Daniel Won first joined the Inheritance of Hope team as a technology intern in the summer of 2020. Within days, staffers were asking, “Can we keep him?” Daniel’s internship was extended beyond the summer, and he coded a can-do spirit and cheerful attitude into every project he touched.
After graduating from Rutgers University in May 2021 with a degree in Information Technology and Informatics, Daniel accepted a full-time position with Inheritance of Hope (IoH) as our Technology Coordinator.
Originally from Seoul, Korea, Daniel emigrated with his parents when he was 14. It will surprise those who know him at IoH that part of the reason for the family’s move was to find a better educational environment for Daniel, “I was just a kid who didn’t like to study and didn’t care about my homework. The Korean educational system was not a good fit for me,” he says.
Upon arriving in the United States, the family settled in Queens, New York, and Daniel quickly made friends by playing pick-up basketball games at local parks. Benefitting from a diverse neighborhood, Daniel was forced to speak English as it was the only common language among the kids he was meeting, “Little by little, I got better and better at English,” he remembers. Daniel also watched The Simpsons to gain an ear for the fast-paced speech patterns he heard with friends. His education was augmented by many episodes of Friends, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Office, and Parks and Recreation, noting that is how he picked up vocab, jokes, cultural references, and, of course, sarcasm.
Daniel attended three different schools between his move to the U.S. and his graduation from high school, but one constant was his willingness to put himself out there, be friendly, and meet new people. He frequently helped classmates with their math homework and met more folks by playing volleyball.
On staff, Daniel is known as a hard worker who responds to all requests any time of day. He is available for troubleshooting and also staff training, but his specialty is programming. Together with Technology Lead Dillon Padgett, Daniel created our current website. IoH families see his work directly when they fill out application forms, “We want our resources to be easily reachable. When I see that families are filling out the forms I created, it feels amazing,” he says. “I get notifications whenever someone fills them out, and I’m always glad to see it is working and reaching people who need IoH.”
If it seems like Daniel never stops, that’s because he doesn’t. He recently passed the 100-question test to become a U.S. citizen and still finds time to explore new technologies. He explains, “New technology is invented every day. Even though I’m tech savvy, I need to learn new technologies too. That’s how I keep up with the pace of innovation. I keep learning. I try to find things I can apply to the IoH mission. I want to be a tool IoH can use. There are always new devices, new programs and new platforms.” He wonders, “How many do I have to know?”
Not only does he help further the IoH mission through his work, but Daniel also sees firsthand how we are accomplishing our goals, “Everyone here really did accept me as family. I like the environment, and that everyone is separated over the globe but we are like one family here. Very close, or very far, we are family.”
Daniel sees himself as one of the bridges between IoH and our families, “I am glad that through a website, I can help families and IoH connect with each other.”