Merry Christmas…extended!

Last week we all were focused on Christmas, the season’s reason relating to the Birth of Christ, exchanging gifts with loved ones, and sharing valuable time with family and friends. This week we are shifting our focus to New Year’s and trying

Christmas Tree 1

to keep the spirit of Christmas with us. I am still saying Merry Christmas to those I meet and see in the stores and about. I get strange looks since many have already seemed to have moved on to other things. But why does Christmas have to come to an abrupt halt after the presents are opened and dinner has been served? We refer to this as the Christmas Season or Holiday Season do we not? Can we continue wishing others joy, peace, and love beyond Christmas Day? I think I will keep saying Merry Christmas another week or so and see what happens. I contend that if we really embrace the reason for the season, wishing others joy, peace, and love past the sounds and sights of Christmas is okay. I contend that if we extended our Christmas wishes throughout the year, we would have a different world to live in.  So Merry Christmas to all…again! 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The year 2016 has so much promise for the “Friends of Copey”.  If I could make one New Year’s wish come true it would be that each of you would fully experience the joy that comes with being a “Friend” to the small Copey community. The Copey community believes in us and recognizes our efforts. When we inspire and encourage one child to

CLC Students August

reach his/her full potential, others are deeply affected. The child’s Mom and Dad are inspired and become full of hope, the child’s sibling(s) have a role model to follow, and the community changes for the better. The child succeeds!

Next month we will begin a third year of support and will call on all “Friends” old and new to first do two things. First, look at our two year history of support including the past couple Posts accounting for our achievements in 2015. You will see how far we have come with prayers, positive expectations, and donations. The number of students being helped has grown and our overall support of the Learning Center has continued to expand and grow.

Then, look at what we plan to do in 2016. We want to give more children 20151105_092520     the opportunity to attend the Learning Center. We want the Learning Center’s Director to remain on board to continue producing quality results. We want to see students from Copey establish friendships via Pen Pals and other student interactions. And, we want to help Angela and two Copey students get to the Emory & Henry College campus next June. These and other plans and initiatives await us.

At the end of 2016 when we as “Friends” account for our efforts, I am convinced our record will match and exceed 2015 accomplishments. But this will take all the “Friends” who believe in prayer to pray for our success. It will take all the “Friends” to be on board who understand and embrace the power of positive thinking. And, all those “Friends” who can provide financial support to help pull this all together will be needed as well. All three of these types of “Friends” will help us demonstrate our value as devoted and dedicated partners to the Copey community. Our motto has consistently been…  “When many will do just a little…A lot will get done for Kids!”.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

 

Pa rum pum pum pum!

Come they told me, Pa rum pum pum pum!
A new-born King to see, Pa rum pum pum pum!

For many of us, Christmas in the summer season seems a bit strange. December, winter, Christmas and all just seems normal to most of us. In Copey it is also December and Christmas time. However, the season is summer and not winter. I have not experienced Christmas in the summer and it would be unlikely that the same stories about Santa Clause, snow on

Christmas Joy 3

rooftops, sleigh bells, winter wonderland and the rest would all feel the same under summer conditions. According to the weather report, the summer temperature in San Jose today is 75 degrees and probably a little cooler in Copey.  Yes, I realize we have some places with similar temperatures in the US, but we still call it winter and not summer. I say, Let it Snow! The reason for the season is the same reason all year around…so “Don’t miss the joy!”

Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund

The Anne G. Broady Scholarship donors are now receiving reports from Angela with a final update on the student(s)

Dr. Lin Church: AGB Co-Chair

Dr. Lin Church: AGB Co-Chair

supported by the AGB Fund in 2015. Angela, the community, and I are all very appreciative and grateful for this support. I wish there was an easy way to measure the positive impact these scholarships have on the students, the families, the community, and the Learning Center. Just believe it is significant! 

Dr. Church, deserves a great deal of credit/accolades for his willingness to co-chair the AGB Scholarship Fund and I thank him personally for all the support and encouragement he provides.  Thanks Lin!

WE DID IT!

While looking at a Post I wrote in December 2014, I found comments I made indicating what we planned to achieve in 2015. It is a very gratifying experience to read something written 12 months ago and see it come true. Last December I wrote… “We will initiate our 2nd Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund Drive“.  WE DID IT!  Then it was written that…“There is one and possibly two developing opportunities to set up a pathway for [graduating] students in Copey to visit a US college”. WE DID IT!  And I wrote that… “we plan to assist the Learning Center in raising some of the funds needed to hire a staff member to head up the Learning Center in 2015.  WE DID IT!  The prior two Posts this month have already reported these and other achievements documented in 2015. However, it does still feel great to know we do what we say. Over the next couple of weeks, I will share our updated plans for 2016 and will invite each of you to continue on this journey.

More Comments I received:

Outstanding accomplishments, Blessings enumerable.  Christine C.

What wonderful work is happening at Copey. Love the idea of having a student come up for a US school experience.  Cynthia M.

Amazing work! You are an inspiration to us all. May GOD continue to bless you.  Paulina V.

You can count on my positive thoughts and most of all my prayers. I truly believe in your venture and we both know “All things are possible, when God is in the mix”.  Charles J.

I really enjoy hearing from you and happy to share your thoughts with all who follow this Blog. Now, there are times I see a trend in some of the comments I get. Let’s be clear…if you are a “Friend”, you are part of any success we enjoy…not a spectator. If you read this Blog and do nothing else, you are a “Friend of Copey”. Period!

Merry Christmas     Christmas Tree 1

 

 

There’s Joy…Down In My Heart!

The joy that you give to others…Is the joy that comes back to you. by John Greenleaf Whittier

CONGRATULATIONS TO LEARNING CENTER STUDENTS

The “thrill of hope” is alive and well in Copey, Costa Rica. A couple of weeks ago the students from the Learning Center completed their school year and we are so proud of all of them.

This also brings to close our second year of the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund and we are pleased to know that a large number of the students had the

AGB Scholarships.1opportunity to attend the Learning Center because of the generosity of the “Friends of Copey”. As the photo indicates, these young students show their appreciation for our support. And, we extend to them, their families, and the Learning Center staff our sincere appreciation for making this all worthwhile. It is my hope that one day I can or perhaps…you can stand next to them to help hold the banner of Thanks.

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Above, Markki (volunteer teacher) is shown with her 4th, 5th, and 6th graders on their last day of classes. Below, the Learning Center students Maria along with Tobias and Brian make presentations during their graduation ceremony.

zzzGirl making presentation                 Tobias and Brian making their presentations.

We extend our best wishes to all of the community of Copey and we wait with much excitement for February 2016 to come around so we can begin a new year of success and achievements.

The K-Kids of Kiwanis

During the K-Kids meeting this week, we discussed San Jose and Copey. This short geography lesson helped the K-Kids become more informed about their new Pen Pals. It is an amazing experience to see about 50 students (4th and 5th graders) show such a strong interest in their connection with students from another country.

zzzK-Kids meeting.  zzzK-Kids Meeting 2

What some “Friends of Copey” have said lately about the Learning Center…

“All of the good news comes at a time when we need to read about positive accomplishments to encourage us and nurture our souls while there is so much negative in the world.” Lisa B.

“What a remarkable endeavor unfolding!”  Cynthia M.

“Congratulations for all the milestones that the Learning Center of Copey is achieving. The center is in my thoughts and prayers often.” Hina F.

So amazing how much the learning center continues to grow! I can’t wait to hear about the students’ visit to the college! God bless 🙂  Hailey T.

It’s A Wonderful Time of Joy!

Those of you long time followers might recall my reference last Christmas about the Christmas song “O Holy Night”. To get the full story, you can find my comments by clicking on the December 2014 Posts located among the Archives.

For the newer followers, “O Holy Night” is my all time favorite Christmas song. The song’s message gathers all of my thoughts and feelingsO Holy Night

about Christmas and the “reason for the season”. For me, all of Christmas is captured in this one beautiful song. There are many who agree with me as it is one of the most popular songs of the season. The inspiring message of hope this song brings to us… The thrill of hope the weary world rejoices”. .. “for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn” is so badly needed. My Merry Christmas greeting to you is my wish that you experience this thrill of hope during this time of turmoil and confusion we find all around us. Let’s sing the song of Hope and Joy together this season.

 

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2015 Highlights (continued)

“It is the apathetic person that sees the cause while the charitable person sees the need.”   by Shannon L. Alder

1.The Big Parking Lot Sale held last Spring was a huge achievement. The effort involved more than 30 “Friends” assembled for the first time to support our very first public fund raiser. Many of the “Friends” donated numerous personal items to sell.  Other “Friends” zzzParking Lot customersdevoted many long hours and some hard labor in preparation of the sale and several “Friends” volunteered their time to be on site during and after the sale. All of these “Friends” helped raise $1,700 in a one day sale. These proceeds were added to previous donations to help us meet our $2,500 commitment to the Learning Center. This would not have happened without the exceptional generosity of these local “Friends”.

2.  For almost two years we have been trying to develop a “Pathway” for students in Copey to travel to the United States to experience a US college campus and get a taste of higher education. Emory & Henry College in rural Emory, Virginia offers an ideal location on a beautiful and friendlyzzzEmory image 5

campus community very similar to the countryside of Copey.  One significant highlight this year is the positive forward movement towards developing this “Pathway”.

The college is working with area civic organizations to help offset tuition cost along with room and board during their campus visit in Summer 2016. The Learning Center is currently receiving applications from students applying for this unique opportunity and “Friends” plans to raise funds to offset travel expenses for the students.

3. A related highlight for this year is the “Pathway” being set up for Emory & Henry College students to travel to Copey to do volunteer service in zzzEmory Image.4

conjunction with the Bonner Scholars program. Bonner Scholars will be invited to apply for two volunteer positions to work at the Learning Center in late Spring 2016.

Both “Pathways” represent major achievements and will serve to bring even greater attention and support for the Copey community in both the short and long term. This also establishes a meaningful overseas volunteer sight for the Bonner Scholar students.                                      zzzEmory imagePartnerships are very IMPORTANT to the support efforts provided by “Friends”. We believe that most partnerships can be non-financial in nature. We believe there are numerous ways to develop learning experiences as our Pen Pal programs demonstrate. At other times, we do encounter costs but the benefit is well worth it such as getting a couple students on a “Pathway” to higher education.

It is truly a major highlight to gain the confidence and support of an internationally recognized organization such as Kiwanis as it is also a major highlight to obtain the cooperation and alliance of a highly respected and prestigious small college.

4. Finally, there are some Blog highlights we can all be pleased with. We have already exceeded the 3,100 mark for visits in 2015 and the final month is still young. In 2014 we barely reached 2,900 visits. The United States accounted for 74% of the visits in 2015, Costa Rica 8%, Brazil 7%, and the remaining 11% came from countries including Canada, Portugal, Mexico, Indonesia, Italy, Russia, and many other smaller countries. And, visits to the Blog in January, June, and September 2015 alone totaled 1,036. For a Blog featuring a small learning facility in a very remote part of Central America, these are very impressive statistics. You deserve the credit for these numbers because of your willingness to visit the Blog each week or as often as you can. THANK YOU!

 

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 

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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!