Past Sadness…Future Hope!

“Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.”    By  Jonas Salk

Monday morning on August 7, 2017,  I learned about the unfortunate event that took place the night before in Copey. That Monday morning, in that wonderful community of Copey, the towns people gathered in disbelief and sorrow as they could see in the daylight, the total devastation of their beloved church. Church before

This iconic landmark sitting in the center of the community since 1928  touched every family in one way or another.

Now after two years, the remnants of the fire destruction are still visible and present. Nothing has been rebuilt and the Holy site continues to be a painful reminder to all.

Residents alone cannot afford to rebuild due to local economic challenges within the community. Then, the Catholic Church’s heirarchy may not see rebuilding the church to be a high priority.  And, Copey has only limited political influence available to push or support their interest.  These are all contributing factors resulting in delays and ongoing rebuilding uncertainties. Church after

We observe the second year anniversary of this tragic event. And, we (Friends of Copey) continue our support for the community and strive to be one of their consistent sourceS of “good news and hope”.

The current facility being used for the Copey Learning Center also faces future uncertainty. The facility is owned by the community group who loans the space to the Copey Learning Center. The facility may be shut down for rennovations in the near future. This closure will cause the Copey Learning Center to move without any suitable facility in Copey without the need for some constructional changes or improvements.

We “Friends” have not lost the vision of a new Copey Learning Center. We still believe we can get the new center built one day. We only postponed our efforts to avoid competing with the community’s effort to rebuild their church. The community wants their own “House of Worship” and they want their own educational facility to educate their children. However, this presents the community with a very difficult dilemma. Copey Learning Center Exterior Perspective View 001 (2)

The question has been asked…can one facility serve both religious and educational needs?

The response is a resounding NO! According to my information, a rebuilt Catholic Church and property would be essentially owned by the Catholic hierarchy… and not owned by the local community. There is a strong disinterest in placing the Copey Learning Center under the control of the Catholic Church.

Today, “Friends of Copey” pauses to reflect on the loss of this historical site in Copey which meant so much to the community. Soon, we start dreaming again about a new Copey Learning Center…the “promise of brighter futures” for this community full of hope.

“Let’s dream, Let’s imagine, Let’s hope and have the courage to achieve!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Serving Children Partnership…!”

“In my life I’ve learned that true happiness comes from giving. Helping others along the way makes you evaluate who you are.       By  Marla Gibbs

On August 30th, I will have my annual opportunity to provide a “Friends of Copey” presentation to my Kiwanis Club, Tri-Cities Industry (TCI-Kiwanis).

As a TCI member, this is a special time afforded me to share, honor, and thank the club’s membership for supporting the work of the “Friends of Copey”.Kiwanis Logo

Kiwanis, an international/global organization with a 100 plus year history, is a natural partner for “Friends of Copey”.  The organization’s purpose is to improve the world by making lasting and positive differences in the lives of children.

Kiwanis volunteers working in over 7,000 clubs all over the world perform over 150,000 projects and nearly $100 million (US) annually to support communities worldwide serving children, one child and one community at a time. Copey is an international community being served by the “TCI Kiwanis and Friends of Copey” partnership. TCI Kiwanis’ support is important. Nearly 40% of the total TCI Kiwanis’ membership are “Friends” making personal donations to the scholarship fund, the Executive Director salary, and the “Pathway Project”.

At the club level, the TCI Kiwanis Foundation provides quality accounting services for the “Pathway Project” making it very easy for donors to participate and provides full accountability of the funds.  Kiwanis Logo.1

This partnership places TCI Kiwanis among the elite Kiwanis Clubs (in my opinion) in America. Most Kiwanis Clubs limit their support to their own community needs. A fewer number of Kiwanis Clubs in America provide the direct and personal hands-on support of a specific need in another country on an ongoing basis.

TCI Kiwanis voted “Friends of Copey” to be an officially accepted project three years ago. As a TCI Kiwanis Past President and active member, my affiliation with “Friends of Copey” is unique. The involvement of other TCI Kiwanis members and the support of the TCI Foundation are both important elements of this partnership. But, the support from TCI Kiwanis goes even further.

Jefferson Elementary Pen Pal

Jefferson Elementary School, Richland WA

TCI Kiwanis Club supports a local elementary school with the Kiwanis K-Kids Program. This program allows for interaction between Jefferson Elementary students and Copey Learning Center students via Skype technology.

All these forms of TCI Kiwanis activities extend the club beyond the norm according to my personal assessment.  I am looking forward to the presentation with great excitement.

“Friends” are spread throughout the USA and in other countries. Support your local Kiwanis Club and please feel free to send a note of thanks to TCI Kiwanis for their support and partnership. I will glady include your message in my TCI Kiwanis presentation. 

Want a Vacation?

Go to beautiful Copey, Costa Rica! The Copey Learning Center is eagerly searching for the right candidates to help finish the final three months of this school year. Looking for a Poster for Volunteers.1“crash course” in a different culture and language? Feeling adventurous and want to just do something just outrageous? Want to make a huge difference in a child’s life or even a huge difference in a community? Here is an opportunity to give…but you may learn that you are the one who is receiving the most.

I began my involvement with the Copey Learning Center by considering a volunteer teaching job in 2011 and 2012. I came very close but something extraordinary happened. The magic of the Copey community will move you to enjoly the love of serving. Think about a 90 day vacation and let me know soon. The need is now and the rewards are waiting.

Final Word…!

Thank you for the comments sent regarding the recent loss of home by fire Megan and her family experienced. They are getting a lot of support but they lost a great deal. “Friends” has provided some financial assistance.

Lately, I have realized failing to communicate much about the wonderful E&H College students who have volunteered to go to Copey. I would not have met Megan, or her sister and mother without Megan’s involvement in the “Pathway Project”. Megan volunteered to leave the comforts of her life, her family, and friends. By doing so, she gave much of herself and made a difference in the lives of kids in Copey.

Kara Stewart.1

Kara Stewart

I tend to focus mostly on the Copey students who travel to the US and perhaps not enough focus on the students who go to Copey.

However, each of the E&H College students who have journeyed to Copey have been very special students and have been outstanding representatives of the culture and caliber of students at E&H College.  Megan is certainly among this group.

And, we continue to keep a watchful eye on Kara Stewart, a 2018 E&H College student volunteer. Since her return from Copey in 2018, she has continued to be a high spirited superstar. I am just so impressed!

Best wishes to them all. 

Looking Beyond the Sorrow…!

“Don’t lose hope…when the sun goes down, the stars come out!”   

People in Need of Prayers!

It is very hard today to be upbeat and positive while we attempt to withstand the ongoing news of senseless murders perpetrated on innocent people who appear to have little to no connection to the shooters. Prayers to all the families, friends, and communities who are directly impacted by this evil behavior.

Additionally, I received news this weekend that one of our Emory & Henry College 2019 Pathway Project students had a very serious misfortune. Megan Mitten, her sister CLC Volunteer PicTheresa, and mother lost their home and all belongings due to a house fire last Wednesday.

Megan was at the Copey Learning Center last Spring as a volunteer. I met Megan, her sister and their mother during the annual reception held this past June. Both Megan and Theresa are E&H College students and I consider the whole family to be special to “Friends of Copey”. The college is assisting the family and are welcoming any help available. “Friends of Copey” will donate some funds to the family.

I will try to continue getting updates on Megan and her family while they work on rebuilding their lives and taking care of some of their basic needs for living.

Pathway Project 2019 Summary

As promised for several weeks, I want officially pronounce the closing 2019 Pathway Project for 2019. The project involving the students from Copey has three essential parts.

First and foremost the first part is to reward two or three Copey Learning Center students for their academic success and especially their English skills development. The reward is a safe and educational trip to America. So, eligible students must be selected.Pathway Students

The second part, “Friends of Copey” must raise the funds required for the planned expenses associated with travel, food, and lodging.

And finally, there are numerous other unfunded costs along with personal time and involvement that must be covered and coordinated. It is estimated that in-kind support almost equals the funded portion of the project.

Therefore, in summary the 2019 Pathway Project depends on very generous donors and extemely committed supporters for all of this to work and work well. Everyone is just “AMAZING” and all can enjoy the feeling of success and accomplishment. This is our 4th year and it feels like our best year as organizers and coordinators.

I have tried to send special notes of thanks to all of you who were on the front line of this effort. If I overlooked you, please let me know and I will be in touch with you.

thank you

My thoughts and attention are already pointed to next year’s Pathway Project. Most of the team has already conveyed and confirmed their involvement in key areas.

There is always room for one more donor of funds or contributor of time and service. One thing to seriously keep in mind is your attendance at next year’s annual reception. It is well worth attending and meeting the Copey students and other “Friends or Copey”.  For several of the first-timers this year, I know they enjoyed every minute.

So, please accept my heartfelt thanks as we all look forward now to 2020 Pathway Project.