Happy Easter

Happy Holy Week (Semana Santa)!  

Today ends the first quarter of our calendar year. And, it has been an amazing three months of accomplishments.

First,  two very successful fundraising activities were conducted. Donations in support of the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund and salary support for the Executive Director came in way ahead of schedule and exceeded our goals.

When “Friends” began in late 2013, the working concept was to establish meaningful “partnerships” to help reach our goals. This has been the successful working model we have used time and time again.

A case study of “partnership at work” included the recent interaction between the Copey Learning Center, the Utah Team, and “Friends”.


Standing Together on Holy Ground

It was a major logistical challenge to deliver 400 pounds of school supplies to a rural community outside our country. Also, there were housing accommodations, meals, and transportation needed to be available for the Utah Team to enjoy during their visit. Each of these challenges were met because of the close planning and coordination that took place between the Utah Team, the Learning Center, and “Friends”. This involved addressing numerous details and effective communications among all of us.

“All Kids Can Be Great Kids!”

The Utah Team feel they were well attended to and the plans put in place all worked well. Mostly, their time was spent with children and the adults in the community and with little need for concern about health, well-being, and safety. Time was all “well spent” creating lasting memories. They have even stated being in Copey was a life-changing experience.

Today, another “partnership” is busy at work. The Copey Learning Center, Emory & Henry College (E&H), Tri-Cities Industry Kiwanis Club, and “Friends” are gearing up for “Pathway Project 2018”.

“Friends” will conduct a fundraiser to support “Pathway Project 2018”. Emory & Henry College has two students preparing now for their departure to Copey in May and the Learning Center students are preparing for their trip to the United States and E&H College in early June. My Kiwanis Club is in place to manage the donations once the requests for support go out. This four-way partnership worked well last year and we are looking forward to another successful “partnership” year.

Final Word

Meadow Elementary School Principal and leader of the Utah Team, Carolyn Johnson,


“Heart of a Servant”

plans to share soon as my “guest blogger” the story of their recent trip to Copey for us to all enjoy.


Also, the local Lehi, Utah newspaper recently covered the Utah Team’s trip to Copey and provided excellent background on how the school focused on the Copey Learning Center’s need for help.



We just knew 2018 would bring great and wonderful things for us to experience. So, no matter what part of the world you reside in as a “Friend of Copey” and no matter what kind or type of support you provide to “Friends”, this first quarter has been one we can all find something to be proud and excited about. Don’t leave…the next quarter promises even more for us to shout about.

Happy Easter to all!



“Friends…Caring Magnets!”

“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.”  By  H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Welcome Home to Lehi!

About this time last week, we were tracking the movement of the Utah Team as they arrived in Costa Rica and later on to Copey. And, it feels wonderful this week to be bathing in the sunlight of excitement and joy. The team had an amazing experience and from all indications, their expectations were all exceeded. They accumulated a very long list of great memories I am told.  utah-team-and-kids.jpgMy impression is the excitement began quickly upon arrival in Costa Rica.

The 400 pounds of school supplies were successfully delivered last Sunday. Utah Team.jpgThey spent time on Monday helping unpack supplies and worked with the Copey Learning Center students. They visited Larry and Cindy, Larry’s Fold-A-Mansion construction site, visited both the local elementary and high school, skyped with their Meadow Elementary students, shared a farewell dinner with several board members, and did much more in the short three plus days in Costa Rica. I am so grateful for Carolyn, Tamarie, Lisa, and Debbi. You all made a difference!  A few more of the great photos are shared.

Utah Team and Skyping  Utah Team and kids 6

Utah Team and kids 3  Utah Team and kids 2   Utah team and kids 8  utah-team-and-larry.jpgPossibly, next week you will be treated with a first-hand trip report by Principal Carolyn Johnson. She has accepted my invitation to be the “guest Blogger” and plans to share many of the details and impressions she and her team experienced in Copey.

Pathway Project 2018

Being back at my college here in southwest Virginia and east Tennessee provides me the opportunity to serve and support the institution that made a huge difference in my life. zzzEmory image 5It also provides me the opportunity to visit with both family and friends. Among the friends are those “Friends” who support the Pathway Project. So wonderful to know there are many “Friends” gearing up to support the arrival of two Copey Learning Center students in June. Additionally, there are two Emory & Henry College (E&H) students preparing to leave for Copey in May.

The E&H College Alumni magazine hit the streets recently and “Friends of Copey”, “TheImage result for ampersand images“Pathway Project”, and our “Friend” Jane Rutledge were all featured in the magazine. Such a thrill to see our “Friends” story being told in such eloquent fashion.

Our college emphasizes “Ampersand” as one of its true educational values. “Ampersand” focuses on stressing the importance of education and the common good for our society. In other words, Ampersand is seeing a problem, obtaining the needed knowledge/skills, and applying these to achieve a solution that serves or benefits our world community. We believe with sincerity that “Friends of Copey” models the principles of “Ampersand” and grateful to be included as an example for some to learn about and others to follow. The article concludes by saying “This is just one story that exemplifies E&H College’s commitment to educating students who understand how to build relationships and solve problems.” That’s Ampersand…&…that’s “Friends”.

If you are an alumni, check out the story in the current March issue. You won’t be disappointed.



“Have Supplies…Will Travel!”

“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good teacher.”                                   By Temple Grandin
My Oh My!.…The wonderment of this “Friends” project continues. Now, we have our Utah Team safely inside of Costa Rica and enjoying their short stay in Copey. They departed Saturday evening and arrived early Sunday morning and were greeted by their Copey hosts. utah-photo.jpg

This is what 400 pounds of school supplies looks like being checked in as additional baggage.  Each bag arrived safely with them.

These supplies will take an enormous financial burden off of the Learning Center by providing all of the students educational resources for a long time. The Team plans to Utah 4visit the local elementary school in Copey and deliver some of the supplies as a “goodwill gesture” to benefit more of the students in the community.

Here are some early photos showing their arrival and meeting up with Ana Yancy. The baggage arrived successfully without any issues with Customs and then meeting Ana Yancy meant all went well. Everyone could take a sigh of relief.

Utah 5.jpgAlso, here is a photo showing the Team gathered at Catalina’s home in Copey. Catalina opened her new home to the guests where they can all stay together, relax, and comfortably enjoy the natural beauty of the region.

I received a note from Tamarie after her first few hours in Copey. She said…“These people are incredible. I LOVE them already!  What a wonderful opportunity! And, Tamarie is absolutely correct. Copey is something very special because of the Copey people and their genuine kindness. This Utah Team is also very special. I see this quality in all of the “Friends of Copey”.

Using Skype earlier today, I spoke with all of the Team and witnessed first-hand their excitement. They had begun to unpack the supplies and it was amazing to see all of the various items now on hand. Their afternoon will include hanging out with Larry and Cindy and visiting some wonderful places around Copey. There will soon be more photos and events to share.

Katherine Johnson

My introduction to Tamarie came about during a flight to Atlanta in October 2017. AszzzBanner of FOC passengers and unacquainted, we began to talk about “Hidden Figures” and Aunt Katherine. Eventually, the conversation moved along to “Friends of Copey”. I credit both Aunt Katherine and Tamarie for the 400 pounds of school supplies sitting in the Learning Center and four of Meadow Elementary School’s finest educators visiting Copey. Tamarie’s actions inspired others to do something and it clearly demonstrates our motto…“when many will do just a little…!”

Katherine Goble

Speaking of Aunt Katherine, two recent major developments have occurred. First, Aunt Katherine has been honored by Barbie’s Inspiring Women series will a Barbie Doll representing Aunt Katherine…”paying tribute to incredible heroines of their time; courageous women who took risks, changed rules, and paved the way for generations of girls to dream bigger than ever before.”

Also, Aunt Katherine is featured in the March 2018 AARP Bulletin. The headline quote reads “I believed I was where I was supposed to be.”  This is a similar theme for “Friends” as I fully understand her pronouncement.

Personally, I pay very little attention to coincidences. I firmly believe there is “divine intervention” constantly at work but unfortunately we seldom give such intervention the credit it deserves. For Aunt Katherine, numerous life events had to take place including societal, legal, occupational, and even personal to cause Aunt Katherine to end up where she was supposed to be. My opinion, none were by coincidence!

As she moves on towards her 100th birthday in August, we continue to wish her well.

Final Word

This is a time of great significance. Let’s enjoy it!

Also, I will be on the east coast later this week to do work at Emory & Henry College. While there, I plan to help with the final arrangements for the arrival of our Learning Center students in the US and on our campus in June under “Pathway Project 2018”. Also, I look forward to meeting the two E&H College students traveling to Copey in May to do volunteer work in the Learning Center under “Pathway Project 2018”.

We are constantly on the move!



“Friendships…Engines That Work!”

“I touch the future. I teach!”     Christa McAuliffe

One week from today, the Utah Team will be settled in Copey and growing acquainted with some of the best folks they will ever want to meet. Their first day will include spending the morning at the Learning Center working with volunteers and interacting with the students. They will arrive in Costa Rica next Sunday morning and will reach Copey later in the afternoon.  Church after

Getting to Copey will provide some adventure with the traffic, roads, and the amazing scenery along the way.  Once in Copey, one of the most striking sights to see will be the burned down church located in the center of this small community.

Carolyn Johnson, Principal of Meadow Elementary School leading the others to Copey, commented in a recent note to me… “I was telling my son about our trip and he was stunned by the generosity you all display. He has a 16-year-old daughter and expressed that he would love to see her involved in something like this. I am retiring this year, but would absolutely love to have an opportunity to get some young people involved, if you think that would ever be a possibility.” 

I shared with Ms. Johnson our deep belief in “possibilities”. “Friends” are true “Possibilitarians”.  Most things we have done started out as only a “possibility”. I am looking forward to her retirement! In the meantime, we hope to build a strong partnership with the school to provide student interactions for educational purposes.    Meadow elementary students

And, let’s not forget the purpose of their trip to Copey.  Ms. Johnson, teachers, and students in her school led the way for the collection of school supplies and materials for the Learning Center. The quantity of this collection is huge and four educators will personally deliver the goods to the Copey Learning Center.

Next week’s Post will provide an updated report on the delivery and hopefully some great photos will be available. Until then, we wish them well and safe travels.

Larry and Cindy Windes

Copey and its surroundings has some really great folks with unbelievable talents. Recall Larry and Cindy. The proposed new Learning Center which is currently on hold was designed by Larry, a transplanted retired architect from Phoenix. Now, Larry is busy on a new project…“Fold-A-Mansion”.Larry Windes House.jpg

This unique house under construction near Copey has great potential. It has all the usual accommodations any home would have. Larry and Cindy will host the Utah Team next week for a few hours and will treat the team with a visit to the construction site.

They have resided in the area for about 10 years and have a great understanding of the many facets of Costa Rican life, culture, and its people. Hearing the American perspective on Costa Rica from this couple will be a significant and enjoyable experience for the Utah Team.  Oh yes, if you want to know more about the “Fold-A-Mansion” project, let me know.

Final Words!

Each day I am reminded how messed up this world is and see little ahead to be optimistic about. The news is full of accounts showing the dark side of folks and only occasionally something positive slips into the news day. At times it all just seems too hopeless to do anything that matters or makes a difference.

Then, there comes this ray of light. My sanity is saved. I do not get lost in the craziness confronting us each day . I can get temporarily distracted but I do not get lost because I have seen this project touch others in ways I never anticipated. It is very humbling and I have come to see “Friends” or friendships as engines that can do things. These engines are fueled in a large part by our “agape” relationship and purpose.

“Friends” have become involved in many different ways. There are volunteers in the Learning Center, workers participating in the “Pathway Project”, supporters for our scholarship fund and other fundraising efforts, those who keep us on their praying lists, those who apply their positive energies to  help us succeed, and so many I do not know much about all making up the family of “Friends”. I think the attraction is because we do share the hope of a community and believe we “can make a difference”. And…We Do!




Learning…Not a Spectator Sport!

“If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.”     (Chinese Proverb) 

A new month and new opportunities to make differences in the lives of kids. As “Friends” I hope we share this optimism each month if not each day. We are capable of being “difference makers” and our brief history has established this to be true.

Posts Documented!

Recently, I received the collection of my Posts written in 2017. These Friends Books 3were the electronic versions transferred into hard copies and then placed into a booklet. I am thrilled each year to take possession. Nothing replaces the thrill of holding these booklets, flipping from page to page, and having available to share with others I meet.

Beverly Eads is a most cherished “Friend” and is totally responsible for this work. This is notFriends Books 2 easy work as she combs over each word and photo in each Post. She wants this to be perfect.

Bev supports “Friends” in this very unique fashion by providing me one of the very few tangible items related to “Friends of Copey”. There is no office, no furniture, no company car, or anything owned by “Friends”… but we have these Posts bound, documenting our history and our work. Amen! 

I seldom leave home now without a booklet traveling with me. I often have conversations about “Friends” and I enjoy having a booklet to share. “Priceless!” So, thank you Bev…!

Utah Express Update…!

All systems still showing “green to go”.  The Meadow Elementary School team of educators are leaving in a couple of weeks for Costa Rica and are now finalizing their itinerary for

Utah team
Ms. Watters, Ms. Johnson (Principal), Ms. McMullen, and Ms. Christiansen

their time inside the country.

They will be in Copey from March 18 until March 21st. Not only are they delivering the donated school supplies, they will volunteer in the Learning Center classroom, visit with our great friends Larry and Cindy (transplants from Phoenix), visit the local elementary school, take some tours, be guests at a special evening performance by those talented Copey Learning Center students, and treated with a dinner with the Copey community. Obviously, this is a non-stop schedule and filled with rich experiences to take back to Utah.  There are some real “superstars” in Copey working hard to make this all happen. And, hosting is something they really do well. Thanks…Copey!

Final Word to “Friends”

I encourage you to keep connected to the work being done to support the Copey Learning Center’s mission. I struggle explaining to all just how unique our work is. Time and time again we have proven that people from all over this country come into our project and do something fantastic, unexpected, or unbelievable. At the moment we are highlighting the Utah Express and last Fall we witnessed Jane Rutledge’s impact on our work and the community she devoted herself to.

We have college students, professors, administrators, and even trustees helping our cause. The list of folks and the many different walks of life falling under the broad umbrella of “Friends” is extensive. It is very humbling to see.images

Often, I see us all as tools in life’s big toolbox. Just like a beautiful  sunset, when the time is right and the need is clear, Someone bigger than each of us picks up the right tool and goes to work. It all becomes something awesome to behold. We are blessed to have a Boss who knows what HE is doing.  THANK YOU ALL!