In 1979, Dr. Jae Suh Lee, current President of The Wheat Mission Worldwide, founded the Korea Wheat Mission organization. This organization was established in order to educate the communities, and the society of current issues for people with disabilities. In March of 1995, the America Wheat Mission in the United States and the Wheat Mission branch in Korea collaborated with a vision to make a difference in Korean-American communities. Currently, the main head quarters are established in over 60 countries worldwide including the Uniter States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Netherlands, England, and Russia. The current president of the Wheat Mission in New Jersey is Rev. Won Ho Kang appointed on January 1, 2000. Total of 120 members are involved in our local branch in New Jersey, including 60 members with various special needs.
America Wheat Mission has been adhering to its two main objectives; serving to improve their difficult living conditions(service), and education public about disabilities(enlightenment). Wheat Mission started its mission actively serving 2 millions of people with disabilities in Korea, and currently expanding its dedicated service to more than 0.5 billion of people with disabilities in the world.
MAIN PROGRAMS and POPULATION
We have three main programs; Tuesdays Meeting for adults with special needs, Class Agape for Children with special needs(expanded to three classes in Bergen County, Middlesex County, and Morris County), and After School Program for children with special needs(see Fig. 1).
1. Tuesday Meeting
We are currently serving 43 adults with special needs registered to our organization (5 new adults). One third of adults with special needs are categorized as physical disability and 17% of our participants are diagnosed with mental disorders. (see Fig. 2).
The program of Tuesdays Metting consists of sign language class, handbell, singing, and making balloons.
Tue. 7:30 pm-9:30 pm / 147 Tenafly Rd. Englewood, NJ 07631
2. Class Agape
We are currently serving 38(6 new children) with various disabilities; 55% of people with autism, 21% of people with intellectual disability, 8% of people with down syndrome, 8% of people with cerebral palsy, 4% of people with multiple disabilities, and 4% of person with visual impairment. The age of our students ranges from 5 year old to 21 year old before graduating from their specialized high school (see Fig. 3).
The program of Class Agape consists of reading, arts & craft, music & movement, adaptive physical education, field trips, games and summer camp 12 teachers and about 67 volunteers are involved in the Class Agape.
Most parents with children with special needs have limited programs available for their children with reasonable expenses. In addition, special education system in New Jersey seems to frustrate many of Korean-American parents. Sometimes, they have to wait for more than one year to be assignes to special classes in their community. In the mist of struggle with wheir children and school administrations, our program plays the significant role to give parents much needed time after a long week. We have been providing various activities that help the students to improve their cognitive, social, and independent living skills and help them become members of their communities.
(N. NJ) Sat. 11 am-4 pm / 147 Tenafly Rd. Englewood, NJ 07631
(S. NJ) Sat. 12:30 pm-4:30 pm / 356 Changebridge Rd. Pinebrook, NJ 07058
(C. NJ) Sat. 3 pm-6 pm / 572 Ryders Ln. East Brunswick, NJ 08816
3. After School Program for children with special needs
Since the purchase of America Wheat Mission Agape House in 2006, our afterschool program has been our great challenge. We started the program to help parents of students who are having difficult time to taking care of their children due to their busy work schedule, not only that we are focusing on providing efficient and effective education to our student along with various opportunities.
We are currently serving 9 children are attending this year (3 new children). About 45 volunteers(10 volunteers help each day) and 4 teachers help this program.
We provide various activities including music, art, sports, cooking and other physical and mental activities which allow students with disabilities to interact with volunteers and teachers without disability. Students’ involvement in our After School allows many ways of improving both mental and physical level. We also provide realistic help to parents of our students both financially and with their life conditions by taking care of their children until parents are able to pick them up after their work. This allows parents to have time to work and relax. This program gives opportunities to volunteering students to learn to serve others who are in need and provide advancement in their leadership skill as well as enhancement in their characteristics.
Mon-Fri. 3:30 pm – 6 pm / 1225 River Rd. Teaneck, NJ 07666
1. Welfare Services
Although the most of social welfare service is provided by the community service centers or the local board of education, there are many cultural discrepancies to take a full advantage due to communication barriers and cultural obstacles. Therefore, we provide interpretation service for school appointment and medical centers. And we offer free medical examinations and dental services for those who cannot afford to pay the medical expenses through volunteer physicians. In addition, our long-time devoted volunteers of specialist and professionals provide hair cutting service, and computer education for people with disabilities.
2. Small Group Meeting
Most of adults with special needs spend their time lonely at home, therefore, once a week or a month we take them to a restaurant or other places to share our time together.
3. Volunteer Awards
The achievement that we made this year cannot be done without the consistent commitment of volunteers. 35 volunteers from high school were accepted to Class Agape this year after two days of training and the formal agreement contract. We set a higher standard for all volunteers such as 6 month minimum commitment, only allowing 3 absences with prior notice. High criteria build up their characters of commitment to their communities and responsibility of their task. And we certify their volunteering hours and may endorse all of legal documents that they request.
YEAR’S SPECIAL EVENT
1. Milal’s Night
2. Agape Festival
3. Swimming Class
4. Apple Picking
5. Holloween Party
6. Spring/Fall Picnic
7. Thanksgiving Dinner
8. Agape Camp
We are expecting many more volunteers to participate in our program. Not only financially, we need volunteers who can share their time with people with special needs. We also need ride providers, a person who can charge of food, materials, and various other aid providers. We are asking for continous support and attention to our programs.
If you are interested in supporting our program,
please contact us at 201-530-0355
For a donation, make your check payable to AWM and mail to
1225 River Rd. Teaneck, NJ 07666