Jailynne Garcia loves the South Korean pop group BTS. She’s 10 years old. Her mom introduced her to the group. “I like how funny they are, that they’re good dancers and singers. And that they help people,” Jailynne told TIME for Kids.
BTS debuted in 2013. There are seven members. They are J-Hope, Jimin, Jin, Jung Kook, RM, Suga, and V. Their songs are mostly in Korean. But they are international superstars. Their YouTube videos have gotten more than 3 billion views. They had three Number 1 albums on the Billboard chart in a year. And TIME included BTS on its list of the 100 most influential people in 2019. Their next album comes out in February.
ROCKING EVE BTS performs live in New York City’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve 2019.
Fans like Jailynne are proud members of the BTS ARMY. (ARMY stands for Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth.) BTS are glad their fans feel connected to them. “That was our goal, to create this empathy that people can relate to,” Suga told TIME in 2018.
The Band Gives Back
FOR YOUTH BTS appear with UNICEF’s Lilly Singh (center left) and Henrietta H. Fore.
In March 2019, the Korea Times reported that Suga donated $88,000 to the Korea Pediatric Cancer Foundation. RM gave away more than $83,000 six months later. That went to the Seoul Samsung School. The money helped students with hearing impairment. BTS are also working with Formula E electric cars this year to raise awareness about climate change. The band wants its fans to embrace clean energy.
One of the biggest BTS campaigns so far is with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The campaign is called Love Myself. Its goal is to protect children and teens from violence. “Our fans have become a major part of this campaign with their action and enthusiasm,” RM said.
He gave a speech at the United Nations in 2018. “We truly have the best fans in the world.” Love Myself raised $2.3 million. The money came from album and merchandise sales. Plus there were donations from BTS, its record label, and the BTS ARMY.
BIG SPEECH BTS member RM gives a speech at the United Nations, in New York, on September 24, 2018.
Pay It Forward
Jailynne and her mom are inspired by BTS. They joined the BTS fan group one in an ARMY (OIAA). It leads projects to help people in need. OIAA started in 2018. “Some of us thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing if we focused all that power to do good things in the world?’” Erika Overton says. She is an OIAA volunteer.
The group has run about 20 charitable campaigns since it began. OIAA has raised money for refugees, the environment, and more. Most people donate just a dollar. That way, “everyone can feel like they are contributing toward the goal,” Overton says.
Jailynne hopes the BTS ARMY will grow and continue to do good deeds. “The more people like me that are doing this, the more happiness it brings to others. And a bigger change there is in the world,” she says.
COURTESY GREEN NAMU PROJECT AND BTS FOR CHARITY
One way the BTS ARMY gives back is by planting trees. Some fans donate to one Tree Planted. This group plants trees around the world. The BTS ARMY has raised more than $28,000 for one Tree Planted.
In Malaysia, the fan group BTS for Charity (above) formed the Green Namu Project. The group met in November. They planted trees to celebrate the birthdays of three BTS members.
SARA JAYE WEISS—SHUTTERSTOCK