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2020: TNKR's Year of Mentoring

South Korean dictator Park Chung-hee was fond of slogans to whip up enthusiasm among workers, businessmen and bureaucrats, according to Mark Clifford in the book Troubled Tiger.

1966 was the "Year of Hard Work."
1967: "The Year of Progress."
1968: "Fight While Working, Work While Fighting."

Somehow, all of those slogans fit TNKR quite well!

2020, it will be "TNKR's Year of Mentoring."

Yesterday we met with TNKR students--to discuss their future plans, to talk about employment prospects, and to do research in preparation for TNKR's Track 3 "Employment and Education Opportunities Project."

Recently as I have been able to get away from micromanaging TNKR, more refugees have been asking me if I could mentor them. When I was so deeply involved with micromanaging TNKR to improve our internal capacity, I didn't have time to focus on mentoring.

A few things happened:

* Our academic team got stronger, especially with Academic Coordinator Janice Kim and Dan Cashmar taking up more responsibilities.
* I have been having South Koreans adopt me as a mentor.
* Yes, more NK refugees asking me if I could mentor them.

It isn't enough to do one-offs, we need to have an organized and structured approach. I have seen many mentoring programs fall apart and many individual ones disintegrate into hanging out. Earlier this year I mentioned to TNKR co-founder Eunkoo Lee that I need to start having office hours for North Korean refugees who want to meet and talk with him, and eventually develop a proper mentoring process.

I want this to lead to good professional results for students in TNKR.

This student is planning on joining our Track 3 programming getting prepared for work. She recently also went through a job skills workshop by a Korean organization, so we were also able to discuss that.

Ken has been with TNKR since early 2015, he recently graduated from Korea University with a master's degree in public administration. He spent a few hours at the office yesterday doing some research for Track 3.

This TNKR student stopped by to get advice for an application she is applying for soon.

Sharon first joined TNKR in mid-2015. It is always great to see her. She should have more free time to participate in TNKR this year. She was also the second or third North Korean refugee to work as a staffer in our office.

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