The Journey With Friends

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”    By William Butler Yeats

Last Sunday I was just arriving in Virginia in time for the ‘Welcome Reception” in honor of our Copey students and chaperone. I had several flight issues while trying to make it on time to the reception…and I just did. I am so happy I did not miss this wonderful event. Thank you all who were able to attend.

The Gathering..!

The “Welcome Reception” was another magical time for us all. The first time since June 2019 “Friends of Copey” gathered at George Whitley’s home in Abingdon, Virginia. The gathering was well attended and included the E&H College’s President, John Wells and his wife, Shannon.

The food, weather, and the energy of the event were the result of the stars all lining up to make something extraordinary and memorable happen. Several “Friends” traveled two to four hours to attend. And, never forget, this reception is the only time “Friends of Copey” assemble in one place to enjoy each others’ company.

For me personally, this was the ultimate experience. This was why I have been devoted to the Copey Learning Center.

There is joy seeing students from Copey finally meeting “Friends” who have been supporting the Copey Learning Center for years. The joy just cannot be described. The reception represents two worlds or countries being together sharing love, joy, and appreciation for one another…it is priceless.

We Are Blessed..!

Following the reception, on Monday the Copey students began attending the week long health and science camp sponsored by Emory & Henry College. Also, the camp included students from the region thereby providing the Copey students opportunities to meet their peers and spend time making new friends. The camp featured daily health science information/occupational topics. Life time memories and perhaps life changing experiences have been provided to these students because of “Friends” supporting this project.

The Rest of the Story..!

There is another part of this story needing to be shared. As we benefit from the wonderful financial generosity of “Friends”, there are many “Friends” who make this all work by giving freely of their time and resources. There are numerous hosts who take on a multitude of important responsibilities.

These volunteers provide our guests the absolute best experience possible. They care for our guests’ safety and welfare, and certainly their enjoyment with tours, shopping and exploring our regions rich history.

George Whitley, Monica Hoel, Celeste Gaia, and Ed Davis all have been the volunteer core and bedrock of this project… along with a few others. Their dedicated support provides us a significant cost reduction.Expenses for local transportation, daily meals and lodging, tuition for the camp, and of course the cost of the reception are all donated to this project.

And there is much personal time donated. Every effort is made to help our guests feel welcomed, valued, and safe.

I witness both sides of this project from my vantage point. It takes both the financial donors and the volunteers to make this project a real success. This is what it means to be a “Friend of Copey”.

Financial Support A Success!

We are very close to raising all the funds needed to cover the travel costs for the Copey students and the chaperone.

When we receive the funds promised, “in the mail”, we will cover all travel costs and celebrate another outstanding and successful “Pathway Project”.

It is amazing to think only a few weeks ago, the Pathway Project was in doubt and uncertain. We were at the critical decision point. But, the decision to follow thru with this year’s project was the right call. The final decision was truly a call made on both “faith and trust” and today we are bathing in the sunshine of success.

Down in Copey..!

As we were enjoying our Copey students, we had a second story developing. Genna MacFarlan (on the right background) was arriving in Costa Rica to begin her volunteer service at the Copey Learning Center.

Genna is reporting to us that she is enjoying her early days in Copey. It appears her love for the Copey community will not take very long to settle in.

Thanks Genna…I am sure the community is growing fond of you as well.

Final Word..!

The name given to this project back in 2015, “The Pathway Project”, has proven over time to be so appropriate.

This is an international project. The Pathway Project has allowed us to travel both directions, following a pathway to and from the United States and Copey, Costa Rica, and sometimes the travel is all happening at the same time.

We say Farewell today to Anyela, Fabiana and their chaperone, Catalina (and husband Luis). They will leave the college campus today and head to Greensboro, North Carolina where they will board their airplane home early tomorrow morning.

It has been a great ride and we are all a little richer today from this experience. Our time spent together, the consistent and reliable support both financially and personally, and knowing that we all can and do make a difference will be long remembered.

I am very proud and grateful to my Emory & Henry College family and “Friends” who helped make the 2022 Pathway Project happen.

2 thoughts on “The Journey With Friends”

  1. Love the reciprocal movement of learning and lifting up of spirits to bring cultures together and deeper our understanding and embracing our common threads to weave a beautiful tapestry!

  2. So sorry I have not been able to attend the gathering of “Friends”, but as you know, our circumstances don’t permit travel at this time. My heart is still involved in this project of learning and living even if I can’t be physically present. Love to all.

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