Formerly known as "Cruzers in Korea"

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My command has two orphanages that we do volunteer work with - the Miewon Orphanage and the Sung Ae Won Orphanage.  Visiting these kids is one of my absolute favorite things to do in Korea.

MSCO Korea has had a relationship with the Miewon Orphanage since 1954, when the command sponsored the very first Christmas Party for the orphans.  Miewon really is a success story.  Over the years, MSCO Korea has built bedding facilities, a library and even brought indoor plumbing to the orphanage.  We do fundraisers throughout the year to pay for food, clothing, toys and heating oil for these needy children.  We also sponsor a couple of big events every year for them like the Christmas Party, a summer outing and other events.  With our help and help from other sponsors and the government, Miewon is doing pretty well these days.  It really is a nice success story.  Here are some old pictures of the kids at Miewon Orphanage:

I love this picture.

This was during a tour of one of the MSC ships.

Unlike me, these kids weren't afraid of the mustache one bit.

Another ship tour

This is the library that MSCO Korea helped build and fund.

And now more recent pictures.  This was from the 2008 summer camp up in the mountains.  That's CJ hanging out with the kids.  I think this was CJ's second day in Korea.

The kids don't get to have soda too often.  They loved the Dew!

The different orphanages are run by different rules.  Miewon is the type of orphanage where the kids are not adopted.  Miewon has infants through 18 year olds.  They stay here until they are adults basically.  It gives new meaning to the phrase, "one big happy family."  I think the kids take pretty good care of each other, as do all the assistants and caretakers.

That's me presenting a check to the Director of the orphanage.  This money paid for the heating oil during the cold winter months.  The gentleman in the middle is Walt Christiansen, the Director of the United Seamen's Service Center in Busan.  Several years back, Walt and his wife Sue adopted two Korean girls of their own.  The girls are now adults residing in the US.  MSCO Korea and USS work together in their support of Miewon.

Miewon Summer Outing 2008

Future gymnast

So here are pictures of the Sung Ae Won orphanage.  Sung Ae Won is home to newborns and kids all the way up to 5 years old.  When the kids get to school age, they have to go to another orphanage.  Unlike Miewon, you can adopt kids from Sung Ae Won.  This is during the exercise Key Resolve.  MSCO Korea, along with our Navy Reservists and crewmembers of the USNS POMEROY visited the orphanage.  We put on a nice pizza party for the kids.  It was a lot of fun.  The Captain of the POMEROY even brought ship ballcaps for each of the kids.

The older couple in the background are the Directors of Sung Ae Won.  They are a very warm couple with big hearts.  You can tell that they really love the children.  They made sure to tell us to give the kids a lot of love and physical contact.  They told our group something that I thought was very nice:  FAMILY stands for Father And Mother - I Love You.

That's Xavier, our Operations Officer.  Most of the volunteers are women so the Director of  Sung Ae Won was happy to see so many male role models for the kids to spend time with.  Can't think of a better role model than X.  He is the man.

Here's the half Russian, half Korean girl that steals my heart every time I see her.

She loves playing with stickers, to include putting them on your face.

Having fun!

With both orphanages, what started out as a small endeavor evolved into a very significant volunteering effort.  Miewon now has several sponsors and volunteers that keep it up and running.  Sung Ae Won started with a small group from the Busan International Women's Association (BIWA).  Carol is a member of BIWA so that's how I got connected with Sung Ae Won.  I expanded it out to MSCO Korea, our Reservists, other commands at Pier 8 and even the Army folks in Daegu.  We also have groups from our church going regularly.  It's great to see so many more folks involved.

So why am I posting about these orphanages?  Well, if you get the opportunity to visit and just spend a little bit of time with these kids or kids at your local orphanage, I think that would be a great thing.  Maybe get involved in a program like Big Brothers or Big Sisters.  I think there are a bunch of people out there that have huge hearts for volunteering - they just don't know it yet.  Stop making excuses and get out there!  Until next time -- C2


Em and the Fam

Chris and I want to adopt a girl from Asia. Orginally, China. But the more we have checked into it, the door seems to be closing for us. S Korea has become the new country of interest for us. Can't explain it. We just have a heart for these little ones. Seeing your pictures makes me want to fly there right now and bring home some little ones to love forever! What's the chance any of the agencies you are connected to would actually adopt to Americans?

The Cruzers

Em - that's fantastic! Carol and I will definitely share with you what we know about the process. It's complicated, long and challenging but I'm sure well worth it. Chris


Hi, I came across your blog while looking for orphanages to visit in Busan. Do you have any contact info? I'm looking to volunteer my time about once a week and would love any info on either of these orphanages!

The Cruzers

Hey Maddie,
I sent you an email w/ contact info. So glad you're interested in volunteering. Looking forward to hearing from you. Chris


The comment about "FAMILY-Father and Mother I love you" made me tear up. I have two friends who were adopted from an orphanage in Busan and grew up in loving families in the USA. I would like to share the information regarding your orphanage work with them as they are both living and teaching English here in Korea now.
Could you send me some contact information for the orphanage? Thank you.

The Cruzers


Your comments made my day! I will send you an email with some information on the orphanage. What a great story about your friends. Chris


I was wondering if you could send me some information on how to get involved with volunteering at either orphange.
Caitlin O'Neill


Hi, I am a new resident in Busan; Canadian Elementar School Teacher on a leave to teach ESL for 1 year. I am very keen to give back to this community through volunteer work, and would be greatly appreciative of any information you would be willing to pass along. Thank you kindly!

The Cruzers

To Rob from Canada,
Thank you so much for your interest. I'll send you some information at your email address.


I am an ESL teacher trying to organize a groupto volunteer at an orphanage in or near Busan. Do you have any information?

Thank you!




I also came across your blog through a google search and I have been trying to find some information on the orphanages here is Busan. Could you please send along the info to me as well. Thanks a lot!

The Cruzers

Kendra, Becca,

A quick update for you. Sounds like Sung Ae Won is ready for more volunteers. They were hesitant because of H1N1 but are now allowing visitors again.


The Cruzers

Hello carol50209,

I sent you an email w/ more info. Hope it helps. Thank you so much for your interest in the orphanage.




I've been looking into volunteering at orphanages in Busan, and I came across you blog. Do you have contact information? I came to Busan to teach English, and want a meaningful activity to fill up my time on the weekends.

My e-mail is

Thank-you so much!


The Cruzers

Thanks for the interest in the orphanage. I sent you an email on your hotmail account. Let me know if you have any other questions.



Hi all,
I am also looking to volunteer some time at an orphanage in Busan.
Anyone with contact information or any information at all is greatly appreciated.

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Cruzers

Hello Leah,
I sent you some info on Sung Ae Won via email. Thanks for your interest and looking at the blog.


Hey there, just as some of your other readers here, I came across your blog searching for some organizations that do regular work with the orphanages here. I have been to a couple on my own just once in a while or with a couple friends, but would like to me more involved than just a visit every once in a while. I am having a hard time finding info and was wondering if you can send me some.



I found your blog through one of your Facebook events being hosted in Busan (a toga party!). I've been looking for an orphanage to volunteer while teaching English here in Busan.

Will you kindly send me more information on how I can get involved as soon as possible?

Thank you.


I'm the millionth person to ask about volunteer opportunities, but I am also looking to volunteer! Can you send me some info as well, if possible? I would appreciate it.


The Cruzers

Sharon, sorry for the slow response. I'll send you something at your gmail account. Chris


Hello. I would love to volunteer as well! Any information would be helpful. Thanks for your time. -Anne


If the lady a couple posts before me was th millionth, then im the gagillionth...jk. It just goes to show that your blog has helped a lot of people who are interested in volunteering.

I, like a couple others here am in Busan and am interested in volunteering with orphans. I had worked before doing art therapy in Cambodia with kids affected by AIDS. It was a great experience. I don't know what all I can do to help out though, I had another assistant who was more versed in art than I. Also, because I speak only English I was wondering if I will have any difficulties communicating with the directors.

Thank you so much,
Please email me any info at

Heather G

Hi, I also came across your blog when I was looking for volunteer opportunities at orphanages in Busan. I am teaching ESL in Busan right now and was hoping to volunteer on the weekends as regularly as possible. Could you send me the contact info & locations of the orphanages? Thanks so much.

a rolling stone

Hi, this is a wonderful blog. I'm actually living at and volunteering at a orphanage in Bangkok and the executive director is speaking at a conference in Busan and wanted to visit an orphanage. If you could send me any contact information for The Sung Ae Won orphanage or Miewon Orphanage that would be great. Thanks!

The Cruzers

Rolling Stone, my apologies for the slow response. I sent you an email with more information on the Sung Ae Won Orphanage. Really appreciate your interest. Thanks for looking. Chris


Hi, I know a lot of people may have already asked you but is it possible for you to send me some of the contact information for the orphanages that I can volunteer at during the weekends. I'm teaching english in Busan right now and like close to Yeonsan-dong station. I would love it if you can send me information about orphanages close to their or the closest ones in that area.

The Cruzers

Mannersvoyage - I sent you an email with contact information. Thanks for your interest! Chris

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