When I joined the Ministry of Safety & Interior as a Content Strategist last summer, this was not the first time I became the only high school student in a room full of decision-makers. This was, however, the first time that I would be supporting the efforts of a particular government program in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Korean government had begin what is loosely translated as the "Fail Expo" program, which is an annual exhibition meant to offer emotional support, professional consulting, community and other resources to the general public.
Small business owners especially benefit from the program. Given the hit that small businesses faced in light of the pandemic, this would be an especially important group to target. As Content Creator and Content Strategist, I tasked with collecting the stories of people who had been impacted by the current economic environment, as well as former Fail Expo attendees who had benefitted from the program's support.
My passion for public service and government support up to this point had me focused on public policy and the intricacies of diplomacy. While those elements are important, policy is about people at the end of this day. Sharing the stories of middle class business owners through publications on the government's digital platform taught me that the best way to measure impact is through the positive change expressed in one's story.
By collaborating with the government and other citizen advisors to brainstorm feasible solutions for businesses, I also got to experience the impact made possible when people come together with the government to make change. Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, I am confident that the upcoming Fail Expo in December 2021 will be the most impactful exhibition yet.
Benny Hwang is a senior at Korea International School, Jeju Campus, with a passion for policy and people. He intends to attend university in the United States, where he will major in international relations and public policy.