Summertime….living is easy!

This week in southeast Washington, the temperature is in the 90’s and 100’s without any relief soon.  Regardless, young kids are playing in the parks and finding some relief from the heat in local swimming pools. Many kids are busy with summer sports. In Copey this week, the weather probably looks much different. It is the rainy season, temperatures in the 70’s to 80’s, and the only visible form of recreation is the local soccer field I recall seeing during my visits to Copey. The young students attend school and spend time at the Learning Center during our summer season. It seems almost like two different worlds and in many ways it is. We are trying to connect these two worlds as the young kids meet thru our new Pen Pal Program.

Last week I provided you two letters written by students from Virginia.

CLC Pen Pa letter

This week I am sharing one of several letters being sent to the Virginia students from the Learning Center students. As a side note, this letter was written by a student being supported by the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund.  Click on Menu for more info on the Scholarship Fund.

These letters represent a great start in connecting students in two countries. We are experiencing the beginning of hopefully new friendships and extraordinary learning opportunities.

Although US schools are still enjoying summer, in a couple of weeks Lisa Baldwin’s school starts up again and  her students will return to their pen pal letter writing.

Two new volunteer teachers have arrived at the Learning Center.  Stacy and Chris Good arrived from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where they have lived and taught school for four years. Stacy teaches high school math and Chris teaches high school social studies. They are both excited to begin a new chapter, in which they will teach English to all ages attending the Learning Center.  This will be a different experience for both of them and they are eager to bring their expertise and experience to create fun and meaningful classes to the Learning Center…..“Welcome Aboard”.

I reported in my last Post a “urgent”need for some financial assistance to help the Learning Center raise funds to purchase school supplies. We have raised some funds and Thank You! In case you had planned to donate and not yet found a couple of minutes to do so, I want to ask again for your assistance. Small donations are certainly welcomed and will go a long way to help the Learning Center finish out the school year with sufficient school supplies. Deadline for this request is extended to August 5.

I will  pass on any funds I receive. Just write or call to tell me how much and I will forward the funds to them on the August 6. We can square up later. You may also donate directly via Pay Pal using the Learning Center’s web site.

Please indicate you are donating on behalf of “Friends of Copey”.  Thank You for your ongoing support.




Behold, children are a heritage……

Our excitement builds as students from an elementary school in Bristol, Virginia share pen pal letters with students attending the Learning Center in Costa Rica. The exchange of letters has all the students involved excited as they engage in this international project.

Recently, the students at the Learning Center in Copey received letters prepared by two groups of American students.  One group represents  students attending Lisa Baldwin’s class of 5th graders.  The other group are students attending a Summer Scholars program at Emory & Henry College in Emory, Virginia with Lisa leading one of the classes.  It is extraordinary to have such young students communicating between two countries and it goes far beyond elementary students writing each other. The Pen Pal project opens the international door for the teachers to share information. In short, the potential educational impact is great!

Lisa.rev.1Much of our excitement is due to Lisa’s involvement. She is a veteran teacher with outstanding credentials.  She was the 2005-06 Teacher of the Year, Cove Creek School, Vilas, NC,  and the 2005-06 Watauga County Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year. In  2007 she was inducted into the  Delta Kappa Gamma Teachers’ Society International.

Since 1984 she has been a professional musician and songwriter, performing folk, country, bluegrass, and original  music.  She has led workshops for public school teachers, librarians, and child care providers, and she has participated in numerous grants.  She has successfully blended her classroom teaching with her other passion for singing and songwriting. There is the promise of bringing both talents as teacher and entertainer to the students at the Learning Center.

Lisa w childrenLisa has already begun to interact with the leadership at the Learning Center and we foresee an educationally rich and rewarding experience for all involved,  including the “Friends of Copey”.

Other potential forms of interaction between the students may include the use of real time communications using technology such as Skype.  This technology allows students and teachers on both ends to have visual contact as they communicate.

Lisa hopes to introduce her very successful musical educational program known as “Music, Minds, and Motion” ( The program engages students in musical activity designed to educate students.  She has presented her interactive music, reading, and movement program at schools, libraries, child development centers, festivals, and senior centers in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. She has been a K-8 classroom teacher since 1978 and certified in Alabama, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Letter.rev.1This letter is one of several from the elementary school in Bristol, Virginia sent to a pen pal at the Learning Center.  The pen pal at the Learning Center will respond with a letter soon. We are looking forward to the students exchanging a minimum of three letters this year.

Under Lisa’s guidance, another group of letters were sent to the Learning Center authored by a few of the students attending the Summer Scholars Program at Emory & Henry College this summer.

Letter 2The Emory & Henry Summer Scholars program is a one-week residential academic program for rising middle and high school students inclined toward academic adventure. For rising 6th – 9th graders, the traditional Summer Scholars program offers a unique mix of learning activities designed to broaden academic interests and expose students to a college-like setting.

I will post letters from the Learning Center students when they become available. Also, updates will be provided on other Pen Pal projects as they develop.

Finally, the Learning Center reports they could use some school supplies to assist in getting through the balance of their school year. If any of the “Friends of Copey” feel inclined to make a small donation, please do one of two things.

1. Inform me of the amount of your donation by July 30. On July 31, one donation will be made via Pay Pal by me in the name of the “Friends of Copey”. You can send me the donation directly….or

2. Donate directly via Pay Pal and enter in the Comment section this is to support the school supply fund. Click on

Regardless, keep the Learning Center in your thoughts and prayers and my heartfelt thanks are extended to all for being “Friends of Copey”.









Farewell Tours….

When I travel and especially when the travel is home to Virginia, I refer to my trips as “farewell tours”. Many very popular veteran music artists for example, promote their final world tours as  “farewell tours” to communicate to their fans that this is their final concert performance.

My “farewell tours” have a very different meaning and pertains to visiting family and friends…not fans. Of course I am not some superstar promoting ticket sales but someone just blessed with a great family and several valued friends. My family has been important to me all my life and many of my friends go back as many as 60 years. Therefore, my visits are called “farewell tours” because I am far too familiar with the fact that things can happen unexpectedly in life and seeing my family and friends again in the future is not a guarantee. We have all lamented that we do not know what tomorrow may bring and that tomorrow is not promised to any of us. My “farewell tours” are joyous reunions and visits, affirmations of years of friendship and fellowship, and another chance to recall the past with family and friends while basking in the sunlight of their presence.

The highlights of my recent trips back to Virginia included visiting four of my five living aunts. These are really great aunts and really special people who have achieved much in their lives. Three of the five were educators.  One of them is a legendary NASA icon.  All have greatly influenced their children and many others to pursue education as a career. These aunts have been important role models for students and adults throughout their lives including my own.

Other trip highlights included attending two school reunions. One reunion included Ms. Lawrence, my first grade teacher and the first grade teacher for many if not all of the reunion attendees. Although she is nearing 100 years old, she is still very active, plays the piano, works on Afro-American historical projects in her community, makes guest appearances, and writes articles of historical interest to list only a few of her activities.

At the second reunion I visited two of my high school teachers, Mr. and Ms. Dawson. Both were outstanding  teachers and it was a pleasure to spend time with them. In their 90’s, they are both still very active and have great face and name recognition of their past students spanning more than 55 years.

Now, as “Friends of Copey” you may be wondering how this is all connected to the Learning Center. The connection is as follows:

  1. Having a caring and dedicated teacher plays a significant role in the future of any student.
  2. Receiving a quality and relevant education often contributes to a life of success.
  3. The classroom managed by caring teachers affords students the opportunity to learn about friendship, community, and humanity…not just reading, writing, and the rest.
  4. The classroom open doors to new people, new cultures, new places.

I have a very deep appreciation for the staff at the Learning Center. These volunteers freely make huge personal and financial sacrifices to teach in a school and community not at all affluent and lack needed educational resources. I have a similar appreciation for Lisa Baldwin, a “Friend of Copey”, who is now implementing the new Pen Pal Program. She is a veteran classroom teacher in Bristol, Virginia and is sharing her time and talents with the volunteers working at the Learning Center.  She exhibits the spirit of Ms. Lawrence and the Dawsons.

Many of you followers of this Blog, the “Friends of Copey”, are present and past classroom teachers. You have touched lives similar to Ms. Lawrence and the Dawsons.  Your educational legacy is also rich or on its way as you touch the lives of your students in a special way. I could not be more satisfied that my farewell tours have allowed me to spend time with family and friends (and teachers) and I am excited that so many teachers have joined with me as we try to make a difference in the lives of those students in Copey. This is our way of passing it on to others. My friend Jane said it even better once… we are “livin the givin” back life. See the April 3 Post.

I can never say it enough….thank you for your support and ongoing interest. Stay connected and informed.