Walking Your Talk…!

“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.”                              By Bobby Unser

Just within days, the Costa Rican guests will be arriving in the US and then to the Emory & Henry College campus. The results of many months planning and various people working together will soon be evident to us all.

The recent photo below is one that speaks volumes about the continuous efforts of the “Friends of Copey” as useful and meaningful partners with the Copey Learning Center.

CLC EH team

Angela, Fatima, Noelia, Celeste, Adriana, Ana Yancy

This is one of the best photos I have received from the Copey Learning Center. Shown are the past and current Executive Directors. Also shows the past students (Noelia and Celeste) who visited E&H College last summer and the current students (Fatima and Adriana) heading our way.

The community of Copey can proclaim that in a short 12 month period, four of their brightest and best students have visited the US and our college.

 

The Pathway Project Fundraising Results

There is so much praise and “thank yous” to pass around. I am overwhelmed by the

Good News

generosity and interest so many of you have for this project. As of today, we can proclaim victory and success having exceeded the fundraising goal by several hundred dollars. My previous report indicated the campaign was officially closed with several hundred dollars “below” our goal. But, I also indicated there were funds still forthcoming and they have been received.

Just Outstanding!

My desired goal was to have the Pathway Project 100% funded by my E&H College friends and affiliated members of the college.

Progress Tracking Report

The total amount ($3,065.00) raised includes some donations from donor “Friends” who did not receive my request since they were not in the E&H category. However, E&H friends and affiliates did donate enough to meet and exceed the goal of $2,700.00.

Now, two years running, let it be clear that the “Pathway Project” involving our college has been successfully funded by friends and affiliates of the college. And, if some of you still want to join in with a donation, Thank you and..send the donation in.

We are covering basic travel expenses and also want the experience to be as memorable as possible. For example, once they arrive in DC, they will spend time looking at the sites and will attend the Kennedy Center to watch the NYC Ballet performance. Then while traveling down Interstate 81, they will visit the Natural Bridge. If there are funds unspent at the conclusion of this project, these funds roll over to next year. You can pay forward as well.

As a reminder, the funding for this effort is supported in three parts. The community of Copey, parents, and friends all contribute in various way to cover the cost for the preparations and readiness needed for the students to travel to the US. The college support includes hosting and providing a wide variety of experiences for all of our guests while on or near campus. This includes finding support to cover tuition for the Young Scholars course both Fatima and Adriana will attend with other students. And, “Friends of Copey” is responsible for travel costs for all four guests as they depart Costa Rica and return to Costa Rica. There is a real joy in our ability to “Walk the Talk!”

Welcome Party

There is planned an official greeting and reception for our guests shortly after their Celebration balloons.arrival. A major supporter of the “Pathway Project” and a fellow E&H Board member has invited us to join in on the reception on June 13th at his home. This is a great opportunity if you are nearby to meet in person our guests as well as others who are also “Friends of Copey”. Because of the very wide distribution of my Blog which includes both “Friends of Copey” and those just curious, send me an email requesting time and location. This will prove to be an unforgettable reception. Join In!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 Friends of Copey Accomplishments

 

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”      by Corrie ten Boom

With the Learning Center ending its 2015 season and we gear up for 2016, it is a good time to just reflect on some of the highlights and achievements we have made in partnership with the Learning Center.

Financial Support

  • Successful Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund Drive raising funds to provide tuition support for 15 plus students to attend the Learning Center in 2015.

Scholarship Recipient

  • Successful Fund Drive to raise $2500 to support the newly paid position of Executive Director for the Learning Center.
  • Provided $400 plus to support the purchase of miscellaneous school supplies and equipment for the Learning Center including a Tablet.

Non-Financial

  • Kiwanis Tri-Cities, Washington approved zzzKiwanisFriends of Copey as an authorized (recognized) project supported by Kiwanis.

 

 

Friends of Copey unveils new “Friends” banner 

zzzFriends w banner

Academic 

  • Established formal relations with Kiwanis’ K-Kids from Jefferson Elementary School, Jefferson Elementary Pen PalRichland, Washington and students attending the Learning Center. Pen Pal Program
  • Sharing a Pen Pal Program with music students attending Sugar Grove Elementary School located in Sugar Grove, Virginia with the Learning Center students.

CLC letter to Sugar Grove (2)

There are numerous other accomplishments including major milestones reached with the Blog  during the year to report and we will continue highlighting them in the next Post.

OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

Two of the many distinguished ladies in my family were recent recipients of honor and recognition. My Aunt Katherine (Goble) Johnson was one of seventeen recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded to her by President Obama last week. This is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a civilian. Aunt Katherine’s life and achievements present an incredible story. You can learn more about her story by clicking on the link below:

http://www.wvgazettemail.com/article/20151124/GZ01/151129725

Barack Obama, Katherine Johnson, Willie Mays

Aunt Katherine is the oldest of my living aunts and her life and legacy continues to shine as a beacon of inspiration and self-determination. Her life’s passport was education and it took her to places far beyond this earth. Captain Kirk move over….Aunt Katherine is on her way!

A second recognition of importance went to my sister Pat Wright. She has been accepted as a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). As a direct descendent of John “The Patriot” Broady, our 6th grandfather, Pat qualified for DAR membership. Our cousin, Gwen Huckstep, became a DAR member in 2014. Gwen resides in southwest Virginia near the area where John “The Patriot” lived and is buried.

20151121_112449

Membership approval is granted only after extensive and verifiable proof is provided that you are a direct descendent of one who participated in the American Revolutionary War. IMG_1071

John “The Patriot” was a slave and owned by Colonel Campbell, the American Revolutionary War commander who led an army of southwest Virginians in the famous Battle of Kings Mountain. John “The Patriot’s” life and relationship with the Campbell family has been of serious interest to historians for years and aspects of his life continues to be researched. If you are in or around Smyth County Virginia, you will find John “The Patriot’s” name included on the DAR monument located on the Court House lawn. To our knowledge, Pat is the only Afro-American DAR member residing in the Northwest.

Both Aunt Katherine and Pat represent the long line of Gobles and Broadys who have distinguished themselves in many areas such as education, the military, the Arts, in the church, business, and community. Personally, I have been lifted up by so many in my family. What a Blessing!

I feel honored and compelled to share these personal stories of achievements. Especially in Aunt Katherine’s case, in her early life someone took interest in her and encouraged her to enjoy learning and to set high goals. This is the essence of “Friends of Copey” as we strive to encourage learning and inspire young people to shoot for the stars.  As “Friends” You and I can make a difference!

 

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!

“He died to make men holy, Let us die to make men free;
While God is marching on.”   Battle Hymn of the Republic

Honoring the Vets

To all the veterans in my world, I thank you and share the day of remembrance for your willingness to serve our country. As is my custom, I am again highlighting four of my fallen friends who died while serving in the late 1960’s during the Viet Nam Conflict.

Michael Charles, Kenneth Delaney, Frank Campbell, and Danny Watkins were all friends and schoolmates who served well and died young. “Gone but not forgotten!” 

veteran-daysOther friends who served include Lou, Charles, Skeeter, Stevie, Carlos, David, Gene, Fred, Jim, Adam, “Duck” Montgomery, and many more. I salute each of you and continue to stand proud to be associated with these veterans.

More Students Letters

Several of you commented on last week’s letters placed in my Post. Thank you fCLC.2or recognizing the progress and the educational challenges the students face. We all seem to be in agreement that our support is helping make a difference.

I am adding a couple more letters for your reading pleasure.

Margarita is eleven years old and I have met her. She is truly a very talented young lady with a great deal of promise and potential. She is also a star performer in the Spelling Bee world.

Amy is younger and shows a lot of promise as well. She is only eight years old and her penmanship is really very good.CLC

The impact the Copey Learning Center is having on their students is remarkable and the development of an upcoming generation of English-speaking citizens will produce amazing results.

Pathway Project 2019

Being around the Emory &Henry College campus this past week was very enjoyable and rejuvenating. The number of “Friends of Copey” continues to grow among alumni and those already on board remain solidly committed to the “Pathway Project”.

Just by pure chance I met Matt as we were walking along the sidewalk across campus. We just happened to notice each other. Matt was the E&H student volunteer who spent this past Spring in Copey CLC.3with Kara. He is still so enthused about his time spent in Copey and it is wonderful to see the after-glow of excitement and his wonderful memories still living on.

On campus, the college recruiters have included Copey as part of the information used to attract new students. Kara is featured in the latest material produced.

All this points to the journey we have traveled building a strong and meaningful partnership with the college. We may be one of a very few partnerships with this type of “on the ground” relationship. This is just one more thing to be extremely proud of as “Friends”.

God Bless America!

 

 

 

 

Strong Children…Productive Adults

“Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.”                                  By Rabindranath Tagore

Surprises Show Up!

Last week I shared a message from Brian and thank you for the feedback. He is on the right track and has a very promising future.

This “Friends of Copey” business is an ongoing experience full of surprises. I am always ready for surprises and I enjoy sharing these with “Friends”.CLC Students.10 Last week I received a group of letters (unsolicited) from Copey Learning Center (CLC) students addressed to “Friends of Copey”.

These students are younger than Brian. Their messages are positive and you will appreciate the influence we are having on these students.

CLC Letters.1

Kenneth is only a 7-year-old and a recipient of the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund. Most likely, he is from a home where little or no English is spoken. At one point a few years ago, this would resemble Brian’s skill level.

A second letter is from Dayana. She is a 14-year-old demonstrating the advanced level of English proficiency she has obtained. She is also a scholarship recipient and conveys a very positive attitude and optimism about her progress and self-worth. She shows a strong command of English and her penmanship is very impressive. These are only two of about 10 letters I have received. More letters will be shared next week. CLC Letters

If you are new to “Friends of Copey”,  please consider there is not much opportunity for these students to learn English until they make it to the CLC. And, many of these young kids will not get to the CLC without the help of “Friends”. I am continuously uplifted to see this evidence of our efforts “making a difference!”

Next…Strike Up the Band!

Last week, we achieved a very major milestone in our five years working with the CLC. The Skype connection/meeting between Jefferson Elementary Students (Kiwanis K-Kids) and CLC students has been successfully accomplished after more than three years trying. Remember…“one step for man…one giant step for mankind”? (Un-PC’d) Feels very similar.

This was a system’s test to see if the connections would finally work. Only the officers of the CLC Skype CallKiwanis K-Kids at Jefferson and selected students proficient in English at CLC participated in this first test session. This photo was taken during the exchange as both ends using laptops to communicate. Notice the big smiles on the CLC students’ faces?

The future is promising as we now know we can begin seriously planning presentations on various topics of interest to both groups of students.

“History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of children” said Nelson Mandela.

 

Making Our Rent Payments…!

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”                                           By Muhammad Ali

Costa Rica Strike Update…!

I have been unsuccessful locating the most up to date news about the Costa Rican strike. The best anyone seems to know at this time is that a very large percentage of the striking workers have returned to work. However, the strike is not officially over. Still looking for clarification on the status of the strike.

The very good news is the impact of the strike has not slowed down the Copey Learning Center. As reported last week, serious education within the walls of the Copey Learning Center is taking place. Graduation is less than one month away and the students have plenty to do.

Learning Center Ambassadors

Many of you will remember Brian Rodriquez. Brian, a Copey Learning Center student Emory 22now for several years, is one of the two “Pathway Project” students who came to America last June. He also represents the first male student among the six “Pathway Project” students who have been selected so far.  Each of the “Pathwayemory-56-e1531758347333.jpg Project” students are selected in part with the expectation they will accept several responsibilities in exchange for this very special experience.

One key responsibility is to return home from America as an “Ambassador for education”. Meaning, “Ambassadors” are expected to be worthy examples for younger students to look up to and learn from. They are to be role models exemplifying good student and citizenship behavior. They are to be leaders! We believe this very special opporunity to enjoy a two-week all expense paid educational trip to America is a fair exchange for becoming an “Ambassador” and a role model for others.

I recently inquired about Brian and shortly thereafter Brian sent me a note. I am happy to share his message with you.

Brian Noteemory Group 2Brian and I have exchanged notes again and he knows he and the other five students (Ambassadors); Adriana, Fatima, Celeste, Noelia, and Lourdes, all share the responsibility of being role models for other students at the Copey Learning Center and the Copey community. This is expecting a lot but we have met each one, spent time with each one, and know first-hand that each one has the potential for success and being the type of person others will want to emulate.

My hope is for “Friends of Copey” to see the importance of our efforts, the extent of our interest, and value of our support for the Copey Learning Center. Did you know you were renting space?

 

Be Someone’s Sunshine…!

“Always find opportunities to make someone smile, and to offer random acts of kindness in everyday life.” – Roy T. Bennett

Costa Rican Strike…Update

Based on the latest news I can find, as of October 21st the strike is over as a practical matter. In recent days the Costa Rican supreme court rejected the tax reform because it limited the workers’ salary increases. The union leadership proposed a “pause” and everyone is headed back to work and most schools.

Background on Strike

The huelga nacional (national strike) in Costa Rica is complicated. The simple version was that in the first part of September 2018 some union workers walked off their government jobs and began protesting the legislature’s tax and spending reform plan scheduled to become law in November.

The union walkouts closed schools and curtailed public sector medical care, banking, social security and other services.  The protest marches were intended to gain attention by blockading traffic on major highways, shipping ports, bridges and at fuel depots causing as much disruption as possible.  Intimidation was also a tactic with protestors gathering in front of the homes of elected representatives.

The proposed tax and spending reform package increased taxes on food and other necessities while reducing bonuses, salary caps and severance pay for public workers. The government maintained that it is fair and balanced and the only way to avoid Costa Rica going bankrupt and prevent the complete collapse of public services and the economy.

The unions claimed it steals their pensions, unfairly raises the taxes on the poor and will bankrupt the people. Their alternate proposal “the Justice and Solidarity Tax Reform” would increase taxes on banks and companies with “excessively” high profits, eliminate “luxury” pensions for politicians and payments to political parties, and aggressively prosecute tax evasion and fraud by real estate magnates and other extremely wealthy families.

The tax and spending reform is necessary because previous administrations did some creative accounting and internal borrowing. The news reports that Costa Rica is broke and the U.S. and other banks refuse to lend any more money to increase the national debt until there’s a solution in place.

Whether the proposal is sound fiscal legislation or a fraudulent con job, the democratic process appears to be a bit off the rails in Costa Rica.

Copey Learning Center News

copey-student-10.jpeg

The news from the Copey Learning Center is very refreshing as it seems things are getting back to normal. The high school age students have been working on creating presentations. Recently the subject was India and Henna (I believe Henna pertains to body art and the use of a plant leaf as a dye for coloring skin.) Just guessing!

The project included learning about India and was deemed a huge success. As in any successful project, at its conclusion there is a thirst for more…more time…more opportunity to investigate and learn about India’s history and culture.

Andrea, the new Director, reported this project reallyCopey Students. 9 filled her with joy. “It was wonderful to see students so eager to learn with such positive attitudes”. This has been said so many times about the Copey Learning Center students….“so eager to learn”.

The very strong education machine…aka The Copey Learning Center, seemingly has been somewhat in the slow gear lately thanks much to the strike. But, with the strike nearing an end, I can sense the machine is getting a little more excited as the year will come to an end in less than six weeks.

As the year draws to a close, the process will start soon to identify and select the next successful candidates who will travel to the United States under the “2019 Pathway Project”. More details will be forthcoming on the process several students will follow to be eligible and potentially selected. The process will result in the selection of our number 7 and 8 students to make the very exciting and memorable journey to America and to our Emory & Henry College campus. This will also mark the start of the recruitment of a couple of the college students to go to Copey for a volunteer class assignment in 2019.

Final Word…!

I hope to return to my Monday Post schedule next week. Tuesdays have worked out better the past couple of weeks because of news flow and several other non-related commitments. We continue to work on upcoming Skype session between our local Jefferson Elementary students and the Copey Learning Center students. Looks great for happening in two weeks. Keep connected.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Road of Success…No Traffic Jams!

“You were designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness.”              By Zig Ziglar

 

Cost Rican Strike Update…..!

Many of the workers have returned to work. However, according to information offered recently by the Costa Rican government, 98.5% of the workers still on strike are employees of the Ministry of Public Education. So currently the protests are limited to workers of the Ministry of Education according to the papers. “The strike that presented itself as a national movement is limited at this time to the educators (teachers) and this sector represents 98.5% of the strikers”.

Therefore, the status of the Copey Learning Center remains mostly unchanged since early September. The education at the Learning Center continues uninterrupted but not all of the students are able to attend.  Graduation is scheduled for November 23.

Picture Tour

eh-foc-4.jpgIt is always fun to see the young students standing near or even inside the Copey Learning Center. It is especially wonderful when the kids are displaying the name and colors of the college where many of us “Friends” have a strong affiliation. EH FOC Post.3

There is a strong and healthy connection developing between the college and the Copey Learning Center. The mutual interest and cultural awareness is not limited to the young kids. You can find the parents and other adults donning the same attire as the kids.

Kiwanis International Connections

Perhaps we should ship a few Kiwanis shirts to Copey as well. Speaking of Kiwanis, certainly most of the “Friends” are not aware that one of my first real introductions to Costa Rica was thru an international Kiwanis connection. Claudio Pacheco, of Costa Rica was one of my first contacts. His wife Claudioonce belonged to an active Kiwanis Club located in San Jose, Costa Rica and it was because of this connection we met.

Claudio is a most interesting gentleman who attended the United States Naval Academy and served in the US Coast Guard.

Some of Claudio’s family lives in the Copey area. Also, he has family residing in the United States and is very informed and enthusiastic about life in America.

I fully enjoyed having lunch with him during the visit to Costa Rica last November. His friendship and respect has been and remains very important to me and I appreciate the support he has provided over the years to “Friends of Copey”.  For certain, if Kiwanis had not been involved, Claudio Pacheco and I may never have met.

Health and Welfare Report!

There has not been anything new or changed for Marta or my Aunt Christine over the past week. Both are doing well given the circumstances. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

 

 

“Sunrises Bring New Opportunities”

“Some people dream of success, while other people get up every morning and make it happen.”             By Wayne Huizenga

Costa Rican Strike Update…!

Costa Rica remains in the throes of a 30 day old nationwide strike. Some progress has been made to bring to a close but there is a major issue preventing the termination. Because the government, which the courts regard the strike as “illegal”, has made payroll payments to the striking workers while on strike, these payroll payments “must” be repaid according to the government. The unions disagree and at best, believe the repayments should be effective the date of the court’s decision and not the date the strike started. As you can imagine, an individual worker returning a payroll check is probably impossible. The government gave the unions an ultimatum to sign the new agreement and return to work. So…the light at the end of the tunnel is very dim. Costa Rican newspaper reports:

           “Trade Unions Defy “Line In The Sand” Drawn By Government”

The “strike” is very important to Copey because it includes public school teachers. School teachers not working means the public schools are closed. Because of distance, many of the students are unable to attend their classes at the Copey Learning Center. Based on a recent update, more students are now finding ways to get to the Copey Learning Center each day, but it is a serious challenge for some.

The Copey Learning Center’s graduation is set for November 23, 2018 and there appears no “Friends of Copey” will be attending. We wish we could be there and experience the amazing hospitality and excitement provided during last year’s graduation.

Welcome Back Jefferson Elementary School!

A newly remodeled Jefferson Elementary School has opened and discussions are underway again to establish a skype session between our Jefferson Elementary School K-Kids organization and the students at the Copey Learning Center.

Who are K-Kids?  

Kiwanis’ K-Kids is the largest service organization for elementary school students, with more than 36,000 members worldwide. The first K-Kids was chartered in 2000. Today, there are more than 1,200 clubs worldwide.

Jefferson Elementary Pen Pal

K-Kids at Jefferson Elementary School

K-Kids is a student-led community service organization that operates under school regulations and draws its members from the student body. Our Kiwanis Club serves as the sponsor for the K-Kids organization housed at Jefferson Elementary School.

A couple years ago we formalized the relationship between Jefferson’s K-Kids and students at the Copey Learning Center. Now, this relationship allows kids in both countries to get to know one another and expand their learning experiences. This is an extremely rare educational experience because not many US elementary students have the opportunity to interact with their peers in another country in this fashion. Certainly, the Copey Learning Center students have no other opportunity like this.

Hurricane Michael’s Status and Things!

Here we go again my “Friends” in the south. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as it appears more bad weather is in your path. Hurricane Michael appears very destructive and we hope all will be well.

Also, Ana Yancy’s sister Marta is out of the hospital at this time and still going through treatment. Keep both Marta and my Aunt Christine in your prayers.

Do Unto Others…!

“We have committed the Golden Rule to memory; let us now commit it to life.”                            By  Edwin Markham

Costa Rican Strike…Continues!

The different labor unions involved in the public employee strike in Costa Rica rejected the “preliminary proposal” negotiated with the Government this past Friday and Saturday. A meeting between the two parties was scheduled for Sunday at 3 p.m. to discuss the proposal. Instead of the Sunday meeting, the labor union leaders held a press conference to announce they plan to continue with the “indefinite strike”. The parties participating in the strike involve hospital workers, school teachers, national emergency workers, fire and police departments, garbage collectors, and other public workers.

The Copey Learning Center Spelling Beeremains open with classes provided to those students capable of attending although the local public schools are closed. Also, as mentioned last week, the “Spelling Bee” competition has become a casualty due to the ongoing “strike”. I am certain there are other collateral impacts being experienced by the students and the communities.

Looking Back…!

It has been said that “our memory is the treasure-house of the mind” and for “Friends of Copey”, the treasure-house continues to fill up. While things have slowed down some at the Copey Learning Center, let us take a look back at some of the photos of events we have experienced in 2018. Just a few photos show us some of the many different people helping make up our recent history. We can see the young and the old working together in two countries getting things done. Let’s not forget these recent times.

Friends Books 2             carolyn Johnson

Meadow elementary school 2  Utah Photo

Utah Team and kids 6   29541447_10155498868101814_6333781006688582404_n Utah Team w Carolyn

Partnership slide. 1   Angela Kara

Emory 28  emory 56Emory 20  EH Shirt PhotosThese photos provide an amazing array of stories of achievements and eight months of life-time memories for many of us. There are many young and older folks who make up these memories and we continue to look forward to the final two months of school.

Thanks for the memories!