Last November, one of our volunteer tutors made a big mistake: She suggested a way she could help the Teach North Korean Refugees project have smoother English Matching sessions.

It wasn’t long before Suzanne Atwill Stewart had become such an important part of TNKR that we couldn’t remember what it was like before she joined us.

Ah, but what was going to be her title? We initially disagreed–she was happy to be our secretary, I wanted to name her “Special Assistant.”

Well, a few days ago, she got upgraded: Operations Manager. That accurately describes what she does with TNKR. I am a generous guy, so I doubled her pay. Let’s see, what is 0 x 2? When that didn’t seem to be enough, I instead tripled her pay. Yes, 0 x 3.

She is a volunteer Operations Manager, but she takes it so seriously. She stopped by my office today with her long to-do-list of items, and did her best to give me some assignments (HA!). She actually tracks what I say, reminds me of it, then follows up like a gentle stalker.

And… she has made it clear to me that I must set aside time each week to meet with her, to discuss my many ideas, so that she and Eunkoo (co-director) can turn those ideas into reality–in an organized way…

The other TNKR internal change: Cherie Yang joined TNKR recently, but she has already had a great impact. First was our mini-speaking tour in the USA as her introduction to public speaking. She took on the challenge with very little prep. In just five weeks, she has given her first seven speeches in English.

She is one of the members of TNKR, I think she has five or six coaches and tutors that she meets and talks with weekly. She is really focused on studying, learning, enjoys being corrected and learning new things.

But the other thing that she has done: She recruits other North Korean refugees to our project and praises our project without us having to ask her.

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