Just Feeling Blessed…!

“Though it’s hard to let you go,  In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long,  To live as friends.”  by Michael W. Smith

We have been talking a lot lately about what is coming up in May and June but we should not lose sight of the exciting things going on now at the Learning Center.  As a matter of fact, there is always something of interest going on at the Learning Center.

Are you familiar with the book titled “Holes” written by Louis Sachar? The novel is a fun and enjoyable story that has been attracting both student age and the young at heart for almost 20 years. Holes.1

“Holes” has become a popular piece of literature at the Learning Center. Several of the students are busy reading and discussing the book with each other… in English. According to Angela, this is an extremely effective method to teach non-English speaking students the art of reading and speaking English. Holes.4 Seems like another progressive approach to meeting the mission of getting Learning Center students proficient in English.

Also this week, our Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund donors are starting to receive their notification of their scholarship recipients. The notification includes the photo of the AGB Scholarship picscholarship recipient such as presented here and a separate document detailing the overall progress the Learning Center is making this year.

Angela wrote in her report to the AGB Scholarship Fund donors; “There are not enough words to thank you for all of the lives you have touched through your generosity. We are only two months into this school year, but we are already seeing great progress, so we will continue to work hard to enrich the lives of our students and inspire tomorrow’s leaders.” 

Note to Angela: The lives of the”Friends of Copey” are also touched by these amazing  experiences. We really value the honest and straightforward relationship with the Copey community as we share in a common goal.

Other News

By the end of this week, we will wrap up our effort to raise the funds needed to fly Celeste, Noelia, and Angela to the USA in June. Unofficially, the reports indicate we are in excellent shape to reach our goal. I had no doubt most of the E&H College grads I would call on would appreciate the work being done at the Learning Center and would want to be included in this most significant event. Until the official report is in, please accept my deepest expression of gratitude.

In closing, I am remembering one of my four remaining aunts who passed away yesterday.

Elizabeth (Aunt Sissy) Goble resided in Virginia and went to her “final home”  after spending more than 90 years with us. Aunt Sissy was more than “really special”. We lived only a couple of houses apart while I was growing up and she provided the best zzzAunt Sissy

getaway or hideout any kid could ever want. Her home felt like a sacred place I could go to feel important and safe. As a small boy running around the neighborhood, I could always sneak into her home while no one was there and treat myself to my favorite candy she always left out for me (I learned that later). Even at Christmas time, she would replace the candy with my favorite hazel nuts she knew I loved to eat. I can even see myself picking through the nut bowl to get them. Even now, I still eat hazel nuts. Oh, the many memories we shared.

As a teenager, she would patiently and tirelessly listen to all my deep adolescent secrets and wild stories I would not ever share with anyone else. Then, she would provide me her wise counsel and loving guidance that probably served to keep me out of serious trouble.

As I grew into manhood, I thought she often knew more about me than my own parents and certainly knew more about life than my street corner buddies. She could be trusted with any secrets I shared with her…a true confidant.

Her living room was like a classy showroom filled with interesting things no one else had…pictures and photographs, little gadgets, fancy chairs and pillows, the works. She really knew how to decorate. Except for the candy dish or the nut bowl, I would not dare touch a thing in that living room although she would never really mind. We hung out in the TV room.

There were none more stylish in dress than Aunt Sissy. She knew things and could easily fit in with the rich and famous or live in the Hamptons. None was more sophisticated in demeanor or appearance, none more understanding in times of trouble, and none more loving when you really needed to feel loved. With all of this going for her, she was just an everyday woman…but still more than “really special”. 

She is gone now but I feel like I had already been missing her. I feel like she went somewhere else a few years ago. Someplace I could not go. Uncle Skeets, her “best buddy” and husband of 67 years, passed away in 2010. Losing her “best buddy” changed things. Her failing health did not afford me the opportunity to sit and visit as we did so many times in the past.

Pardon me for a while, I need to go buy some hazel nuts. “Rest in Peace!”






“Teach the Children Well…!

“I continue to believe that if children are given the necessary tools to succeed, they will succeed beyond their wildest dreams!”   — David Vitter, U.S. Senator

WOW!  We just finished the first quarter of 2016 ending in March and I checked on our “Friends of Copey” goals to see how we are progressing.

Check the link: https://friendsofcopey.com/2016/01/04/a-friend-in-2016/.

We are doing great and on track to meet and to exceed all of the things we set as goals. This means we are off to a fantastic start. Thanks to all!

A summary of our progress indicates the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund Drive was successful providing as many as 15 scholarships for Learning Center students in 2016.

Angela Letter 1

We have raised 75% of the funds for the Executive Director’s position. Fund-raising is on hold until May after we complete the more urgent fund-raising efforts for the airfare for our travelers heading to Emory & Henry College in June.

Early reports on the Copey students’ airfare fund-raising effort indicate over 50% of our goal has been achieved after the first week. My dear and devoted E&H College friends, classmates, and associates are rising to this special occasion.

During May and June, we will experience a very extraordinary and historical arrangement with students going to Copey to teach and then return to campus with two Copey students. We are certain at least four students will have an experience of a life time and I suspect many others will too…including me.

We have also made significant progress with our local Kiwanis Club’s support which Jefferson Elementary Pen Pal

includes receiving the “green light” to establish a “K-Kids” organization at the Learning Center.

Discussions are underway with potentially additional Pen Pal locations. Our “Friends” base of support is growing and we are ahead of our Blog’s site visits compared to last year at this time.

Therefore, after a full three months, we have done very well and expect to take our performance level up a notch in the second three months.

Other News

On the E&H College campus, Casey and Xavier will be one of the headliners in this week’s First Project Ampersand Day celebration.  What is Project Ampersand?  The college has officially and formally established an avenue for students to explore and connect, and design and test solutions to problems they as students may feel very passionate about. Under “Project Ampersand” students are empowered to work on projects affecting our community and the world at large. zzz Casey and Xavier

Casey and Xavier will be presenting information regarding their volunteer plans with the Copey Learning Center, where they will be teaching classes to English as a Second Language students on topics they are passionate about. Presentations will be heard by other students, faculty, and the public. As a result, a whole new audience will hear for the first time about “Friends of Copey” and the work we are supporting. Before Casey and Xavier even leave the campus, their involvement is proving to be a very positive opportunity to develop awareness. You two really “ROCK”!

Understanding Foreign Cultures

Education Exchange at the Copey Learning Center, Costa Rica: A Work in Progress
Casey Heinlein & Xavier Marshall; Advisors: Dr. Alma P. Ramirez-Trujillo, Dr. Celeste Gaia & Michael Gess

We are all very pleased and proud of both Casey and Xavier.

You can let them know you support their plans and willingness to share their time and talents for others. They are now “Friends” of our Blog.







“The Real Messengers…!

“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.”
  — John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States

Home At Last!  And I am 100% recovered from this recent cold and discomfort. Being back home is making a big difference even though I enjoyed my travels. Excluding the illness, it was a great experience and my most recent Posts explains why.

Turning our focus some on the daily activities at the Learning Center, we continue to see the joy of learning showing on thezzz CLC student rabbit faces of our Learning Center students. I remind you that topics such as conservation, recycling, exploration of nature, among other important areas of learning are used to help facilitate the education of English speaking, writing, and reading. I remember learning my “R’s” much the same way over half a century ago.  zzz CLC Students 5

The Learning Center’s high school students will be doing their community service work for graduation by planning workshops/lessons for the primary school students to promote creativity, teamwork, and care for the environment.zzzCLC students 3

Recently, the Learning Center held an Open House which was reported to be a huge hit. The parents saw their children’s work, learned about the process followed for creating unit and lesson plans, and connected with the volunteer teachers, Marguerite

zzz CLC Parents.

and Markki. The parents completed a Learning Center survey and had very nice things to say about the progress of the center and the educational development of their children.


Other News!

I thought I would share a few of the reactions submitted when Angela posted on the Learning Center’s Facebook page a couple of months ago news about our two students heading to Virginia in June.

Angela posted:

Today I had the privilege of informing two of our Copey Learning Center students (Celeste and Noelia) that they have won scholarships to study abroad in the US next summer. We’re all so excited about this opportunity! (Also, what a fun blessing it is to be the bearer of good news!)  It’s two weeks in Virginia, one at a youth leadership program at Emory & Henry College, and one with local host families, thanks to an alum who has taken a special interest in our project.  Note: click on the Copey Learning Center above for access to the website for the Learning Center.

Celeste Emory Copey student               Noelia Emory Student Copey

FB Friends’ Responses:

That’s so exciting for them! Massive congrats!

Oh my gosh this is so great! I am so excited for them.

Good to a great opportunity for the girls…. I wish everything will be perfect… Successes and that is good for the students of CLC, maybe others also have the chance at another time.

You are amazing for setting this up! Congratulations to you and them! 

Angie..Congrats to the two !     

You Rock!                                                                             

SO amazing!!! WOOT!

Air Travel Fund-Raiser Initiated

This week we started the effort to raise funds for the airfare for the two students and Angela. We are optimistic that E&H College graduates and other college affiliated members we have contacted will cover the majority (or all) of the air travel expenses. “Friends”keep your prayers coming as we move into this very critical time. However, I am not worried about us coming through. I am trusting those who have been invited to support this fund-raiser will appreciate the time and effort put into developing this pathway and opportunity and will recognize the significance. This will certainly impact the futures of Celeste and Noelia along with the many other students in the Copey community who are closely watching this event take place.

If you are not affiliated with E&H College and wish to provide some support, send me an email at atbroady@aol.com and I will provide the instructions for donating. “Friends” thank you for helping us get this far…much further than we could have imagined.






I Believe….!

“Every time I hear a new-born baby cry, or touch a leaf, or see the sky, then I know why…I Believe!”        Written by Drake, Graham, Shirl, and Stillman

This is my day of departure from Virginia and Tennessee and it has been very productive and fun overall. I had the very wonderful pleasure to actually meet both Casey and Xavier. My individual meetings Casey

with both allowed me to get to know each a little better. I am very impressed with the caliber of these students. They will leave in a few weeks for Copey with enthusiasm, confidence, knowledge, and some special talents the Copey community and the students will enjoy. My visits with them convinced me that their time in Copey will result in


very positive impacts that will lead the way for future Bonner students to follow. I continue to express my heartfelt gratitude for Dr. Gaia, Dr. Ramirez, Michael  Guess, Angela, and others who have gone beyond the “call of duty” to establish these “pathways” of opportunities.


As a side note, my time on campus attending meetings and interacting with my associates as we perform our duties as Board of Trustees, deepens my  love and respect for this college. College President Jake Schrum, the faculty, and staff all work tirelessly to make Emory & Henry College a very special and unique place to learn and work.

Related, please recall I mentioned last week that I had a very special experience flying into Tri-Cities, Tennessee. I indicated wanting to tell you about Makayla Hilt. First, understand that I travel across the country several times each year to fulfill my duties as a Trustee and see my family. I  see and meet interesting people at times along the way. On the last leg of my trip from Atlanta to Tri-Cities, Tennessee, I was seated next to a young lady. I was tired from a long day of travel and she also appeared tired (sleeping) as I sat down. It was that somewhat awkward moment when you question whether to bother someone, be courteous, or just show some sign of good ole southern style breeding by saying “hello”. Afterall, I am sort of in the South. Well, I said “hello”. She responded with a very surprising and energetic “hello” and it no longer seemed that we were too tired to talk. I soon discovered of all things, she was a senior at Emory & Henry College. In all of my years traveling to this area, I have never met a current student from E&H College. I have met others who knew of the college and maybe even graduated, but I never met a current E&H college student.

Hilt Family

Being a trustee having a chance encounter of this nature is one of the most rewarding experiences I could have. I was sitting with a student extremely positive about the college and to hear her perspectives and impressions of the college was pure joy. Makayla has a few weeks before she marches at graduation and will continue work towards her Masters degree. All this brought about unspeakable pride in Makayla and my college.

I fully enjoyed our time together and as an added bonus, I was privileged to meet both parents after we departed the plane. These  proud parents encouraged Makayla to attend E&H College although it was only about 15 miles from her home. They are now witnessing the developing promise of an excellent education and the positive future for their daughter. I thank them for putting their faith in our college. Although I will not be in attendance at graduation, I will be sharing their day of joy and pride for Makayla. I am a proud parent who had a son graduate from E&H College and I assure all parents of graduates, it will be an unforgettable day.

I am thankful two tired travelers were not too tired to speak to one another. So whenever you may be flying into Tri-Cities, Tennessee, say hello to the one sitting next to you. You may find the journey can be as great as your destination…especially if the someone is affiliated with E&H College.

One added feature to this trip included a quick visit with my lifelong friend Curtis “Duck” Montgomery. Some have been introduced Curtis Montgomery

to “Duck” or already knew of his notoriety. He resides only about 20 minutes from the E&H College campus. He will be 101 years of age in July. He is amazing and continues to enjoy his sharpness of mind and that very familiar sense of humor he has long been known for. “Duck”…Keep on Pushing”!

To learn more about “Duck” click on the links https://friendsofcopey.com/2015/11/09/saluting-great-americans/ and link  https://friendsofcopey.com/2014/11/09/special-veterans-day-message/.

There is so much to share following a week like this. Before closing, be alerted that I will announce this week the start-up of our campaign to raise money for Angela, Celeste, and Noelia’s travel cost to E&H College in June. I spoke to several of my colleagues while on campus and several reported their interest and support. We are ready to move forward with our plans. Next week I will make the official announcement in my Post and will keep you informed of our progress. Keep your prayers and positive thoughts flowing. Our goal is to have the donations be as close to 100% E&H College donors but nothing will be turned away. Specific instructions for donating will be provided next week.

In closing, I thank my son, daughter-in-law, and my three wonderful grand-kids for taking such good care of me on this trip. In the throes of very serious medical issues confronting my daughter-in-law, the family somehow manages to keep it all together and deals with life one day at a time.

Yes, I know why I believe!