Those defining moments..!

I challenge you to join the ranks of those people who live what they teach, who walk their talk.                     By Tony Robbins                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             I spoke to the Richland Kiwanis Club about “Friends Of Copey” last week. This Richland club is one of several Kiwanis Clubs within my general community.

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I enjoy introducing new audiences to the wonderful country of Costa Rica, to the very unusual community of Copey, and to the fantastic work and relationship which has developed between the Learning Center and “Friends”. I am particularly fond of Kiwanis because Kiwanis throughout the world is focused on improving the lives of “Kids”.

I continue to be asked “WHY” did I select Copey and the Learning Center to get involved in. And, why did I not get involved in something in America or another country or town?

During my first “fishing trip” to Costa Rica, I learned there was a tremendous need for English teachers. That sounded great to me and I was ready and willing to volunteer to

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Copey Learning Center Graduates 2016

teach in Costa Rica. During my second trip to Costa Rica about a year later, I traveled to Copey to be interviewed to work as a short-term “volunteer teacher”. This was my plan even up until the morning I walked into the Learning Center to meet with its Founder, Seidy and Anne, a volunteer. There was no prior thought about anything except to volunteer if I was accepted.

During the discussion about the work of the Learning Center, how it began, and what it intended to accomplish, something very strange and powerful swept over me. I could feel their passion and their strong devotion to the mission of the Learning Center. They simply wanted children in their community to have the opportunity to realize their potential and learning English was the key. While sitting inside the Learning Center I could see first-hand the many challenges facing Seidy, Anne, and others  who believed in the vision of the Learning Center. I proclaimed to them both then and there that I wanted to help. For me, this was a defining moment!

That strange and powerful change in my original plans is what I call “divine intervention”. It only took about 15 minutes talking with Seidy and Anne, before I began changing my plans. I no longer wanted to teach for two or three months.

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Seidy, Anne, and Arthur 

Just that quickly, I was thinking much larger about ways I could serve and support their mission. I knew then that whatever I did, would need to include my friends and family. We all working together would make huge differences that would go far beyond even the imaginations of many in the Copey community. I could not wait to get started.                               

Fast forward nearly five years, the evidence we have documented is clear and convincing. What happened during that short time while sitting in the Learning Center on my first visit, was “divine intervention”. So the very bold answer to the often asked question about WHY did I chose Copey, the truth is with the help of “divine intervention”, Copey chose me…and in many ways, it has also chosen many of you.

One more thing…! When we engage partnerships such as Pen Pals using local US schools or the work of the “Pathway” project where US students travel to the Learning Center and students from Copey travel to America, important connections are being made,

Casey and student girls

Casey 2016 E&H Student Volunteer 

relationships are being develop, understanding of different cultures happens, and the list goes on confirming this is far more than a small rural community thousands miles away being helped by “Friends”. This is truly an international project impacting how kids and adults view one another from two or more countries while many other countries frequently visit our Blog and watch us each week.

I believe each of us have a “God’s Purpose” and many of us are fortunate to find and recognize the purpose when the opportunity comes knocking. My headline quote last week stated, “Opportunity doesn’t make appointments, you have to be ready when it arrives.” 

Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund Drive           Goal=$1,500.00       Actual=$1,500.00

THANK YOU!  We are quickly moving to the end of our AGB Scholarship Fund Drive and this has been the very best year to date. We have reached our goal and can begin officially notifying parents that their students should be getting ready to attend the Learning Center in a couple of weeks. There are still a few past donors I have not heard from so there may be more AGB Scholarship recipients than we are planning on. We hope so! Our goal is based on a minimum level of support…not the maximum. There are still children being left out.

Executive Director Salary Support         Goal=$2,000                  Actual=$950.00

The pace has picked up with the ED Salary Support Fund Drive. This drive does not end on February 1, 2017 and continues until we reached our goal. Our first two years fell short of the goal with only donations. Both years we successfully supplemented the donations with “parking lot or yard sales”. I continue to encourage you to help support this effort and recognize how valuable strong leadership at the Learning Center helps to protect and ensure our investments in the education of the students attending the Learning Center.

How do you make a donation? Directions can be found by clicking on the following link.

https://friendsofcopey.com/2017/01/09/being-the-giver-is-being-the-receiver/

So much news to cover and unfortunately, to save you some time, I am closing out. Next week will be new information about our plans to help Copey build a new Learning Center, final update on the AGB Scholarship Fund Drive, the profile of our new E&H College volunteer heading to Copey, and much more. You do so much and please just take a moment to enjoy your success!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Chance Happens Everyday…!

“When you focus on problems, you have more problems. But when you focus on possibilities, you will have more opportunities.”  ~ by Zig Ziglar

One unmistakably and wonderful thing about “Friends of Copey” is that everyone has a “chance” each day to make a difference in the life of a young student. This thought rang true to me when I read the very heartwarming letter sent to me from the Learning Center’s Board President and its Board Members. Their letter provided below is in response to our pledge to continue our support to the Learning Center in 2017. Among numerous commitments made, our pledge includes providing another 15 scholarships to families in need and financial support for the salary of the Executive Director’s position. It also includes us initiating efforts to build a new Learning Center. The Copey community is extremely appreciative for the support we provide. Their letter to us clearly expresses this point. letter-from-clc-boardAnne G. Broady Scholarship Fund Drive           Goal=$1,500.00       Actual=$1,300.00

The AGB Scholarship Fund Drive is speeding towards success. The challenge issued by one donor has proven to be very beneficial. Recall the challenge was for any two donors to increase their donation by $100 over their 2016 donation. My cousin Stephanie T. from Hampton, Virginia along with a dear high school classmate Kay F. from Wytheville, Virginia both  very quickly responded to the challenge. Virginians, thanks for leading the way. Lisa B., we all thank you for your generosity as well! We never had a challenge before and in typical fashion, you led the way.  kindergarten-student

I am still eagerly waiting on several other long-term donors to get on board to help us quickly reach our goals. Notify me of your pledge or make your donation by February 1st. The Learning Center must begin issuing the scholarships before school starts. Thanks Everyone!

Executive Director Salary Support         Goal=$2,000                  Actual=$300.00

Our goal to support the ED position is plugging along like the slow turtle. With our two years of experience, we know this will all work out and we will achieve our goal. I repeat how important this financial support is to the overall success of the Learning Center. All great ventures demand strong and competent leadership. We have solid leadership and our plans for 2017 depends on an experienced captain guiding this ship to success. Donations of any amount are both needed and appreciated.

Other News!

Some have asked about our progress on the new building plans. Remember, we are in stage 1 and this is all about gathering information needed to determine whether we move on to stage 2. Soon, we will have a plan, a design, and a cost estimate. Will keep all “Friends” updated as new developments take  place.Celebration Time

Last week we hit the 10,000 mark for site visits. AMAZING! This is a wonderful way to start the year. We plan to reach the 13,000 plus mark by the end of 2017. You can help by staying connected and visiting the Posts.

Melody Lipford, a student attending Emory & Henry College, is preparing to travel to Costa Rica in May. I will provide more information on Melody next week.booklets                 2016-foc-post-collection

In closing, I received my collection of the 2016 “Friends of Copey” Posts. I am very indebted to my dear friend Bev for taking the time to gather each of the 55 Posts published in 2016 and put each in a binder. These make outstanding source documents especially during presentations to groups.  Bev…THANKS for your hard work and support. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“He Had a Dream”

“And this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning.”                By Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.

Today, I wish to express my respect for Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.. On this day, we honor his work, vision, courage, and achievements. The meanings behind such comments as “not the color but the content of one’s character” and “let us not wallow in the valley of despair”, expressed by Dr. King during the “I Have A Dream” speech, have often served as a couple of my sources of inspiration and encouragement over the years. I believe Dr. King wanted us to lead the way anywhere we found people in need of help…anywhere!

Even in Copey, “content of character” is important. A quality education helps to build and nourish character. Dr. King understood this as he witnessed and fought against educational inequalities. And, he understood the impacts poor education had on the lives of children and families. “Friends” we are in the “Dream” business as we work to help a small community of parents and children…all with big dreams. When I first visited Copey, I saw and heard the sounds of a community unwilling to wallow in the valley of despair. It was then and right then my dream of “Friends of Copey” was conceived. Nearly five years later, the “Dream” is alive and well.  Thank you all.

USA…Here we come! The Learning Center completed its selection process and has named the two new selected students heading to America in June. Fatima Leiva Chinchilla, a 16-year-old student starting the 11th grade in a few weeks will be preparing to travel to this country.

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Ariana Granados Cruz

fatima

Fatima Leiva Chinchilla

Fatima will be joined by 15-year-old Ariana Granados Cruz who is currently in the 9th grade. Both successfully competed for the opportunity to travel to the US. More information about both students will be shared as the next few weeks and months pass. Today, we congratulate them for their outstanding scholastic work and their progress learning English.

Also, plans are underway to include Ana Yancey as the chaperone for their journey to the US and we have invited Angela, last year’s chaperone, to return as well. If all goes well, all four travelers will visit our country and spend time on the campus of Emory & Henry College (E&H) in Emory, Virginia.

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In case you are wondering, yes there is an E&H College student selected and preparing to go to the Copey Learning Center in the late Spring.  More information will be provided on this student volunteer in the upcoming Posts. This student will be the E&H College representative following last year’s pioneers, Casey and Xavier.

Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund Drive            GOAL=$1,500.00              ACTUAL=$800.00

After the first week, I have pledges totaling over 50% of our 2017 Goal. Obviously, the response has been exceptional after one week. All donations are needed (in any amount) and essential to the ongoing success of the Learning Center.

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   Anne G. Broady

I appreciate the early donations and hope most of you previous donors will continue to support this scholarship fund. First time donors are also invited to support this fund.

For your information, one very special donor has issued a donation CHALLENGE. She writes: “I donated $200.00 last year, $100.00 previous years. I will be donating $300.00 this year but would donate $500.00 if we get two friends to up their donation by $100.00.” I extend the challenge to all “Friends” and will report any positive responses I receive. Hopefully, we can cash in on her $500.00 offer.

Students such as Noelia, Celeste, and Mariana have benefited from your past support. These three students (all prior recipients of scholarship support) provide excellent examples of how lives are being impacted. Most probable, neither Noelia or Celeste would have visited America last June and Mariana would not have been so successful with the Spelling Bee Contest. There are many others needing help.

Executive Director Salary Support                   GOAL=$2,000                  ACTUAL=$100

We have made some progress with this fund-raiser and typically it moves along slower than the scholarship fund drive. All “Friends” are encouraged to consider this fund just as important to the Scholarship Fund. The students we support MUST have a quality educational experience which only strong leadership at the Learning Center can ensure and provide each day.

Instructions for making donations are provided in last week’s Posthttps://friendsofcopey.com/2017/01/09/being-the-giver-is-being-the-receiver/

How About That Movie?

If you have not yet seen the movie “Hidden Figures”, get moving! I have seen the movie twice and have read the book. The movie is a box office hit and well worth your time to go see. A few have asked just how Ihidden-figures am related to the main character, Katherine Johnson? Aunt Katherine first married my mother’s brother, James Goble. Uncle James died in 1956 from an inoperable brain tumor while in his mid 40’s. Aunt Katherine later married James Johnson. Both Aunt Katherine at age 98 and husband James live in eastern Virginia and have been married 58 years. Congrats Aunt Katherine…you (including Dorothy and Mary) deserve this and much more!

 

 

 

 

 

Being the Giver…Is Being the Receiver

 

“I don’t think you ever stop giving. I think it’s an on-going process. And it’s not just about being able to write a check. It’s being able to touch somebody’s life.”                                                    ~ by   Oprah Winfrey

Today, this is the official “kick off” of the Anne G. Broady (AGB) Scholarship Fund Drive and our Executive Director (ED) Salary Support Drive.

Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund Drive            GOAL=$1,500              ACTUAL=$100

Today starts our 4th year for the AGB Scholarship Fund Drive and historically, it has been one ofIMG_5365 our biggest accomplishments. More than 60 scholarships have been awarded to students. Consistent with the two previous years, we set the minimum goal of $1,500. This will support at least 15 students in 2017.  The AGB Scholarship Fund Drive will be concluded on February 1, 2017. This provides the time needed for the Learning Center to award the scholarship to the family/student before school begins in early February.

Executive Director Salary Support                   GOAL=$2,000                  ACTUAL=$00.00

We have now completed two years providing financial support for the salary of a (part-time) Executive Director.

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Ana Yancy

This position provides the leadership and direction to the volunteer support and continuity to the ongoing success of the Learning Center. This is the only paid position and evidence is now clear this investment pays off very well. Both the first ED, Angela and the current ED, Ana Yancy, have demonstrated their capabilities by improving the Center’s educational services and building on its future success. The absence of this paid position requires the unwise dependency on outside volunteers coming in and out of the country/community on short-term assignments to meet the overall goals of the Learning Center’s mission. Volunteers are very valuable and essential to the Learning Center’s success in meeting everyday teaching needs. However, the continuity, consistency, and stability of the Learning Center demands someone willing to tackle the challenges in keeping the Center moving forward. I strongly encourage your support and on-going investment which is critical to the future of the Learning Center.

DONATION METHODS

To make a donation in any amount you desire to the AGB Scholarship Fund or the ED Position or both…we have the same two methods of payment as in the previous years:

  1. The Learning Center’s PayPal can be used to make donations directly. Please access the PayPal system by clicking on…http://copeylearningcenter.org/. Locate the PayPal logo in the upper right hand corner of the homepage. To make certain the Learning Center recognizes your donation and how it should be applied, indicate in the comment section that the donation supports the “AGBSF” or the “EDF” (Executive Director Fund).
  2. The alternate method available is by sending your donation directly to me by check. MAKE the check out to me, Arthur T. Broady and not to “Friends of Copey”…PLEASE! There is no local “Friends of Copey” bank account. Once received, I will then deposit the funds into my account and pay the Learning Center directly using the same Learning Center PayPal system as in Method #1. Your name as the donor is entered and is designated where it is to be applied per your directions. The PayPal system will issue me a receipt which I then send to you as “proof” or “confirmation” the donation has been submitted to the Learning Center in your name. Send your check/donation to:

Arthur T. Broady, 725 N. Center Parkway, Apt. N-201, Kennewick, WA 99336   or                           Phone: 1-509-783-5897 if you have questions.

TODAY’S FINAL WORDS

Friends, both fund-raising drives are very important. How is it so? We have only to return to the 2016 Scorecard and reports on our efforts and accomplishments to find the answers. Students, parents, and the Copey community have been in partnership with “Friends” for over 5 years and 3 of those years have included our financial support. The Learning Center is thriving. During our short history as a partner, we have added schools, a college, a major community service organization, active and retired followers, and other workingzzzBanner of FOCpartners. New potential partners are watching and evaluating our efforts and continuous commitments. Our success has even emboldened us to explore building a new Learning Center.

I am planning to issue another Post later this week. There is developing news about our two new students selected to travel to the USA in June I will share. They will attend the Emory & Henry College’s “Summer Scholars Institute and Leadership Program”. Also, I plan to have a few comments about the book and the movie “Hidden Figures”. In prior Posts, I have mentioned my Aunt Katherine. I plan to share some of my reactions to the movie and the book. If you have seen the movie or read the book and wish to comment…send your thoughts to me at atbroady@aol.com or make the comment using this Post.

I invite each “Friend” to experience the “pure joy” our experiences afford us in this project. The overall and individual efforts are the minimum for most…while the results are gigantic for many. Therefore, our motto continues to be true…“When many will do just a little…A lot will get done for Kids!”

 

 

 

 

Final Performance Report on the Blog

Some Unfinished 2016 Performance Business!

To complete the close out of the 2016 Performance Report, I needed to wait on the end of the year to report on the 2016 Goal set for the Blog. Recall, the goal was to increase the “overall” site visits to 3,520 (10%) by the end of 2016, up from 3,200 at the start of 2016. I admit…this was a very optimistic goal and unfortunately it was not achieved.               Well….that is the “BAD” news.

AND…the “GOOD” news is the following:

The “details” in the Blog performance report provide some very positive information. There were 3,207 site visits documented at the end of 2015. At the end of 2016 year, the count was only slightly higher at 3,220. Clearly, the count ended way below the 10% overall goal.

2016-stats-for-blog-2

2015=3,207 and 2016=3,220

However, looking more closely at the data, the Blog recorded having  2,353 site visits from the USA at the end of 2015. At the end of 2016, the Blog recorded 2,472 site visits from the USA. This represents a 5% increase in USA site visits for this year. This is good news!

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End of 2016

And…now for the drum roll….!  There has been a significant increase in the Costa Rican site visits during the 2016 year. At the end of 2015 we recorded 263 Costa Rican site visits. In 2016 the count jumped to 500 or an increase of 90%. This indicates the Costa Rican country is increasing its interest/awareness of “Friends of Copey” and also becoming more familiar with the work of the Learning Center.

I believe the best explanation for the small overall increase in site visits is due to the significant drop off of site visits this year from other countries such as Brazil. Brazil alone recorded 241 site visits in 2015, then dropped to only 25 in 2016. Most of the Brazil loss transferred to Costa Rica…and that is very good news! successThis was one of our

non-financial goals in 2016 helping to pull down our non-financial score. But, the details provide a much brighter look at how well Blogging is working. I was way off setting a 10% increase in overall site visits for a goal. I did not anticipate a re-adjustment or a significant shift in site visits between Costa Rica and Brazil. Regardless, the more important numbers reflect our ongoing ability to keep “Friends” viable and supportive and demonstrate we are quickly building a base of Costa Rican followers. Both are excellent signs for another year of success.

As you can all see, you visiting the Blog on a frequent basis is what gets recorded and helps keep this form of communication effective and useful for all…and I thank you!

Coming Up In the Next Post!

  1. Official start-up for the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund Drive
  2. Official start-up for the Executive Director Salary Fund Drive

 

 

 

Everyday…A New Beginning!

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”                                              by  Martin Luther King, Jr.

TODAY IS THE DAY!

I have been promising some really “good news” for months and today I am officially announcing on behalf of “Friends of Copey” our plans to begin the long process of helping the Copey community build a new Learning Center.

Good News

The idea to help the Learning Center’s physical conditions and help improve the overall learning environment and resources has been on our hearts for more than a year. We have witnessed the enthusiasm and energy among the staff working with very limited resources and we have seen some amazing results.copey-studentsWe can only wonder what success there would be at the Learning Center if we could only improve some part of the educational experience. Lately, the possibility for helping with these improvements has become much brighter as several encouraging events have come about. And, I am a very strong believer in the words above belonging to Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.. It is simply a matter of faith to consider such a possibility and again, a matter of faith to take such a bold step.

For the record, “Friends of Copey” by definition is “Faith in Action!”  So my message to all… let’s begin by believing this is doable.

We start with Stage 1 of the process. This involves accumulating the information such as the accessibility and cost of utilities, property ownership issues, building design and purpose, and much more so we can develop a cost estimate for the project.

zzzBanner of FOCWe anticipate this collection of information and cost determination will take at least 60 days to complete. Based on the cost estimate, then we will need to determine if we have a realistic chance to raise the money needed to get approval to build. If we conclude we have a realistic chance to raise the funds needed, then we move on to Stage 2 and get busy with fund-raising. If not, we return to the cost estimate and see if we can reduce cost to make it work. Dale Carnegie is quoted as saying … “We all have possibilities we don’t know about. We can do things we don’t even dream we can do.”   Celebration Time

So, one big step at a time. We can celebrate the fact that we are even thinking this big. We have a pretty good chance for success. Our major focus for funding sources will be aimed at corporate donors and various foundations.

I will continue to provide more details of our progress as the weeks go by. Your prayers and strong positive thinking will be needed to meet this challenge. You know how we work…“we believe it… then we see it!”

Today’s special announcement will be followed later in the week with a final wrap up on our Goal Performance for 2016. Starting next week, we will officially begin the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund Drive and the Executive Director’s Salary Support Fund Drive.

Happy New Year to All!