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[EWHA Voice] JUMP: community for mutual benefit

By 2013-04-01No Comments

University students tutor children from multicultural families and in turn are mentored by the founders of JUMP (Photo by Kahng Sun-woo)

The baton has been passed and those who were until now spectators have joined the race with the help of those who have gone before. Join Us to Maximize Our Potential (JUMP) is a volunteer group created to help children from multicultural family backgrounds. Consisting of three groups – “Jumper,” “Bouncer” and “Mentor,” it aims to foster the talents of tomorrow through a system in which today’s leaders mentor aspiring students to pass their knowledge to their juniors. Its ultimate goal is to encourage participants to aim for ambitious dreams rather than merely settling for the present. The so-called “virtuous circle” in which everyone benefits is what distinguishes JUMP from other volunteer groups. The Bouncers are university students who educate and converse with the Jumpers – children from multicultural families. The Bouncers, in return, have the opportunity to seek valuable advice from the Mentors, who have already achieved success in their fields. The Mentors, most of whom are Harvard graduates, created JUMP in May 2011 to embed and spread such a cooperative culture and ultimately build a community for mutual benefit. “JUMP is unique in that not only the children but also the volunteers benefit,” said Shin Ji-hyun, the manager of the program. The project’s unique structure has impressed those who know of it and attracted many to join, with some members attending events for almost two years even after they have finished their assigned terms. “The fact that volunteers also gain has greatly impressed me,” said Lee Byeong-ryeol (Dongguk University, 3), who has been a Bouncer for a year. “It has been such a great opportunity teaching children and seeking advice from successful mentors in the field I wish to pursue.” Another prominent characteristic of JUMP is its devotion to the Jumpers, its main beneficiaries. Bouncers are required to serve one-semester tutoring Jumpers, more than four times a week and three hours a day, at a designated recreational center specially designed for multicultural children. “We usually teach English and mathematics. After making monthly schedules for each student, we try to strictly adhere to accomplishing daily goals,” Shin said. Although educating the children is certainly the predominant task Bouncers commit themselves to, their ultimate goal goes beyond mere education. “We wish to establish close rapport with the children by spending much time talking about their daily lives, listening to their hardships and giving advice,” Shin said. Lee introduces an incident in which he witnessed a noticeable improvement in his tutee. “My tutee used to tell me he did not like to play with friends. He would stay most of his time inside of his house. After a few months of tutoring and openly conversing with him, he accepted my advice. Now he spends much time outside playing sports with his friends,” Lee said. Although the mandatory meetings may be a burden for the Bouncers, they appreciate and derive satisfaction from the opportunity to help others. “I am more than happy to be able to help the children in the smallest way I can,” Shin said. “In addition, the opportunity has been a meaningful experience for me to prepare for my future career as a teacher. I have now acquired the skills to become a truly caring educator.” Not only do Bouncers learn from their teaching experience, but also from the realistic advice the Mentors offer. Currently about 80 mentors, mostly professionals in various fields, consult with the Bouncers to help them plan for their futures. “Sessions with Mentors have proved to be such crucial moments,” Jung said. “Their realistic depictions of what it is really like to be a lawyer and what kind of hardships I would face have made me think more seriously and realistically about my future career.” JUMP members express a strong will to continue building a meaningful community that provides essential help for those in need. “2013 was the first year two former Jumpers have become Bouncers and another Jumper enrolled in a university with the Bouncers’ help,” Shin said. “The system through which leaders foster future ones will continue thrive.”
Oh Seo-Jin
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