands right, I have taken the lead in nurturing the dreams of our children.” He received the 2005 Congressional Award for his steady support of Gukmudo, a life sport. 

His good deeds were an example to the community. Successively winning the Busan Mayor’s Award in 2003, he received the Primie Minister’s prize and the Ministry of the Interior and Safety’s prize in a row and became a role model citizen. He said “It wasn’t a service that started out to get noticed, but I was glad that people recognized the value of service. For the first time in my life, I received the President’s Award.” Former President Roh Moo-hyun awarded the commendation in 2006 in recognition of Kang’s excellent formulation of disaster preparedness in the community. His award proves the path of volunteer he has walked. In 2003, the Pyeongsa Elementary School (now Bongdeokcho Pyeongsa Branch School) in Yeosu Dolsan Township awarded him a letter of appreciation for regularly inviting children to Busan. In 2008, Park Geun-hye, then a member of the National Assembly, issued a letter of appreciation in recognition of the development of local athletics. Last year, he received a commendation from Busan Mayor Park Hyung-joon for his “Participation in the Love Family Love Movement and the Movement to Overcome Low Birth.” 

There is no ‘rest’ in his service. There are still many children in the world, neighbors who need a helping hand. Kang said “For me, volunteer is practice. I will continue to serve as far as I can reach. If there comes a day when children grow up and vaguely think, Daddy-Long-Legs was our hope and dream,’ then nothing will be as rewarding as that.” 


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