However, the mother was quite surprised when the three Furey members, accompanied by some very special guests, arrived at her house and told her that Jeju Furey had made the decision to start supporting them. In our first visit with the family, the mother was very strong; keeping her emotions tucked away. Yet, when she heard the news, the tears welled up in her eyes.
What happened next was almost beyond words. Our special guests were 7 students from various Jeju high schools. These students, along with a few others who were unable to attend the family visit, got together back in the summer of 2013 and decided they wanted to do something to help out people in-need in Jeju. They designed bracelets that say “Just Enjoy Just 4 U” (spelling out JEJU) and were able to get them made. Their goal was to sell the bracelets and then give the money to people in-need in Jeju. Over the following six months, the students worked hard to sell as many bracelets as they could and ultimately ended up raising 1,000,000krw! Once they had sold these bracelets, though, they were unsure of where to turn. Through word of mouth, they heard about Jeju Furey and came to us seeking advice on how to get this money to families in need. Since Furey was in the works of finding a new family in the Hamdeok area, we offered the opportunity to join us when we visited the new family and they could deliver the money they raised to a family very much in need.
On the way to the family, it became clear that the students had lifestyles that were very separated from what they were about to get engaged in. With most of them being seniors, they were preparing for college and many had not had exposure to, or even heard about, the difficulties that some families faced. When they were told that the Hamdeok family’s middle son was unable to apply for college because the family could not afford the application fees, the students were shocked, but the world they were hearing about was so far separated that it didn’t truly sink in what they were about to do.
After the Hamdeok mother learned the news that Jeju Furey had made their decision to support them, she was told that these students also had something to tell her. One of the boys described the fundraising that the students had done with the bracelets and said that they wanted to give her the money that was raised. It was then that the mother’s walls came crashing down. The tears poured as she stood there in disbelief. After giving her the money the students had raised as well as some household gifts from Jeju Furey, the mother could not control her emotions. Saying endless “thank yous” and even running into the house to try to find something to offer us in gratitude – some chocolate cookies. The mother then expressed how grateful she was and in turn hugged and thanked each of the Furey team members and students.
For acting-president Mary Summers it was quite the experience. “I’ve been moved by every family visit I’ve done, but nothing like this,” she said, “I didn’t know what moved me more – the mother’s reaction or the students’.” For the students it was a very eye-opening and a moving experience. One student, on the walk back, said, “My heart is so warm.” In addition to the special interaction between the mother and the students, Mary also watched the special moment between the mother and Furey team member Niina Sakaki. Niina, who had been studying at Jeju National University, will leave Jeju on Saturday, February 22nd (two days later) to return to Japan. Since her arrival on Jeju she has been active in Jeju Furey events and the fact that she got to have this as one of her last Jeju and Jeju Furey experiences was very touching to see.
Therefore, it is with a special sort of joy and happiness that we introduce this Hamdeok family as our newest beneficiaries. As with Furey’s current beneficiary family in Iho (이호) and No’hyeong (노형), our mission is to help this Hamdeok (함덕) family out of poverty and to a reasonable standard of living.
That said, it is Furey policy to allow the beneficiary to choose how best to use the funds raised for them, and as the grandmother at Iho has shown, things can be done very well without our interference. So we ask the Furey community, both in Korea and abroad, to welcome the Hamdeok family into your thoughts and prayers.
We now want everyone to join in a round of applause for all our participants, volunteers, sponsors, and spectators whose contributions made this addition to the organization possible. We hope you that you will continue to support our events and encourage others to do the same, be it as a player, volunteer, or spectator. That support is the best way to help all of the Furey beneficiaries. We realize, however, that it is our role to make those events worthwhile participating in, and we continue to strive to improve each and every one of them; making it easier for everyone to have good times for a great cause.