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.

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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!

 

2018 Financial Scorecard

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”                                       By Albert Einstein

When we began the 2018 year, our expectations were just as high as in previous years. Our historical success provided good reasons to look forward to 2018 with confidence.

Annual Fund Raising Successes!

Kicking off January 2018, we launched the dual fundraising campaign to support the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund and support for the Executive Director’s annual salary.     

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 The Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund goal was again set for 15 scholarships or $1,500.00. The actual amount raised with donations totaled $1,750.00.  

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The financial goal to support the Executive Director’s Salary was set at $2,500.00 and was successfully achieved with a final total of $2,600.00. I wish to note this goal was reached nearly a month earlier than planned.

Copey Learning Center is grateful for the level of financial support provided by “Friends” for both of these financial goals. We now have five years of scholarships (100 plus) donated and our support for the Executive Director’s salary has been in place for four years.

The investments in both areas of funding support have resulted in more students learning English and the Copey Learning Center enjoying competent and consistent leadership.

Successful Financial Year for the Pathway Project! 

The 2018 Pathway Project fundraising goal was originally set at $6,500.00 to cover round trip costs and related expenses from Copey, Costa Rica to the USA and back home for two students and two chaperones.

During the fundraising campaign, some planned travel and food costs where eliminated when “Friends” offered to replace these costs with valuable in-kind support. The goal was cautiously reduced from the $6,500.00 goal to $6,200.00.    

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The total amount of donations received was $6,180.00 and the total expenses were $5,907.72. The airfare alone made up 75% of our total expenses. This left $272.28 unspent and these funds are being held over for the 2019 Pathway Project. 

One key observation this year was the growing amount of in-kind support we experienced for the Pathway Project. This kept our overall financial need very reasonable. 

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Each year, we have donated funds for school supplies and we have supported the annual “Spelling Bee”. Fortunately, this year the Copey Learning Center received an unbelievable donation of school supplies. There will be more said about this in next week’s Post.

The “Spelling Bee” was canceled in 2018 due to the Costa Rican “employee strike” which involved public schools and teachers. No funds were needed for the “Spelling Bee”.

“Friends” has an important role. We actively help provide opportunities so more students can attend the Copey Learning Center. We support keeping quality and consistent leadership in place to manage the Copey Learning Center. And, we support recognizing, rewarding, and encouraging student success. 

“Friends” continues to strive to make a practice of requesting donations only when we are supporting one of the general areas covered in this report. And each time there has been a call for support,  you have responded favorably and generously to the opportunity to “make a difference”.

Thank You and Happy Holidays

Mingling With Magic!!!

“Love and enthusiasm and hardwork can mingle to make magic!”   by Monica Hoel

Looking Back!

It is December…the back end of another year. How does time go by so quickly? Also, we just watched five years fly by since I published my very first Post on December 15, 2013. It was a very short message with only the photo of the Copey Learning Center pictured here. This Learning Center was in use when the Blog began…but the Learning Center is now located in the different facility now seen on all my Posts. 

Who knew on December 15th what would follow?  Today’s Post will be # 267. Admittedly, I never anticipated we would be where we are today and still going strong.                                                                                                        

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The journey has been absolutely amazing and fortunately the compilation of the 267 Posts serve to document the events and our successes over the years. And, you can find each of the 267 Posts on this Blog to read. 

This is not often mentioned but very important. Over the five years I have been reunited with several old friends and strengthened relations with casual friends. Plus, I have experienced connecting with many “new” friends. In short, I am “friends rich” and blessed we are all joined together as “Friends of Copey”.

Time To Be Accountable!

I look forward to next week’s Post when I share Part One of our scorecards. I am gathering the information and it causes me to constantly stop and remember the details. There are two main conclusions I reach from reading these Posts. F

First, what we do is extraordinary. Connecting with a community for the only purpose to support that community’s efforts to achieve its goal is not typical. Other organizations helping with scholarships, salary support, and other educational enhancements totally dedicated to one community is essentially unheard of.

Then, how we do what we do is also extraordiary. We are a devoted group of “friends” uncompensated and fully committed to doing what is within our ability. We do not look or conduct business in any way similar to the established organizations. More on both of these conclusions in the upcoming “scorecards”.

“From Whom All Blessings Flow”

“Over and over I marvel at the blessings of my life: Each year has grown better than the last.”    By Lawrence Welk

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

The Thanksgiving turkey is mostly gone and I consumed far too much of it. But, it was a wonderful time to reflect on the many things I know I am personally thankful for. I hope all “Friends” took time to enjoy similar reflections. For “Friends of Copey”, everyday is a day of “Thanksgiving”.

Graduation at the Learning Center

Graduation at the Copey Learning Center was held Friday and just look at these precious photos and the smiles. Several are AGB Scholarship recipients. Another year is complete and school is out until February 2019. But…work continues! 

We enjoy seeing the joy and pride on the faces of many of these students. “Graduation” day is a very important day in the lives of these students and it flows over to the parents as well. The unique opportunity for these students to attend the Copey Learning Center to learn English does not go unnoticed by nearby Costa Rican communities. Today, most parents and students living away from Copey can only observe this unique opportunity and hope one day a Learning Center will come to their town. 

Scorecard Time

Next month…I will begin wrapping up the information to provide all “Friends” an accounting of our efforts and performance during 2018. Those following closely this year already know there has been some absolutely amazing accomplishments. 

Celebrating 5th Year “Friends”

Next month, we will completed five full years of support under the banner of “Friends of Copey”. So much has happened. So many old and new “friends” have become involved. So many stories have been born and have been shared. Lives have been impacted and as it has often been said…“the giver is often the receiver”. One of my favorite things to do is to go back and just read the titles of Posts I have written. And, as time permits, I will read the quotes I included hoping that if the Post itself does not touch you, perhaps the quote will convey a message of purpose and meaning. Both together, the title and quotes provide a trail laying out this unbelievable journey we have shared. 

I have never approached a job or a task before where I was completely dependent on another’s trust and confidence, willingness and generosity. As we started this journey, “friendship” was the foundation and glue needed to give this a chance for success. Five years later, we know that “friendship” and all this entails has been the driver sustaining this project. So, when I reflect on “Thanksgiving”, I know this project has been BLESSED...and I know our “friendships” have been the driving force.                                                                                               For you…I am Thankful!

         

Being Change Agents…!

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.”– Wayne Gretzky

Emory & Henry College

I have returned from the east Tennessee and southwest Virginia area of our country. I thank the many “Friends” I had the opportunity to visit during my short stay. The interest continues to be very high among “Friends” back there and specifically the Emory & Henry College’s support for the “Pathway Project” is solid.

Emory & Henry College is consistently ranked among the nation’s best private liberal arts institutions. The College’s many accolades include the Presidential Award for Service Learning, the highest national recognition for community service and service learning; top tier recognition in Washington MonthlyUSA TodayNewsweek and is also listed among the top 40 schools in Colleges that Change Lives…just to name a few. 

“Virginia has no shortage of familiar schools with robust reputations. But, Emory & Henry, in the colorful hills of the state’s southwest corner, does the finest job of them all of producing contributors to society.“
– Colleges That Change Lives

“Friends of Copey” is extremely fortunate to be affiliated with an institution that is among the best at “changing lives”.  

Another Student Letter from Copey

I still hear from “Friends” about the student letters I have posted. Yes, they are very special and there are still more letters I could share. But, I will only pass along one more. This letter from nine year old Antuan struck me for a variety of reasons. He shares information about his family and his youthful interests. Sounds much like a typical nine year old who enjoys computer games and movies. This is Antuan’s time as a youth but as he grows a little older, serious challenges will confront him as he contemplates his future. Will he graduate from high school or dropout?

We are hopeful learning English and being involved with the Copey Learning Center will make a significant difference for Antuan and others. Please know our help “makes a difference”.

2018 Copey Learning Center Graduation

This is graduation week in Copey at the Learning Center.

Congrats to all the students!

I am very sad to miss graduation this year but I have some very happy memories left over from last year. I will do all I can to return to Copey for next year’s graduation.

And, I hope some “Friends of Copey” will attend the graduation with me and visit that magical and generous community where amazing things happen.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Soon we will enter our final month of our 5th official year of devoted support for the Copey Learning Center. There is a lot to reflect on. The year has been full of achievements and amazing surprises. The end of the year “scorecards” will be prepared soon and we will take a very close look at our performance. Thanks to All of You!

 

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?