Is Your Light Under The Bushel?

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!”     By Harry Dixon Loes

While things are moving along at the Copey Learning Center, I find time to to look back at older Posts I prepared. Normally, I do not take the time to do this but when I do, I find I have some interesting reactions.

First, several Posts are hardly recognizable to me. I am not certain what the inspiration was that brought about some of the thoughts I shared. Other Posts indicate my strong appreciation for the support and encouragement many “Friends” provide. The most astounding revelations from reading past Posts pertain to those accounts of “Friends” who seem to capture the full spirit and intent of “Friends of Copey”. Although I sincerely believe all “Friends” share in the successes of our efforts, a few “Friends” have created “ripples in the pond” that have caused significant results.

This past week I came across the Post dated September 25, 2017, titled “You Cause Ripples”. The Post included the quote; “Everything we do, even the slightest thing we do, can have a ripple effect and repercussions that emanate…”

I do not expect anyone will remember this Post but you can locate it in the archives. But, I am certain some remember Jane Rutledge. As a retired educator, Jane decided to volunteer as a teacher at the Jane Rutledge 5.pngCopey Learning Center. Make no mistake, Jane is not a life spectator but a fearless life doer.

Whenever I am asked what exactly is “Friends of Copey?”, there are plenty of ways I can respond. But, there is no response as crystal clear and as complete as my five minute commentary about Jane. If you have not read any of the Posts covering September thru December 2017, I invite you to do so. Her story is unique and amazing.

And, it would be a serious mistake to think Jane’s “ripple effect” has been limited to the Copey community’s kids and adults. Her “ripple effect” has expanded to her family and hundreds of Jane’s dedicated followers who love and admire her. Jane Rutledge 3

Jane’s son John and daughter-in-law Paula took time to travel to Copey to visit Jane and the community. They witnessed first-hand the work of the Copey Learning Center. She and her family enjoyed some vacation time with her family doing some wild things in Costa Rica. Can you imagine the magical and memorable experience this must have been for them all?

Even today, Jane has continued her support and service as one of “Friends” most devoted supporters. Jane Rutledge 6.pngShe is among those hosts waiting on the “Pathway Project” students from Copey to arrive in America and show up at Emory & Henry College.

So Let The Little Light Shine!

As we enjoy knowing we have been and continue to be strong and positive supporters of the Copey Learning Center, we should not ignore or Jane Kittyoverlook the fact our sphere of influence or the range of the “ripple effects” goes far beyond the Copey community.

By now each “Friend of Copey” should know that one person can “make a difference”. So, don’t sit back and think you cannot have an impact on a need somewhere. While Jane Rutledge is both special and unique, there are other “Friends” who have caused and continue to cause “ripples”.

During Jane’s time at the Copey Learning Center, she taught her young students the song, ” This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!”

This says it all!

 

 

Focused on Significance!

Many people measure their success by wealth, recognition, power, and status. There is nothing wrong with those, but if that is all you are focused on, you will miss the boat. If you are focused on significance-using your time and talent to serve others-that is when truly meaningful success can come your way.                                                By Ken Blanchard

Copey Learning Center News

Ana Yancy, acting Copey Learning Center Director, and I enjoyed a short skype session last Friday. It is our practice to speak directly two or three times a month just to keep current on issues affecting the Copey Future Star StudentLearning Center.

Ana Yancy confirmed the teaching at the center continues to go well even though the efforts to successfully recruit two qualified volunteer teachers to complete the final three months of the school year failed.Future Star Student 1

Now, Ana Yancy, and local volunteers, Celeste and Giovanni, are doing all the teaching required to meet the educational demands of the center.

And, I find it very gratifying to know Celeste is actively involved and supportive. Just as a point of reference, Celeste is well known both in Copey and among many Friends of Copey as one of the first participants of the “Pathway Project”. She and Noelia paved the way for the following seven students who have also traveled to America as participants in the “Pathway Project”.Celeste . teacher

Celeste represents one of the key purposes of the “Pathway Project”. All recipients are asked to return to Copey from their trip to America as enthusiastic and devoted student leaders. We encourage these “Pathway Project” recipients to promote education, be exemplary student role models, and encourage students to learn English.

After three years, she continues being a strong supporter of the center and according to my follow up, she is a tremendous help with the younger students.

Just imagine the influence Celeste and other recipients now have on young students with aspirations to be really good students Future Star Student 2and a strong desire to one day journey to America as a Pathway Project recipient.

Pending News!

I am still working on a couple very interesting projects that will hopefully benefit the Copey Learning Center in the near future. Last week, I indicated I would share information with you but the details are still being worked out before any official announcement.

Final Comments

Retired New York Yankee baseball pitcher, Mariano Rivera received today our country’s highest civilian honor, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom.

I am not a big New York Yankee fan but have admired and enjoyed watching the highly talented and skillful Rivera, a baseball icon, for many years until his retirement in 2013. Mariano

Originally from a poor community in Panama, Rivera indicated in his acceptance speech today something extraordinary and relevant to “Friends of Copey” and the Copey Learning Center.

Upon his arrival from Panama (neighbor country to Costa Rica) to America in 1990, he could not speak any English. By the end of his second year in America with the help of friends, he learned English and it was a “life changing” experience. He is a tremendous advocate for education and specifically English education for the poor.

Today, Rivera is well known for his dedicated and committed support for schools with the mission to teach kids English including building schools in Panama and other locations.

Today, I learned that I have another reason for being very happy to have been a strong Mariano Rivera follower and supporter. Thank you Mariano! 

Magnets at Work!

“There is a magnet in your heart that will attract true friends. That magnet is unselfishness, thinking of others first; when you learn to live for others, they will live for you.”      By Paramahansa Yogananda 

Tri-Cities Industry Kiwanis

The highly publicized Kiwanis presentation was conducted on August 30. Tri-Cities Industry Kiwanis calls on me to update our Kiwanis membership annually on the efforts and progress we are making as partners supporting the Copey Learning Center.  The attendance was very good and several in tKiwanis Logohe audience had no awareness of “Friends”.

The reaction to the presentation was very positive. The membership was reminded that their involvement has been very much needed and has helped our success.

Kiwanians support “Friends” with personal donations when needed and the TCI Foundation provides excellent accounting service in support of the “Pathway Project” each year.Partnership.2

The presentation did have its problems. The prepared power point presentation did not work well on the Kiwanis equipment. Then, the special video message from “Pathway Project” students also failed to work. I will get the problems worked out and schedule a new date to share the information.

Copey Learning Center Update!   

At the Copey Learning Center all is going as well as possible. The efforts to obtain on short notice volunteer teachers to finish up the school year did not work out. Consequently, Ana Yancy, Celeste (2016 Pathway Project Recipient), and a community volunteer, Geovanny, are all dedicated to doing all the teaching the final three months of school.

Donor for Scholarship Idea Brewing!

A new donor has a great idea! I will share more next week after we have a little more time to work out some of the details. In fact, we are looking at a few ways to raise funds that could be used to support the three major “Friends”/donor fundraising activities (scholarships, Exec Director salary, and Pathway Project) we conduct annually. Do you have any ideas!  This is a great time to share with me any thoughts you may have.  Picture Mother Teresa

Over the past six years, “Friends” have donated (out of pocket) approximately 90% of all the funds we have used to support our three major activities requiring funds. We are looking at alternative revenue streams to help lessen the donor burden.

Your idea is valuable…so share it! As has been said many times over, “Friends” is not a huge money generating project. We just need funds to provide the basic support we feel is essential to helping the Copey Learning Center accomplish its mission. Never forget…”Friends of Copey” was a small idea that was not given much chance to make a huge difference.  Continue to be a “Magnet”.

 

 

It’s a Family Affair

“You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.”    By Frederick Buechner

Family Matters!

These final days of August have been filled with extraordinary highs and lows for the week.

On August 26, Aunt Katherine Johnson celebrated her 101st birthday and she was the Birthday Case Johnson 2star of several appearances in honor of this significant milestone. She continues to be blessed with enough good health to participate in a variety of events. “Long Live Queen Katherine!”  

On August 27, we remembered mom, Anne Elizabeth G. Broady. She passed away six years ago and her memory continues in living color. In her honor, the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund has supported the tuition cost for the equivalent of 100 Copey students.Anne Urn

On Wednesday August 28, my cousin Gwendolyn Huckstep passed away following a long battle with cancer. We were very close. I traveled to Virginia and spent the final days with Gwen, her sisters Ophelia and Rita, Rita’s husband Greg, along with nieces Sophia and Angelica, and nephew Anthony. Many of Gwen’s closest friends were at her beside as well.

Gwen

Gwen and I enjoyed many visits and telephone conversations over time. One very memorable time spent with Gwen was during a 2014 road trip to visit Aunt Katherine and other aunts and cousins in eastern Virginia. Gwen really enjoyed meeting Aunt Katherine and regarded the photo taken with Aunt Katherine as one of her favorites. The road trip was special as it resulted in non-stop car chatter between us. Gwen. Katherine

Also, another family member passed away one day earlier. Richard Broady, age 87, resided in Roanoke, Virginia. Richard was a member of another branch of Broadys and I was not very acquainted with him.

The week of family matters ended on a very high note Friday. Grandson Maliek Broady began his final season of college football at the University of Nevada Reno (Nevada) Friday evening. Underdog Nevada took on Purdue University.

Maliek began his football career with Nevada as a “walk-on”. His determination and athletic abilities later earned him a full athletic scholarship. Although a true running back seeing limited action, last year his coach requested Maliek to transfer to the position of line backer as theMaliek 3 team was in great need for more depth and athleticism according to head coach Norvell.

The transition from running back to line backer is very difficult, especially in D-1 College Level football.  But…MaliekMaliek Broady. rev. 2 successfully made the transition and was listed as a starter in the lineup Friday evening. In a recent feature sports story about Maliek and his mother Jessica, Head Coach Norvel says “Maliek is just an unselfish guy and he is now ready to be an “impact player”.  

Then, bringing a fitting end to the week, with only 3 seconds left in regular time, the Nevada place-kicker made a 56 yard field goal to defeat Purdue University. Nevada 34 * Purdue 31.

Broady.NevadaI should also note that Maliek helped his mother move his younger brother Mykel (middle) into the dormitory last week at Nevada. As one Broady closes out his college career at Nevada later in the year, another has begun his Nevada college career.

For those wondering if Mykel is also planning to play sports, we are not absolutely sure. He is as talented as his older brother and would be an excellent basketball prospect. However, due to a medical condition, his strong acadamic profile, and an emerging political interest, Mykel plans to go down a different path at Nevada. Photo is “move-in day” for Mykel. Their mom and all the rest of the Broady family and “Friends” stand proud of these young men….Broadys!

  Family Matters

 

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.