“From Whom All Blessings Flow”

“Over and over I marvel at the blessings of my life: Each year has grown better than the last.”    By Lawrence Welk

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

The Thanksgiving turkey is mostly gone and I consumed far too much of it. But, it was a wonderful time to reflect on the many things I know I am personally thankful for. I hope all “Friends” took time to enjoy similar reflections. For “Friends of Copey”, everyday is a day of “Thanksgiving”.

Graduation at the Learning Center

Graduation at the Copey Learning Center was held Friday and just look at these precious photos and the smiles. Several are AGB Scholarship recipients. Another year is complete and school is out until February 2019. But…work continues! 

We enjoy seeing the joy and pride on the faces of many of these students. “Graduation” day is a very important day in the lives of these students and it flows over to the parents as well. The unique opportunity for these students to attend the Copey Learning Center to learn English does not go unnoticed by nearby Costa Rican communities. Today, most parents and students living away from Copey can only observe this unique opportunity and hope one day a Learning Center will come to their town. 

Scorecard Time

Next month…I will begin wrapping up the information to provide all “Friends” an accounting of our efforts and performance during 2018. Those following closely this year already know there has been some absolutely amazing accomplishments. 

Celebrating 5th Year “Friends”

Next month, we will completed five full years of support under the banner of “Friends of Copey”. So much has happened. So many old and new “friends” have become involved. So many stories have been born and have been shared. Lives have been impacted and as it has often been said…“the giver is often the receiver”. One of my favorite things to do is to go back and just read the titles of Posts I have written. And, as time permits, I will read the quotes I included hoping that if the Post itself does not touch you, perhaps the quote will convey a message of purpose and meaning. Both together, the title and quotes provide a trail laying out this unbelievable journey we have shared. 

I have never approached a job or a task before where I was completely dependent on another’s trust and confidence, willingness and generosity. As we started this journey, “friendship” was the foundation and glue needed to give this a chance for success. Five years later, we know that “friendship” and all this entails has been the driver sustaining this project. So, when I reflect on “Thanksgiving”, I know this project has been BLESSED...and I know our “friendships” have been the driving force.                                                                                               For you…I am Thankful!

         

Being Change Agents…!

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.”– Wayne Gretzky

Emory & Henry College

I have returned from the east Tennessee and southwest Virginia area of our country. I thank the many “Friends” I had the opportunity to visit during my short stay. The interest continues to be very high among “Friends” back there and specifically the Emory & Henry College’s support for the “Pathway Project” is solid.

Emory & Henry College is consistently ranked among the nation’s best private liberal arts institutions. The College’s many accolades include the Presidential Award for Service Learning, the highest national recognition for community service and service learning; top tier recognition in Washington MonthlyUSA TodayNewsweek and is also listed among the top 40 schools in Colleges that Change Lives…just to name a few. 

“Virginia has no shortage of familiar schools with robust reputations. But, Emory & Henry, in the colorful hills of the state’s southwest corner, does the finest job of them all of producing contributors to society.“
– Colleges That Change Lives

“Friends of Copey” is extremely fortunate to be affiliated with an institution that is among the best at “changing lives”.  

Another Student Letter from Copey

I still hear from “Friends” about the student letters I have posted. Yes, they are very special and there are still more letters I could share. But, I will only pass along one more. This letter from nine year old Antuan struck me for a variety of reasons. He shares information about his family and his youthful interests. Sounds much like a typical nine year old who enjoys computer games and movies. This is Antuan’s time as a youth but as he grows a little older, serious challenges will confront him as he contemplates his future. Will he graduate from high school or dropout?

We are hopeful learning English and being involved with the Copey Learning Center will make a significant difference for Antuan and others. Please know our help “makes a difference”.

2018 Copey Learning Center Graduation

This is graduation week in Copey at the Learning Center.

Congrats to all the students!

I am very sad to miss graduation this year but I have some very happy memories left over from last year. I will do all I can to return to Copey for next year’s graduation.

And, I hope some “Friends of Copey” will attend the graduation with me and visit that magical and generous community where amazing things happen.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Soon we will enter our final month of our 5th official year of devoted support for the Copey Learning Center. There is a lot to reflect on. The year has been full of achievements and amazing surprises. The end of the year “scorecards” will be prepared soon and we will take a very close look at our performance. Thanks to All of You!

 

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!

“He died to make men holy, Let us die to make men free;
While God is marching on.”   Battle Hymn of the Republic

Honoring the Vets

To all the veterans in my world, I thank you and share the day of remembrance for your willingness to serve our country. As is my custom, I am again highlighting four of my fallen friends who died while serving in the late 1960’s during the Viet Nam Conflict.

Michael Charles, Kenneth Delaney, Frank Campbell, and Danny Watkins were all friends and schoolmates who served well and died young. “Gone but not forgotten!” 

veteran-daysOther friends who served include Lou, Charles, Skeeter, Stevie, Carlos, David, Gene, Fred, Jim, Adam, “Duck” Montgomery, and many more. I salute each of you and continue to stand proud to be associated with these veterans.

More Students Letters

Several of you commented on last week’s letters placed in my Post. Thank you fCLC.2or recognizing the progress and the educational challenges the students face. We all seem to be in agreement that our support is helping make a difference.

I am adding a couple more letters for your reading pleasure.

Margarita is eleven years old and I have met her. She is truly a very talented young lady with a great deal of promise and potential. She is also a star performer in the Spelling Bee world.

Amy is younger and shows a lot of promise as well. She is only eight years old and her penmanship is really very good.CLC

The impact the Copey Learning Center is having on their students is remarkable and the development of an upcoming generation of English-speaking citizens will produce amazing results.

Pathway Project 2019

Being around the Emory &Henry College campus this past week was very enjoyable and rejuvenating. The number of “Friends of Copey” continues to grow among alumni and those already on board remain solidly committed to the “Pathway Project”.

Just by pure chance I met Matt as we were walking along the sidewalk across campus. We just happened to notice each other. Matt was the E&H student volunteer who spent this past Spring in Copey CLC.3with Kara. He is still so enthused about his time spent in Copey and it is wonderful to see the after-glow of excitement and his wonderful memories still living on.

On campus, the college recruiters have included Copey as part of the information used to attract new students. Kara is featured in the latest material produced.

All this points to the journey we have traveled building a strong and meaningful partnership with the college. We may be one of a very few partnerships with this type of “on the ground” relationship. This is just one more thing to be extremely proud of as “Friends”.

God Bless America!

 

 

 

 

Strong Children…Productive Adults

“Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.”                                  By Rabindranath Tagore

Surprises Show Up!

Last week I shared a message from Brian and thank you for the feedback. He is on the right track and has a very promising future.

This “Friends of Copey” business is an ongoing experience full of surprises. I am always ready for surprises and I enjoy sharing these with “Friends”.CLC Students.10 Last week I received a group of letters (unsolicited) from Copey Learning Center (CLC) students addressed to “Friends of Copey”.

These students are younger than Brian. Their messages are positive and you will appreciate the influence we are having on these students.

CLC Letters.1

Kenneth is only a 7-year-old and a recipient of the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund. Most likely, he is from a home where little or no English is spoken. At one point a few years ago, this would resemble Brian’s skill level.

A second letter is from Dayana. She is a 14-year-old demonstrating the advanced level of English proficiency she has obtained. She is also a scholarship recipient and conveys a very positive attitude and optimism about her progress and self-worth. She shows a strong command of English and her penmanship is very impressive. These are only two of about 10 letters I have received. More letters will be shared next week. CLC Letters

If you are new to “Friends of Copey”,  please consider there is not much opportunity for these students to learn English until they make it to the CLC. And, many of these young kids will not get to the CLC without the help of “Friends”. I am continuously uplifted to see this evidence of our efforts “making a difference!”

Next…Strike Up the Band!

Last week, we achieved a very major milestone in our five years working with the CLC. The Skype connection/meeting between Jefferson Elementary Students (Kiwanis K-Kids) and CLC students has been successfully accomplished after more than three years trying. Remember…“one step for man…one giant step for mankind”? (Un-PC’d) Feels very similar.

This was a system’s test to see if the connections would finally work. Only the officers of the CLC Skype CallKiwanis K-Kids at Jefferson and selected students proficient in English at CLC participated in this first test session. This photo was taken during the exchange as both ends using laptops to communicate. Notice the big smiles on the CLC students’ faces?

The future is promising as we now know we can begin seriously planning presentations on various topics of interest to both groups of students.

“History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of children” said Nelson Mandela.