Always Do Your Best…!

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”   by  Francis of Assisi

Major Milestone!

Three hundred weeks have passed since the very first Post was issued in mid-December 2013. Last week, I issued Post number 300 to “Friends” and the tracking data verifies this fact. This is a major achievement on several levels.BEv Binders 

Who writes letters to their friends each week for more than five years? Well, I have and I can assure you each Post has been written and published with joy, honor, and respect towards all “Friends”. I hope you will celebrate with me this week as I pause to ponder this small milestone.

I thank all “friends” who opened the very first Post issued in 2013 and are still around to open #300. Truthfully, many “friends” have moved on and are not following the Posts each week. It is human nature to move on. But be sure, I am deeply grateful for those first “friends” and those who joined in later. You all have helped to keep this project alive and meaningful.

Help the Copey Learing Center

Last week I informed “friends” about the need to recruit a new Executive Director for the Copey Learning Center. Interesting enough, a few of you have sent notes to me. I encourage you to continue considering the potential this could be for a very unique experience.

Also, I learned this week the Copey Learning Center is recruiting volunteer teachers toESL Qualificaitoncover the final three months of this school year; September, October, and November. So, I am calling for teachers (including retired teachers) to go to Copey and have the experience of a lifetime. This is an excellent opportunity to build your resume and develop/enhance language skills highlighting the Central American culture. And, if you are retired and want to add one more star in your career in education… go and enjoy some simple life…“pura-vida”.  

Time is very short so if there is an interest in leading or teaching…we must move quickly. September is just around the corner.

New Copey Learning Center PhotoCopey…The Amazing Community.

Those who have actually spent time in Copey had these things to say:

“This entire experience [in Copey] has had such an impact on my life that I am forever grateful for. I made so many memories, met so many people, made so many new friends, saw God at work, and felt Him working in me.  I will forever cherish my time spent in the sweet, quaint, beautiful, peaceful, little town of Copey, and I will look forward to when I can go back! Thank you for everything, Copey.”  Kara S.

“When Arthur asked me to write something about our experience at the Copey Learning Center I didn’t know if I could put my feelings into words. I could use words like amazing, unforgettable, memorable, remarkable, and extraordinary, but it was so much more!”  Carolyn J.

“Copey will always hold a special place in our hearts.  Thank you for the wonderful opportunity! We will always cherish the memories made and the wonderful friends we made while visiting Copey.”  Tamarie M.

“The most amazing thing is the love and respect the people have for each other [in Copey]. They all work hard and no one seems to complain. The students have never complained or said they don’t want to do anything!”   Jane R.

“Pura Vida”





Change Agents…Possibilitarians!

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”     By  Maria Robinson

Changes At the Copey Learning Center

The Copey Learning Center is experiencing some changes as it continues to be a very unique educational center focused on English education. This very small community has defied the odds of failure as the Copey Learning Center has survived for over a decade with the bare minimum of viable physical and financial resources. The one thing that is in abundance is the community-wide commitment and devotion to providing students better choices in life. The key to these choices revolves around developing English speaking, reading, and writing skills. Copey Learning Center Ad.1

In the beginning the Copey Learning Center depended totally on the support provided by Peace Corps teachers who frequently volunteered for one or two year assignments.

They served as teachers and also performed some duties of the Executive Director, a position requiring pay the center could not afford.

“Friends of Copey”

In 2015, following “Friends of Copey’s” first year of scholarship support, the Copey Center’s Board of Directors decided the long term success of the center would require the services of aCLC Students.10 paid Executive Director (ED). “Friends” was asked to support this new “change” in direction. Beginning in 2015, “Friends” has supplemented the annual salary for the ED.

Would You Serve?

The departure of the current ED, Andrea has been announced as she has accepted a new position…another change.

Previous ED Ana Yancy has been returned as the interim ED until November unless Andrea’s replacement is hired prior to November.

We are posting the call for a qualified ED to lead the Copey Learning Center. Over the years several “Friends” with exceptional experience and qualifications expressed their Jane 5interest in working at the center.

Therefore, I agreed to do some USA recruitment on behalf of the Copey Learning Center. Perhaps, someone would consider a short or long term commitment to take advantage of this very unusual opportunity. Or, perhaps someone has friends or colleagues in the educational community who may be attracted to this opportunity.  

“Making a Difference”

Almost to a person, “Friends” who have been devoted and committed to this most unusual project have been “difference makers”. I often refer to these dedicated friends as possibilitarians…believing no matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, possiblitarians raise their sights and see the possibilities — always see them, for they’re always there.success

This is not to say anything is dark…on the contrary. This is an opportunity to take the center to another level. And, being a die-hard possibilitarian myself, I believe there just may be a potential candidate among “Friends” who will at least investigate the opportunity to lead the Copey Learning Center.  Let me know!

New Arrival!

The Barnard family (Huckleberry) has had a very busy summer. Carol witnessed her only daughter Amie marry a wonderful young man (Aaron) on June 26 and just hours ago Carol became a grandmother for the second time thanks to her younger son Adam and Kayla. We all welcomed in baby girl…Haven Marie Huckleberry at 12:29 today.

Congrats to all!






Be A Good Neighbor…!

“Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies. Those whom God has so joined together, let no man put asunder. ”   By  John F. Kennedy

“Making Neighbors!

Just the other day I was forwarded a link featuring a story about The Pathway Project, the great partnership between our college and Copey, and my personal involvement. The title of the story is “The Man Who Made Emory & Henry College and Costa Rica Neighbors” authored by Monica Hoel. She has held the position of Alumni Director for E&H College for nearly 30 years.

My hat is off to the college for continuing to show such a strong interest and desire to support this project. Having our story told in such a quality fashion along with the opportunity to reach so many people, is greatly appreciated. I highly recommend you checking out this link: Hoel.1

Note: The link above also has a link to a recent radio broadcast covering the Pathway Project. 

Monica is one of those extraordinary human fixtures you will find on the E&H College campus. She is so good at her work that much success is taken for granted. Or worse, Monica’s accomplishments often are unknown or unnoticed. This is very typical of those who tackle a task first with their heart, then their head. She is fun and dedicated. She really cares about students and perceives each student as a future E&H College alumni. And, she is very engaged from start to finish with the Pathway Project.

During the “Annual Reception” held for the visiting Copey students back in June, I made the following comment about Monica in my short speech; “if I had to explain to anyone what it means to have the heart of a servant…I would have them personally meet Monica”. She is truly such a person. And, she is joined by others on campus who also work wonders for the Pathway Project.

The Copey Learning Center Reopens

The Learning Center has been on a two week mid-year vacation and teaching will resume this week. There has not been much of a vacation on my end. Each year the Pathway Project requires some closeout activities to be attended to. I look forward to issuing the final news and results of the Pathway Project next week. Pathway display

I also plan to make some special announcements next week about the Copey Learning Center.

And, a presentation is scheduled with my Kiwanis Club in late August. The membership will hear about this year’s 2019 Pathway Project and I will include a picture board depicting all four years of the Pathway Project. There will be a couple other items to show and this should be a real fun time of sharing.

I am always ready to do a presentation if any nearby “Friends” have a school, church, or club this may interest.

“Friends make the best neighbors!”






Being Compassionate…Investing

“The failure to invest in youth reflects a lack of compassion and a colossal failure of common sense.”     By Coretta Scott King

The Copey Learning Center is on a two week vacation at this time so there is very little information to report on from there.

In other news, we are still excited over the recent 2019 Pathway Project as I have begun to officially bring everything to a close.

Since the dust has settled and activities have slowed down considerably, it occured to me these 2019 Pathway Students have been involved with the Learning Center for several years. I have practically watched them grow since “Friends of Copey” began in late 2013.

Looking back over the photos I have collected and have shared with you, I thought I would share some of them again. These photos are of Mariana who has been attending the Learning Center for several years.


mariana-3    20151015_142508   Mariana FabrianaSpelling Bee Candidates

Some of you will also remember how successful Mariana was as a Spelling Bee participant. Each year of competition she would move closer and closer to becoming a 1st place winner on the national level. There are many of these success stories since we have been closely watching many Copey students grow and develop over the years.

The 2019 Pathway Project was very exciting and rewarding as many of you actually met Mariana and saw up close what a wonderful young lady she has become. She exudes so much confidence and maturity. Group Photo

I also have old photos of the two other Pathway students dating back a few years. Dayana and Jimena, similar to Mariana were so young when they began their English education and also have become very excellent young students.

Thank you for helping these students, for being compassionate, and for investing in their future as they become confident and amazing young folks. 



2019 Pathway Project…”Excelente!”

Friends, we really enjoy sharing photos. Especially, when they show the wonderful times all had over the two weeks of the 2019 Pathway Project. Remember…the previous three Posts have also included photos.

Just to recap…! On June 10th, Dayan, Jimena, Mariana, and chaperone Catalina departed Group Photo.pngCosta Rica on their journey to America. First stop, Washington, DC where they were greeted by Zina Griffith. Zina, their official host for the evening and most of the day on June 11th, provided the tour of the most popular sites in our nation’s capital.

The second host was Matthew Krauss and his family who took over late in the evening on June 11th. His family provided dinner, overnight accommodations, and provided breakfast before Monica Hoel, host #3, picked up the guests and made the nearly 5 hour journey to Emory & Henry College.

Arriving on campus early evening on June 12, the guests were greeted, provided dinner and sleeping accommodations. The following Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, our guests were welcomed by additional hosts each day and provided an array of special activities designed to educate, inform, and entertain.

Activities included; serious shopping, an outdoor concert, sculpturing class, nature walk at Hungry Mother State Park, visit to historical Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee, pizza meals, trampoline jumping, volleyball, the “Annual Reception”, and church attendance to only mention a few of the events they enjoyed. Natural Bridge.2

Abingdon Concert 2.pngThe hosts from Washington, DC, Warrinton, Virginia, and the army of volunteers who managed the majority of the time while on campus where the best folks representing both the college and “Friends of Copey”.    

One event quickly becoming the “premiere” annual “Pathway Project’ event is the “Annual Reception”. This event is very significant for two reasons. First, the reception offers our guests a single opportunity to actually meet and thank those who are devoted supporters of the Dayana Arthur.2Pathway Project. This includes performing their cultural dance and verbalizing their personal appreciation for the opportunity to visit America and the EH College campus. 

And, the “Annual Reception” provides “Friends” with the only opportunity each year to gather in one single location, visit one another, and all together as a quasi organization, welcome our guests.

Jake Schrum ReceptionWe were honored to have the college President, Jake Schrum join us this year. President Schrum provided our guests a small gift in recognition of their success and to welcome them to our compus.

This “Annual Reception” grows each year and we look forward to reaching 50 guests attending in 2020. Virginia Tennessee.png

The guests enjoyed hanging out on State Street, the iconic main street that divides the two states, Virginia and Tennessee.

Perhaps, one of the best times was when Dayana, Jimena, and Mariana were invited to perform their cultural dance performance on the final morning of the Young Scholars program in front of all the scholars.

You can hardly imagine the thrill and the honor these young ladies felt dressed in their beautiful and culturally designed attire and performing their authentic dance to perfection.Last Dance

Does it get any better than this? They spent the entire “Young Scholars” week engaged in a variety of activities with other students from around the region learning together and exchanging life experiences.

It is true that young folks often teach each other the best and most memorable lessons. I gaze at the photo showing their performance and I see three young ladies who came to campus to learn…but I also see three young ladies who taught us a few things also.

DanceMy heartfelt thanks to all of those on campus who spend so much of their time each summer conducting the “Young Scholars and Leadership” program.

Certainly, “Friends” enjoy having the guests from Copey experience our nation’s capital, visit the EH College campus, enjoy life in southwest Virginia, and greet and meet so many “Friends” who support them.

BUT, the opportunity for these students to attend the “Young Scholars” program is a tremendous benefit. And, it is a true benefit for all the students who attend. Keep up the great work! Thanks Jordan Graham for running such a tremendous program.