This holiday season, I had an opportunity to party with some community organizations that share the immigrant backgrounds. The Korean Multicultural Family Association (KMFA) party is usually within a close circle of friends but this year they welcomed a few new friends from WIN.
The KMFA is a group of first-generation Korean women who immigrated to America and come from many backgrounds. They are barbers, caregivers, restaurant owners, bank tellers, and homemakers. Whatever their occupation may be, they have the intention of helping out and contributing. Living the firsthand multicultural home life, they share their experiences with the next generation.
For the last two years, they have worked with Jeollabuk-do province in South Korea on an exchange program. Children from Korea with non-Korean-born mothers are hosted with American families in Washington State for a few weeks and experience life in America. While they visit, they attend school, visit local companies like Boeing, Microsoft, and Amazon, and do other fun activities like shopping. Simultaneously, children from Washington State visit Jeollabuk-do province to experience life in Korea for a couple of weeks.
As we start the party, the master of ceremony (MC) for the evening asked us to stand up, salute the flag, and sing the national anthem in less than perfect English. She may have been nervous about her pronunciation in front of the guests who spoke English without an accent, but the party went on and the WIN members were delighted with the unfamiliar celebration. Some lucky raffle winners went home with jars of glasswort powder which was donated by the grateful grandmother of a child who recently visited Korea, who had come home with a whole new positive attitude.
Another party that I attended was hosted by the Korean Women Realtors Association (KWRA). KWRA has been helping one another and their clients for 26 years. They too reach out to the community and award scholarships to students every year. As we were seated, the MC skillfully introduced nearly a hundred guests without notes or prompting. Needless to say, I was at total amazement. Party went on with festivity and some very happy students.
The party nights were full of appreciation, laughs, applause, good food, good music, good company, and of course, lots of pictures. No Korean parties go without taking pictures. On my way home, I realized how we are all intertwined. Groups like the KMFA and the KWRA are both examples of groups helping and serving one another and their community from wherever they are. People all over the state, contribute to making the lives of others better in small and large ways. We are woven together, and the resulting fabric is Washington.
- Kim Sauer, WIN Secretary