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For the Dreams of Blue Birds

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HCS made a sponsorship agreement with Hyundai Department Store's Social Welfare Foundation in 2018 in order to help the independence of adolescents discharged from residential care. We agreed to provide financial, career and psychological support for two years each before and after discharge. It is a promise that we will help them prepare for an independent life before discharge and overcome difficulties after discharge. For four years total before and after discharge we support the adolescents of 'Blue Bird, Wingbeats for Dreams' who have to leave the facility when they turn 18. We helped class 1 of 28 adolescents from 2018 to February, 2020 and class 2 of 30 from 2019 to February, 2021.

We had education for mentors and counselors twice each in September and November, 2018; financial management education as well as group mentoring on baking, sports, music & art and volunteer service in December; three-day workshop for career search and strengthening capability to lead an independent life in January last year; and a program appraisal for the first year with 27 children and adolescents, 27 teachers and 17 mentors, of which 87.8% answered 'very satisfied' in the survey.

In May, 2019, 30 adolescents around Seoul and Gyeonggyi-do were selected as the members of Blue Bird class 2 along with 22 adults and college student mentors. All of them were divided into five mentoring groups. Like class 1, class 2 participated in the workshop for career search and strengthening capability for independent life for three days from January 8. The first day's education themed 'selfleadership' was about the most important quality for independence, which is making one's own decision by oneself. The second day was focused on financial management, one of the trickiest part of an independent life. They learned the value of money and the importance of financial planning by simulating how to use their support fund. After two days of education, they said, "I earned sense of reality as the independence is so close to me. I want to remember everything I learned and well manage the fund.

The most popular program of the workshop was obviously 'Talk Box with Mentors,' during which the adolescents ask questions on independence to the mentors who used to be in residential care. There were many moments of complete sympathy and understanding with real questions and answers exchanged such as 'What are the tips on cutting living expenses?' 'How do you get over loneliness?' and 'Who would walk me down the aisle at my wedding ceremony?' Rev. Park, Yo-han, an honorary mentor for class 2 and Holt ambassador, took time to join the workshop and encouraged the young people preparing to venture into the wide world.

The Blue Bird class 2 is about to fly out into a wonderful future. We hope that the loving support would go on to help them find their own way as a decent member of the society.