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.


  • 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


  • 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.


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:


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.


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!


“Lord…We’ve Seen Fire and Rain”

“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.”                                   By Ferdinand Foch

On Saturday, a large local fire helped contribute to the enormous smokey conditions from various fire locations originating from western and central Washington, Oregon, and California. These smokey conditions stretch all the way to the east coast according to today’s weather reports. US Fire MapEastern Washington has not had rain in several weeks and with temperatures in the 100’s at times, this is a near perfect recipe for more fire and smoke. I hope “Friends” east of Washington state are having better weather conditions. However, I suspect there will be a lot of smoke in the near future since many of the active fires are not yet contained.

Our local fire reached and destroyed several homes but mostly it was a dry-land fire that burned rapidly with the help of strong winds. All in all, our community was very lucky given the weather conditions and the shortage of resources available to fight the fires. No fatalities have been reported to the credit of quick responses and reactions. Kennewick.5In Copey, I believe the weather conditions are much better although Copey is likely experiencing a daily rainfall since its region is now in the wet season.

It was August 2017 when the horrible fire caused the total destruction of the Copey community church. This was a devastating blow to the small community and little progress hasUtah team church been made to rebuild. We suspect available financial resources is one of the key reasons for the delay. The site continues to stand as a sober reminder to all those connected in the community who have strong historical and family ties to the church. This is our latest photo of the church location taken during the Utah team’s visit to Copey in March nearly eight months after the fire. Spelling Bee

In the near future we will begin reporting on the annual “Spelling Bee” competition. The Copey Learning Center has been represented the past several years with students doing well competing against stronger opponents from more urban areas of the country. This could be the year for a national champion from Copey.

As we now move into the final months of school scheduled to end in late November, keep the students in your thoughts. We are hopeful the support provided by “Friends” this year will be a major contributor to a fully successful year. Scholarships, supplies, and other various types of financial support will allow this to be a fully successful year.

“Thanks to all the Friends!” 




“Teachers…The Heart of Education”

“I absolutely LOVED this post!! It is so true that no matter what we do we make a difference in someone’s life.”         by Carolyn Johnson

I received several comments from “Friends” who commented on last week’s Post. Such comments are both reassuring, encouraging, and certainly very much appreciated.

Carolyn Johnson, now the retired elementary school principal from Lehi, Utah (refer to:   https://friendsofcopey.com/2018/04/09/the-principal-the-leader/, speaks with authority

Utah Team w Carolyn

Carolyn Johnson

regarding lives being changed by what we do. Principal Johnson has worked with students on a daily basis throughout her career and has seen first-hand her actions making a difference. As the top school administrator, she has been the leader of others working on the “front-line”. We are very honored and happy to have “Friends” supporting the Learning Center representing this profession.

I want to highlight “educators” this week because of the overall impact educators have had on the work and success of “Friends of Copey” since its beginning. To make this point, I can highlight a few significant examples of educators contributing to our overall success over the past twelve months alone.

  1. The 400 pounds of school supplies collected and delivered to the Copey Learning Center was spearheaded by educators.
  2. The “Pathway Project” support base is centered around the interest and commitment of several educators along with the E&H College (education) staff and faculty.
  3. Jane Rutledge, retired educator volunteered three months as a teacher at the Learning Center…a true “difference maker”.

    Jane Kitty

    Jane Rutledge

  4. And, more than 50% of the overall donor support comes from the education community for all three annual fundraising campaigns.

Clearly, educators are deeply involved. The second week of November is “National Education Week” and I plan to mark my calendar to remind me to observe those who have been and those who continue to make a difference on the “front-line”.

Follow Up to Last Week’s Post

I received a couple of comments about the challenge issued to “share” the story with friends news about the Copey Learning Center and become a more active “Friend”. One comment suggested “Friends” could respond to my challenge by adding the link to my Post to their Facebook Page each week. Apparently, this is not difficult to do and is a very efficient way to share the news with your friends. With little effort, this would/could be a very positive way to help and support the Learning Center. As I learned by sharing the news with a total stranger on an airplane, the unimaginable could happen!

You are doing something very special and very unique. There is no good reason to not share with others how well the project and support is going. It is well worth sharing when appropriate.

“Go Tell It On The Mountain!”







“Light Up Your Candle…!

“At the end of the day, people will follow you or people will be energized by you if they buy into your vision or purpose. So the most important thing is to be true to yourself.”                     by business leader Paul Polman. 

Following the Vision and Purpose

This profound quote by Polman is significant in its simplicity. As we continue working on documenting the “in-kind” service we [“Friends of Copey”] enjoyed during this year’s  “Pathway Project”, it is impressive to see how energized many “Friends” were with their support. I blame this on “Friends” buying into the vision or purpose of the “Pathway Project”.   emory group 11

In my past employment life as a manager, it was difficult at times to get people to do their job…a job they were being paid to do. There were many reasons but some employees’ lack of energy was a failure to embrace the vision and purpose of the business. Far too often, it was “just a job”, simply a means to an income, with little or no passion felt for the work, the purpose or the business. Who knew people could be highly motivated, dedicated, and committed to doing something that provides no compensation or without any very personal connections or convictions?

“Friends of Copey” is not “just a job” but a mission with a strong passion many of us share. Uncompensated, we are energized by our belief or knowledge that we can make aEmory 28 difference if we make the effort. Our support helps keep a small and not so affluent community excited and believing they can have a positive impact on the lives of their children and their children’s future.

From my vantage point, it is truly a joy to see others willing to follow and support a vision and purpose. Remember always the three ways you can connect as “Friends of Copey”: 1) pray for our success; 2) share your positive energy/enthusiasm for our success; and 3) when so moved, share your finances when there is a need. These three connecting points have consistently provided us successful results.

Two New Challenges for You!

I ask you to challenge yourself with two other ways of connecting.

1.  First, allow yourself to fully enjoy the results of your efforts. Accept the fact that you do make a difference regardless of the way you may connect. Conversations I have at times with some “Friends” indicate to me there is a disconnect with any of the successes we enjoy.  Unless, the “Friend” makes a direct contribution or does something deemed useful, the “Friend” does not personally feel or experience the success.   check mark

Is it true the sports player who did not get to participate in the winning game, is restricted from enjoying the team’s success? Of course, this is ridiculous! A team is a team and a team of “Friends” is a team of “Friends”. Something as inane as a passing positive thought by a “Friend” could be a lightning bolt of encouragement for the team. The challenge I offer you is to wrap your arms around the fact that you, me, and others are making a difference regardless of the type of connection being made.

2.  The next challenge is important as well. I challenge you to share the story of the Copey Learning CenterUtah Team and kids. Let others know some of the amazing side stories you have witnessed. I try not to bore others with unending conversations about “Friends of Copey” but there are times when sharing such unimaginable news is unavoidable.

A case in point relates to the Utah team of educators. A short conversation with one person resulted in hundreds of kids in an elementary school collecting 400 pounds of school supplies, four adults traveling to Copey, and life-changing experiences had by many.

There was nothing special about that one short conversation, no magic or special effects. It was only a casual conversation with a stranger anyone could have…including you. The challenge to you is to share the news, share the Post with friends/relatives, and share the news with your schools and churches. You just never know who may be helped.

This all reminds me of the song with the lyrics:

“And if everyone lit just one little candle,
What a bright world this would be.”







“Good News Makers…Friends!”

“Everyone has inside of him/her a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is! ”     By Anne Frank

What a wonderful Monday! Two very good news announcements make up this week’s Post.

“Pathway Project for 2018”

Each of our “Pathway Project” objectives were met this year including meeting our financial objectives. I have provided news of our program successes over the past several weeks with photos included and today I am reporting on the donations and expense results.

Recall, we originally set our fundraising goal at $6,500.00 and during the final couple of weeks of the campaign the goal was adjusted down to $6,200.00. A few of the planned expenses were Tracking 12replaced with “in-kind” services. The total amount of donations received was $6,180.00 and the total expenses amounted to $5,907.72. This left $272.28 in unspent funds which is being held over for the “Pathway Project for 2019”.

The average total cost per each of the four guests is $1,476.93. It is significant to note the airfare portion made up 75% of the cost for each guest. The 25% balance ($372.00) covered three nights of hotel lodging, numerous meals, recreational/site-seeing activities, and some miscellaneous expenses (times 4) during their two-week visit. Hopefully, you will appreciate the benefit and use of the donations provided in support of this project.

The Other Half Of The Story

This year we began tracking better the level of “in-kind” support provided to the “Pathway Project”. The final report is not complete but there is sufficient evidence to seeemory 34 the enormous benefit resulting from this form of support.

To date we have documented 15 “Friends” who have donated their time hosting the guests. One “Friend” volunteered to greet the four guests upon their arrival in Washington, DC, transport them to their hotel, to dinner, and site-seeing. Another “Friend” spent over 12 hours driving to pick up and return the guests to the college while stopping along the way for site-seeing activities. Upon arriving on campus, a different “Friend” opened her home to provide the guests a comfortable place to stay for one week. Another “Friend” covered the full cost of the catered “Reception”…and other “Friends” shared time taking them shopping, to lunches and dinners, and participated in various recreational events/activities and often paying the way. This is an extensive list of “in-kind” support that should not be overlooked.Good News

This “in-kind” service report also includes the support our partners provide. The accounting service provided by Tri-Cities Industry Kiwanis Foundation (WA) was donated and critical to our project. Then, there are many hours and financial support provided by Emory & Henry College providing the opportunity for our guests to participate in the Summer Scholars and Leadership Program.

It is very difficult to put an accurate dollar figure on the overall value of the “in-kind” support but we project the potential value is significant and necessary. Both the financial support obtained from the “fundraising” efforts and the “in-kind” support combined to make this the tremendous success it has become.

Huge Donation Provided

The second announcement pertains to a large shipment of E&H College articles arrivingEmory group9

in Costa Rica. This shipment contains a major supply of E&H College clothing items donated to the Copey Learning Center and the community. More information on this shipment will be forthcoming but in the meantime, we are excited to have a major E&H College benefactor demonstrating a strong interest in the Copey Learning Center.

We continue to see the footprint of our college grow bigger because of the increasing awareness and support for the mission of the Copey Learning Center. We are optimistic and believe there are several opportunities to build the relationship between Emory & Henry College and the Copey community. The yearly “Pathway Project” helps build the educational relationship between students and the college.

Do we dare dream of a Copey  Learning Center student becoming an Emory & Henry enrolled student some day? As Anne Frank stated… “You don’t know…What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!”  

Starting Point…Desire!

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”   By Pele

The Copey Learning Center reopens today after a two-week break. Consequently, there is very little news about things going on at the Learning Center.

I will share a few more photos for your enjoyment. Also, the financial portion for the recent “Pathway Project for 2018” is not officially closed at this hour, but I can report the

Emory 36

Reception Host George Whitley

project is a financial success. We have received sufficient funds via donations to cover all of the expenses for this project. All of the financial side of this project went very well although some of the donations came in later than planned. I will have more to report next week on the finances. For now, I thank each of you for your very generous support.

I also plan to provide a summary report on the Emory 20non-financial support I call the “in-kind support”.  This year’s project really thrived on this kind of support. Certainly, “in-kind support” has always been there. However, this year it was vividly clear the project would not have been this big success withoutemory 33 supporters contributing their time and non-financial resources. I will highlight and celebrate both the financial and non-financial efforts in upcoming reports. emory-56.jpg

“Friends” has just ended the first six months of this year and we have been very busy accumulating successes and victories. In short summary, we successfully completed three fundraising efforts, assisted in the Utah team’s visit to Copey, and successfully completed the “Pathway Project”…to mention only the major highlights.

I will now locate my fishing gear and go find a quite river bank to spend some quiet time. There is still plenty to do over the next five months but I need a short break.

You all are an amazing group of “Friends”. I thank you!



Travel Well Your Journey…!

“Life is a journey that must be traveled no matter how bad the roads and accommodations.”    By  Oliver Goldsmith

It seems difficult to imagine it has been two weeks since Ana Yancy and the rest of the Costa Rican guests returned home. Their two weeks in America visiting us also went by just as fast.

I have visited with Ana Yancy via Skype and it was a very fun time reminiscing and recounting the many diverse experiences she and the others enjoyed. We focused much of our attention on the first week when most of the recreational activities were planned. During the second week, the two students were very busy participating with other students as members of the Summer Scholars and Leadership Program while Ana Yancy and Dihianna were conducting classes on Costa Rica.emory 52 Capturing class photos and detailed information is more challenging when everyone is participating in classes.

But, we have a few photos to share. And, the news is very positive regarding the success both students had interacting with their peers during the week. (Brian is on far right.)

We have learned that Lourdes and Brian met many new friends and became popular for adding a unique cultural experience for other students. Also, they experienced new cultures and had the opportunity to utilize their English communication skills while enjoying possibly a once in a life-time experience. All this is “priceless”. By all accounts, Lourdes and Brian left the campus much different from their arrival two weeks earlier. (Below Lourdes in the center back row and Brian third from far right.)emory-48-e1531064018914.jpgemory-32.jpgEMOry 37emory 39emory 38

One of the reoccurring revelations I have had over the past several weeks (and there has been many), is just how many lives are touched in many positive ways by the “Pathway Project”.

We can start with the students of the Learning Center, then the Copey emory 40community and parents, financial donors and college affiliated supporters stretching across our country, my Kiwanis Club, and many personal friends and family.

Then, as I look at these photos, even the students attending the Summer Scholars and Leadership Program have been touched in ways we will never know.  We now have six Learning Center student ambassadors representing the “Pathway Project” positioned in the Copey community to provide positive influences and encouragements to those wishing to follow the ambassadors’ footsteps to America.

For you as it is for me, the total impact of our collective work and support for this project is beyond our ability to fully comprehend. It all works…thanks to you “Friends”.

Sad News!

I wish to dedicate this Post to a dear friend and a devoted “Friend of Copey” who passed away suddenly this past week. Winton Lackey was a 1955 graduate of Emory & Henry College, long-time strong college supporter, past E&H Trustee, member of the E&H Sports Hall of Fame, successful business and family man, and much much more as a kind, loving, and generous person.Lackey

When I became an E&H Trustee seven years ago, Winton was the first among the Trustees to welcome me with a big smile and his arms wide open. He served as my mentor while I watched him demonstrate in meetings his commitment and devotion to the college by serving in accordance with the principles he lived by. Without question, Winton’s love for E&H College was evident every minute I had the pleasure to be in his presence. We enjoyed sharing our political views and our perceptions of the world. In addition, he and his wife Donna have been very strong supporters of “Friends of Copey”. The “Pathway Project” would have never become what it is today without their support.

Winton’s life-journey was rich and full. This is a true loss of one of the “good guys” and on behalf of the many “Friends of Copey”, we express our sincere condolences to Donna and the family.




Small Acts of Kindness…continued!

“Friends”… they cherish one another’s hopes. They are kind to one another’s dreams.”               by  Henry David Thoreau

There are still many photos documenting the “Pathway Project’s” two weeks of activities.  Imagine how different things are in America and the many impressions the students experienced and carried home. The project is blessed to have so many “Friends” involved and devoted to making this a life-changing experience.

Emory 28  emory 44  emory 42emory 34emory 40      emory-45.jpg  emory 43 Emory 22

And then, consider the reactions and feelings of those in Copey who welcome home these returning students. The potential and positive impact Brian and Lourdes will have on students wanting to be the next ones selected for the “Pathway Project” will be tremendous.

                                  Again…thank you “Friends”!