Jenny Kim Lab: Philanthropy

Jenny Kim Laboratory: Camp Wonder at UCLA

Camp Wonder is a summer camp for children aged 7 to 16 years old who have serious and fatal skin diseases. Our camp offers children with skin disease a week free from stares and hurtful comments.

Camp Wonder is a great place for children to bond with others who share similar hardships. It’s also a great place to simply have fun. We offer children the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of activities:

  • Swimming
  • Boating
  • Arts and crafts
  • Games
  • Archery
  • Fishing
  • Ropes course
  • Nature walks
  • Sports and recreation
  • Silly Olympics
  • Theater

Camp Wonder is the only camp in the western United States for children with serious skin disease. Physicians, nurses and medical students volunteer their time to interact directly with the children. These healthcare professionals play, share meals and provide medical care to our campers. The campers love the interaction while the medical volunteers gain valuable insights into their diseases and lives.

Dr. Jenny Kim co-founded the camp in 2001. Every summer, she returns to oversee the medical care of 80 children at Camp Wonder and a team of 40 doctors, residents, nurses and medical students.

For more information about Camp Wonder, please contact us at www.csdf.org, [email protected] or 925-947-3825.

Dr. George Agak: Kenyan School

Besides research, Dr. George Agak has had an incredible opportunity to be involved in philanthropy activities in the Gem constituency of the Siaya district in Kenya. The philanthropy project helps orphaned children access both primary and high school education as a critical step in the eradication of poverty and illiteracy.

The seeds for Dr. Agak's work were sown years ago when his family bought and donated land for the construction of a primary school. Named Bar Kayieye (pronounced bar ky-yay-yay) Primary School in Siaya, Kenya, it is the only primary school within 4 square miles. For many of the children, Bar Kayieye is their only schooling. Those with qualifying grades can go onto high school, a possible way out of poverty.

The government pays the teachers’ salaries. But, everything else—equipment, building maintenance, paper, pencils, books—must be supported by the very limited resources of the village.

Below are Dr. Agak's personal stories about two of the 32 students he is currently supporting through the George Agak Foundation: Josephine and Richard.

Josephine is the seventh of 9 children in an extremely poor family. Her father is in poor health, and her mother died three years ago. The family's only support is from a small peasant farm where they live in barren grass-thatched huts. Josephine has to share the care of her younger sister and her epileptic brother. Yet, hope against hope, she dreams of becoming a nurse. But, high school tuition fee is an insurmountable hurdle: $195 per year. Her family has scraped together only $19, and Josephine cannot continue to pursue her dream.

Richard is being raised by his grandparents, peasant farmers who are unable to produce enough food to last until the next harvest. Often they have to depend on food from relief agencies. Richard is the first in his family to go beyond primary school, the first with the potential to break out of poverty. A serious student, Richard wants to become a doctor. But, high school fees stand in his way too. Despite all the family's efforts, Richard has only $13 toward his first year of secondary school.

These two lives have great potential, two lives among many that my foundation assists. Two dreams that will never see the light of day without support for secondary school. Two lives who want to help meet the desperate needs they see for medical help: Kenya has only one doctor for every 80,000 people.

With such great need in the United States, you might ask, “why Africa? And why specifically Siaya, Kenya?” Because I have a connection there: I trace my family roots to this part of Kenya.

It is my hope that these children will eventually graduate from not only high school, but also universities. I hope that they can return to their home villages and take a leadership role in the eradication of poverty and the training of others.

Please contact me if you are willing to join in each year for philanthropy activities in or to Africa.
Best wishes!
George Agak, Ph.D.

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” Rabindranath Tagore