A Thumb in Seoul

Hello! My name is Valerie Alexis Rodriguez and I am currently in my fourth year at Northeastern Illinois University. I was born and raised in Chicago and I am 22 years old.

When I was a mere freshman in high school, my father taught me a life lesson that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. One morning before school, he turned to me and said, “Be the thumb, Valerie.” I thought what he said was a little funny and I asked him what he meant. He broke it down for me like this: the thumb does not look like the rest of the fingers and the hand would be rendered almost useless without it. My father was telling me that in the journey of life I should strive to be a leader, to be unique, and to remember that I am important. Since that morning, I tell myself to be the thumb every day and in everything that I do.

Recently, I have been given the chance to teach English in South Korea. The program TaLK gives an educational scholarship to only a handful of applicants to travel to South Korea for either six months or a year. It has been my dream for quite a long time to embrace the Korean culture and teach to younger children. There is so much knowledge that can be shared between myself and these kids. I want to seize all opportunities that life brings and I believe this program can help color my journey and allow me to help others with theirs. In this program I will be able to teach English to kids who are very much in their first journeys. They are coloring and they are searching, slowly but surely, for who they are. This program gives a chance to be not only a teacher, but also a mentor. Bonds can be created and friendships can be made and those are the things that color our journeys. The beauty of a program such as this one is that it won’t only be me teaching them, but also them teaching me. While I help these kids color their journeys, they will be helping me color my own. This program is an opportunity to teach as well as be taught.

My father taught me to be me and that being me is more than enough; most of all, this is want to teach these kids. I want them to learn to embrace who they are and realize they are important. I want to teach them to be the thumb in their own journeys.

In conclusion, I ask for anything that you may be able to give. No donation is too small. Your prayers and well wishes are just as welcomed and appreciated. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Donations

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  • Natalie Maglaris 
    • $25 
    • 74 mos
  • Christine Hernandez 
    • $50 
    • 74 mos
  • Tanya Tsiaousis 
    • $25 
    • 75 mos
  • Dalia Jensen 
    • $50 
    • 75 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 75 mos
See all

Organizer

Valerie Alexis Rodriguez 
Organizer
Chicago, IL
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