If You have Little to Give…Give Your Heart

“Sometimes when I believe I am in need of a helping hand, I first need to look for the hand at the end of my arm.”  Unknown

What is it about the small community of Copey, Costa Rica and the Learning Center that moved me to get involved in the first place I was recently asked? I have covered this question several times in the past. Yet, the question does come up again, especially among new “Friends”.  It is a great question and the short answer is very simple. I got involved because it seemed to be the right thing to do.

However, my answer is simply the tip of the iceberg. The explanation supporting this answer provides some very interesting points many of you should easily relate to.

The explanation is helped by hearing this short story. Back in the early 90’s, I was the employment manager for a subsidiary of Westinghouse. We were a large employer with nearly 7,000 employees populating the Hanford Site located near Richland, Washington. The company wanted to feature me in our company’s newsletter and I was interviewed by a reporter. The article was finally published and under my photo was a caption that read……”Whatever I do…I want to make a difference”. I asked the reporter if I had actually stated these words during our interview since I did not recall. I was told I did in so many words. The caption became the essence of the story for the newsletter.

Since then, that caption…wanting to make a difference! became a conscious driving force for much of my work. Fortunately, I have met many people who just wanted to do the same thing. Thank God many of them have found their opportunity with the “Friends of Copey”.

For you newcomers, the story of “Friends of Copey” started during my first trip to Costa Rica on a fishing trip. It was then I learned the country was desperately seeking English teachers to meet their country’s need for an English-speaking citizenry. The country’s economic future depends on this according to those Costa Ricans I had the opportunity to meet. Also, the young Costa Ricans, especially in rural areas, would experience very limited and too often unpleasant futures without being competent in reading, writing, and speaking English. Therefore, the country has put a very high priority on teaching English.

090Following my return from the fishing trip, I answered several Costa Rican ads for volunteer English teachers. I received a few favorable responses and decided to visit one location a year later during my second trip to the country. I traveled to the small community of Copey to be interviewed by the Learning Center’s founder and a volunteer, Seidy and Anne. Their mission was made very clear.

It was evident Seidy, Anne, and the community felt they could make a difference in the lives of their young people in their community. Without the availability of adequate educational resources, government assistance, or any other visual signs of help, the Learning Center was operating and managing to do with what they had. On the spot, I informed Seidy and Anne that I wanted to help them. I was certainly impressed with their willingness to apply self help or using their own hands to do the job. I saw quickly the opportunity to extend my hand and try to help make a difference.

Have not most of us benefitted from someone else’s time, talent, and maybe even money? Have we not benefitted because someone came along and made a difference? There are many such people who have provided such help to me and I wanted to be a part of this mission to change things for the better.

The “Friends of Copey” project is no more complicated than this. It provides a simple and easy way to help make a difference in a community that is trying to help itself! “Friends” offers an extra set of hands to help make a difference.

Are there more critical needs in this world to be concerned about? Certainly! Are their perhaps greater local, national or even international causes that could use more support? Without a doubt! I am very familiar with many of these needs as you are.

However, most of the calls for help have in place tremendous and available resources already at work. Kiwanis Emblem 2

Most have teams of supporters, corporations, foundations, institutions, and others who provide ongoing support. Some even have paid staff to solicit the support needed.  We can all relate to this as it has become part of our daily experience getting phone calls, receiving mailings, seeing television ads and even being members of service clubs.

My Kiwanis Club is an International Service Club and it’s motto is “Serving The  Children of The World One Community at a Time”. And, as a partner with “Friends of Copey” working with Kiwanis, children are being served.

“Friends of Copey” is very different! Essentially, we are a collection of interested followers with a strong belief in the mission of the Learning Center without membership fees, by-laws, government rules/regulations and the rest. We have just the desire to make a difference as a result of our involvement through prayer, positive thoughts, volunteerism, and even financial assistance at times.

New

In Copey, we are viewed as a “big rock” frequently landing in a small pond. Much unlike many other greater areas of need where we would be a little rock landing on a huge lake. The ripple effect caused by our involvement and support is significantly different.

The “Friends” motto that has emerged over the short time of this Blog is “When many will do just a little…a lot will get done for kids!” Much has been done since we have organized as “Friends” and there is much still in the works. As “Friends” following this Blog weekly or even just on occasion, I am confident you know and understand this feeling and desire to make a difference.

Angela with students

Angela with students

Especially you “Friends” who have or had careers in education are fully aware of the passion from knowing you can make a difference in the life of a student. Also, you know this passion has little to do with a student’s race, background, culture, and etc. Your passion is to teach them all and for all of them to be successful. You want to make a difference!

I urge you to enjoy the experience of being a “Friend of Copey”. It provides us all the opportunity to give back a little, to honor those who have made a difference in our lives, and set the example for serving others by first using the hands God blessed us with…located at the ends of our arms.

NEWS FLASH

Jeff Gordon is still one of the remaining eligible drivers competing for the Championship. He needs to make it to the final 8 drivers to continue his final year of driving. Go #24!

 

3 thoughts on “If You have Little to Give…Give Your Heart

  1. Hello Art,
    I really enjoyed reading this post as I always wondered how you got involved in the learning center at Copey. I seldom come across people who want to make a difference in everything that they do, and even lesser people who appreciate, acknowledge or support these efforts. May God bless everyone and give them the power to see, understand and take the steps needed to alleviate injustice from this world. I, sometimes, find myself at a loss of words to explain to people what I do and want to do and why? It doesn’t matter if they live in a different world than ours, on a different continent, believing in a different God…what matters is they breathe and feel and dream the same way we do. Thank you for everything that you do Arthur.

  2. Hello Art,
    I really enjoyed reading this post as I always wondered how you got involved in the learning center at Copey. I seldom come across people who want to make a difference in everything that they do, and even lesser people who appreciate, acknowledge or support these efforts. May God bless everyone and give them the power to see, understand and take the steps needed to alleviate injustice from this world. I, sometimes, find myself at a loss of words to explain to people what I do and want to do and why? It doesn’t matter if they live in a different world than ours, on a different continent, believing in a different God…what matters is they breathe and feel and dream the same way we do. Thank you for everything that you do Arthur.

    • Thank you very much for the note. I am happy the information proved useful in your understanding of my involvement and motivation. More recently new “Friends” have asked and it felt necessary to share. The info is on the site but most do not tend to go back to the FAQ or the section on the Author. I believe the possibility is there that one of these young people will be a doctor or scientist some day. Maybe one or many other professions will be made available to a student allowing him/her to rise to the level of their potential. Based on my experience, yes they do breathe, feel, dream all the same. “Friends of Copey” gives us all a chance to “make a difference”. Sending you a personal note also…and thanks.

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