Members of the local Korean community and Fairfax County government officials came together for a gala celebration Nov. 8 at the Fairfax County Government Center to kick off a fundraising effort for a Korean Community Center.
The Korean Community Center Organizing Committee (KCCOC) sees the center as a place for people of all ages and backgrounds to take part in educational, cultural, and recreational activities.
|Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova speaks at the Korean Center fundraising gala.|
The KCCOC’s top priority is finding a suitable site for the center – preferably along the corridor between the county’s two centers of Korean life and commercial activity – Annandale and Centreville. The group is exploring various options, including buying land, purchasing an existing building and renovating it, and leasing county-owned property.
The KCCOC has agreed on a vision – to provide “services and opportunities that allow Koreans and non-Koreans to develop as healthy, sufficient, and engaged community members” – along with a mission statement, a set of principles, and bylaws. The group’s fundraising goal is $5 million.
Members of the Korean community have been working on developing a center for years. The effort is now re-energized and back on track after stalling due to discord among some of the original organizers.
Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova, who describes her role as a convener in facilitating the group’s efforts, told the gathering, “the center will provide a home for services and activities for the Korean community and will also be “a beautiful, warm, and welcoming place.”
Both Fairfax County supervisors Pat Herrity (Springfield) and John Cook (Braddock) said they would help the KCCOC find a location in their district. “This dream will happen,” Cook said.
The group is looking at the Annandale-based Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia as a model, and officials from the JCCNV have been serving as mentors for the KCCOC.
Grace Han Wolf, a member of the Herndon Town Council, said the Korean community needs a place “to improve the collective capacity of our community to address our own concerns.” The center will be a place to “celebrate our culture” and provide needed services, such as English language lessons, she said. “It’s about quality of life.”