Youth Pastors and Leaders

Conference Mission Statement

Korean American youth are at risk for psychological and emotional difficulties more than ever before. The rates of suicide is increasing, and depression, anxiety, perfectionism, low body image, low self esteem, substance abuse, and identity confusion add to the crisis. High parental expectations and the perpetuation of the Model Minority Myth prevent Korean American youth from seeking professional help, and the cultural stigma of shame and guilt attached to emotional issues push them to suffer in silence and isolation.

Studies show that the cultural gap between immigrant parents and their Americanized children increases the risk of suicide by 30 fold, but Korean families do not have the tools to combat or understand the intergenerational conflicts they face. Instead of seeking professional help, many Korean Americans first turn to youth pastors or small group leaders in their churches as a means of finding support and understanding, but often times, clergy or other church leaders are at a loss for what to do or say. They are not equipped in handling the crises that are brought to their attention.

As such, MSG's 5th conference aims to empower, educate, and equip college students and youth pastors/ leaders who serve the Korean American youth in their churches. The desired outcome is that the attendees will leave with the knowledge base to: 1. understand the differences between Korean and American cultures, thereby being able to act as cultural brokers between the Korean American youth and their immigrant parents; 2. act as a supportive liaison between the Korean American families and the systems of care that exist in the form of counseling and psychiatric services; 3. detect and recognize the symptoms of various emotional difficulties; and 4. facilitate the initial deescalation of emotional stress. Above all, MSG hopes to empower them with concrete counseling skills and techniques that they can use to become an effective and supportive source of initial help for the youths they serve.

Josephine Kim, Ph.D., LMHC, NCC
Founding Executive Director of MSG, Inc.

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