Church…Gospel Made Visible!

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”      By Khalil Gibran

Usually, when I awake on a Monday morning I am full of excitement with a very positive outlook on both the day and the week ahead. This morning was different. As customary each Monday morning, I receive a Post from my friend Anne who resides near Copey where she and her husband Kevin own and operate a Bed and Breakfast…Hush Valley Lodge. I met Anne along with Seidy on my very first trip to Copey in 2011. The Learning Center at that time was located directly across the street from this church.  Church beforeAnne’s Post this morning reported the tragic loss of the local church in Copey. Apparently, the church burned to the ground last night and the community is in serious shock over its loss today. The church is a historical site and has been standing in the center of the community since 1928. In 1999, it was officially declared a historic site.

Church after

Notice only the white pillars remain standing!

Reports already indicate the community’s plans to rebuild and to do so soon. This points out to me once again the “special” nature of this community and its drive to take on those challenges which affect their lives…challenges facing the old and young within this community.


“Friends of Copey” extends our sorrow for this loss of a valued community and religious resource. This is a building that I suspect not many residents can remember when this church was not sitting in the center of the community. I ask all “Friends” to pray for Copey as they work now to recover from this significant loss of part of the community’s identity and its history.

If you have a personal church you attend, send a personal church message to me that can be passed on to the Copey community.

An additional Post will be issued later this week.


“Embracing Unity’s Benefits…”

“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”   by Mattie Stepanek

“Pathway Project 2017” Financial Close-Out

All of the bills are paid and the account now is at zero balance. We are officially done with the project and my heartfelt thanks goes out to so many who contributed to our success. The total amount of funds spent on this project was $5,511.00. Our goal was to raise $2,700.00 to add to the carry-over of $2,198.00 from 2016. We exceeded the goal and raised $2,965.00 in donations. This added to the carry-over totaled $5,165.00 in available funds.thank you .3

We did overspend by $346.00 but this has been recently covered. The overrun was caused by a couple essential expenses we had not budgeted enough funds for.

All in all, we are extremely pleased with the financial results. Having added one additional guest this year made the budget planning a bit more challenging.

Some aspects of the financial planning is pure guess-work. We anticipate some improvements in our planning efforts in 2018. However, we utilized the funds very well and managed to provide many experiences that will be long remembered by our guests.

Recapping our financial efforts, the “Friends of Copey” covered the expenses for four guests’ for airfare, a rental car for two days and the purchase of fuel, one night of lodging in Costa Rica and two nights of lodging near the Dulles International Airport. From the time of their departure from and return to Copey, all meals were covered by “Friends” except what was provided by supporters. Other expenses included bus fares while traveling around DC, attending a performance at the Kennedy Center, visiting numerous DC landmarks and locations while en route to the college campus, bowling and a variety of other unique sports and entertainment activities. Some minor expenses were spent to cover a few personal and miscellaneous items. By our calculations, we averaged close to only $1,378.00 in total cost per guest. FANTASTIC!

Scholars Group Picture 1

Also, we estimate another $3,000-$3,500.00 listed as in-kind services and support. This included the food/drink for the reception party for about 30 guests. The college’s host family provided room and board at their private home during the first week. The tuition cost was donated by a private donor for the Summer Scholar Institute which included room and board the second week. Even several of the recreational activities were covered by in-kind support from “Friends”.

This project was close to being 100 % funded by “Friends” affiliated with E&H College. There were two Kiwanis donors who insisted on having their donations support this project.

The Tri-Cities Industry Kiwanis Foundation provided all of the accounting for this project. The donated accounting support has proven to be exceptional and “priceless”.zzzKiwanis

Unity and collaborating partnerships are the foundation for the success of “Pathway Project 2017”. The partners include the Copey community, the Learning Center, E&H College, and TCI Kiwanis. Then, there were many individuals who went far beyond the call of duty to make this truly an extraordinary success. This is a very proud accomplishment for “Friends” from many different angles. Thank You.

Emory & Henry 1973 Grad Is Packing For Copey

In late August, Jane Rutledge from North Carolina will be heading to Copey for a three-month volunteer teaching tour. I am very excited about this for various reasons. I have known Jane since about 1968. Jane’s husband Gail was my zzzEmory image 5fraternity brother. I spent much time with Jane and Gail while visiting their home during our college days together. I often borrowed their car to get to my job 30 miles away from campus. This act of generosity I have never forgotten.

During a phone conversation with Gail a couple of years ago, I reminded him how much I have always appreciated having his little Nova to get to work. Unfortunately, Gail passed away this past February.

During the late 60’s Jane was as much a fraternity sister as Gail was a fraternity brother. Even then, Jane was very smart and witty and had the will power, skills, and determination to do whatever she felt needed to be done. She worked while Gail obtained his degree and then Jane followed up earning her degree in 1973 from E&H College.

As is often the case involving us with Liberal Arts Degrees, Jane spent part of her career in education as a classroom teacher, tutor, and scorer. At other times she was self-employed, has great craft skills, and also worked in sales. This is all “great news” as it makes Jane a very important and productive candidate for this Learning Center assignment. She will take to the Learning Center a wide range of useful skills and talents. This seasoned classroom veteran, mother, business woman, and community service worker, will have a variety of teaching tools available to support the Learning Center’s mission.

Good NewsIn a recent note to me Jane said the following…“My friends are envious of me! My family is in awe and asked if “we are spending Thanksgiving in Costa Rica?” I told them if they had their passports they could have turkey wherever!”

This is vintage Jane. I might also add that E&H College will place another set of fingerprints on the work being done in the Learning Center. So far, we have had three students and soon we will add our first graduate. She has taken on the Copey Challenge…anymore takers?




I must…Is always a good reason!

“Most people have a million reasons why they can’t when all they need is one reason why they must.” — Unknown   

Several “Friends” have responded to my call regarding the URGENT need for English teachers at the Copey Learning Center for the months September, October, and November.  I send out my biggest Thank You’s!         

There are more of you are out there, I am certain, not quite sure how a volunteer assignment to Copey might work out. I understand!  But think about the opportunity this way according to the following:

Just last week I heard a radio ad that caught my attention. The ad challenged listeners to work within your area of strength about 80% of the time. The advice is to do those things you are really good at doing. Work to excel and get better, set goals, and enjoy your successes. Doing what you do well provides you with self-confidence, purpose, and value. BUT…the ad went on to saChallengey you should try something different. You should spend about 20% of your time taking on new challenges in life…stretching your comfort zone and moving onward/upwards towards the higher levels of your potential whether it is vocational or recreational.

Yes, you are challenged to leave the pack, leap into new waters, climb a higher mountain, run a longer distance, try out a new skill, or take on a whole new adventure that will make you a bit uncomfortable, nervous, or stressed out some. This 20% is what gets us really excited about life, provides us a new perspective, and allows us to learn new things about ourselves. Why…? “We Must!”

Folks…I am walking proof of this advice. In fact, those close by think I have my 80/20% upside down or backwards. Maybe so, but there are other less exciting ways to make the most of your life. I do not think we should reserve our discomfort, nerves, or capacity for stress just to deal with bad news or bad events and experiences. There are other worthy uses. Think about your 20% challenge. Take the Copey Challenge!

Spelling Bee

I forgot to mention the Annual “Spelling Bee” in Costa Rica is underway. I do not have theSpelling Bee

latest details yet but will provide an update in next week’s Post. I have a strong feeling this year we will hit the “Big Time” by sending one or more to the National Spelling Bee Championship and returning to Copey as “winners”.

Mariana, is our inspirational Spelling Bee role model who made it to the National level last year. She did not win the National Title but we predict this could be the year for her and others to do very well. mariana-4-2

Before Mariana left Copey last year to attend the National event, I received this short note she sent to “Friends of Copey”. She wrote:

“I’m very grateful for your economic and emotional support  because this experience is very beautiful, special and unique. This competition shows me that CLC (Copey Learning Center) has a big impact in my life because here I learn a second language, that gives me important opportunities. My experience in this competition is very important for me because I love English”.

Mariana is an Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund recipient and is a prime example of the results we have come to expect from those students we support. I now predict that Mariana will one day be an excellent candidate for the “Pathway Project”.  This will be an amazing story in the future.

“Pathway Project 2017” 

Speaking of the “Pathway Project 2017”, we are still basking in the warm sun. We grow more and moAngela Ana 1.jpgre appreciative for the opportunity we had to bring two wonderful students to our country and campus along with their equally wonderful chaperones. In hindsight, all this has gone extremely well and the two weeks allotted is ideal for accomplishing our goals. The logistics, the supporters, volunteers, and donors all came together in a way that can only be described as “Divine”.  The chemistry of the partnerships including Emory & Henry College, the Kiwanis Club support, members of the Copey Community, and many others is a fantastic study of teamwork and cooperation.  “DIVINE Indeed!”


Ever Wanted To Do Something…Really Different?

This is a week of short notices regarding our Learning Center as things are continuing to settle down in our part of the country while the Learning Center is in the middle of a two-week school break.

The Learning Center’s Board of Directors met last week to review the first half of the school year and look ahead to the second half. There was also an extensive report on the “Pathway Project” provided to the Board by Ana Yancy and our two students, Fatima and Ariana. Natural Bridge

I received a wonderful note from Seidy, the Learning Center’s Founder, complementing “Friends of Copey” and our various “Pathway Project” partners for our outstanding support and devoted interest in the Learning Center and the students.

She wrote; “Thank you so much {Friends of Copey} for being special and wonderful. If we all be like you, definitely our world would be much better.” Seidy R.

Similar notes came in from others affiliated with Emory & Henry College who had hands on involvement with the “Pathway Project”:

“I had SUCH a good time getting to know this crew!”  Monica H.

“Again, you sure have connected us to wonderful people in Costa Rica.”  Edward D. 

“Thank you for allowing us to be part of such an inspirational project. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with Ana Yancey, Fatima, and Adriana. We look forward to hearing about all you will do with Copey in the future!   Celeste G. 

Official letters are being sent out this week to all the “Pathway Project” donors that addresses the 501c3 Tax Exempt status of their donation for this specific project.


We do have an URGENT message to share with all “Friends”. The Learning Center is in need of English teachers…NOW!   clc-classroom-2017

Over the brief history the staff of English teachers volunteering for short and long-term teaching assignments has been very positive and typically in good supply. However, when we depend on an all volunteer force, we have greater risk for surprises and changes in volunteer schedules.

Friends of Copey

The Learning Center really needs our help  getting out the word about available volunteer teaching assignments at the Copey Learning Center.

Do you have an interest in a great vacation to a wonderful part of the world?

Do you know a new teacher or retired teacher who would enjoy a short-term assignment?   Casey and student girls

Do you have a church member (possibly retired) who had a career in education?

Are you a college student or do you know a college student who could benefit from a short international student exchange assignment in a non-English speaking community?

Please look at the specified credentials for a volunteer teaching assignment. Contact me immediately if you are interested or know someone who might be. 

CLC Credentials Please send me an email if you have an interest or know someone who may be. Contact me at  Thanks.

Freedom to Act…!

“There is nothing wrong with America that faith, love of freedom, intelligence, and energy of her citizens cannot cure.”    by Dwight D. Eisenhower
Today, we again will celebrate our country’s “Independence Day”…the 4th of July.  A year ago, I suggested we all pause briefly to consider the significant and priceless benefits we have the opportunity to enjoy. After a year of continuous political, social, and even military unrest and uncertainties, I once again suggest we pause and reflect on what is truly wonderful about the freedoms we enjoy.

I do watch and listen to the news but I consciously limit my time being exposed to the very negative 4th of Julynews and presentations regarding our country. I believe my time is much better spent finding positive ways to help make a difference in areas I have some degree of control. This is basically what “Independence Day” represents to me. I enjoy the freedom to make choices, to dream, to act, and to have an impact on things. This kind of “independence” is not enjoyed or available to people in many other places in our world. I invite you to read any of my 200 Posts and you will typically find a very positive message and evidence that “independence” makes a difference for the better. This is having the “freedom to act.”

Example of Freedom

In fact, one of the most recent examples of having the freedom to act is the “Pathway Project”.  Now, with over five years of continuous work with the Learning Center, we have learned to use our freedom to build successful partnerships. We cross international boundaries and freely participate in this project without needless interference or limitations. It has been the freedoms we have that permit the citizens of the USA and Costa Rica to work together with an excellent college all as partners to achieve something worthwhile and beneficial for kids.

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While it is good to stay current on issues affecting our lives each day, too much of it can cause you to take your eye off the ball. It is easy to get discouraged, cynical, and even feeling hopeless. Being heavy on the negative side can distort what we have to be thankful for. I personally avoid the ever-present gloom and doom. Often, when I see limitations…they usually are self-imposed. We would be “nowhere” today with “Friends of Copey” if the majority of us could only see us engaging in hopeless efforts. Instead, we often see the opportunities for success and therefore “Friends” has become a shining example of freedom in action.  Oh yes…that American faith and that love of freedom is getting the job done. 

More Photos to Share!

This will be the final Post featuring some of the more notable photos from the “Pathway Project”. Most of the photos can be seen now on the Copey Learning Center Facebook Page at you .3 These are a few of my favorites showing the range of activities all four ofReception 2 our guests enjoyed over the short two weeks of their stay. These include hiking and rock climbing. Educating students on cultural matters including food, geography, customs, and traditions.

I believe one of the many key highlights of their trip were the opportunities each had to be among so washington Lincoln Monument rev.1many different people. The interaction, the exchange, and sharing cultures was just priceless.  Natural BridgeI also believe we have become better at being great hosts. We have a clearer vision on how to better share our country and our campus when there is such a short period of time.

This is a wonderful project and consider that in the past 15 months the “Pathway Project” has brought to the E&H campus four Learning Center students and two Executive Directors. Also, three E&H students have worked as volunteers in the Learning Center. But be reminded, this is only the tip of the iceberg when you factor in how much the Copey community has been impacted as well as many of those among the E&H family. All of this has been made possible because we have the freedom to act!Breakfast
Angela Ana (2)Hiking


Part III – Sparks of Possibilities!

“Friends… they cherish one another’s hopes. They are kind to one another’s dreams.”                      By  Henry David Thoreau     

Today, June 26, we are all back home safely and we can all look back over the past couple weeks and be astonished that so much has happened. It was all good! Angela, Ana Yancy, Fatima, and Ariana all returned home to Copey on Saturday evening. Their two-week visit to the US and to our college campus was filled with many breath-taking experiences.

I promised more photos. Most of these are covering time during the second week when the Young Scholars Institute and Leadership Program was held on campus. Both Angela and Ana Yancy participated as teachers and counselors while Fatima and Ariana attended classes.

Photos of Angela and Ana Yancy conducting classes with many US students. Also, Fatima and Ariana performed their cultural dance for all the students. And, of course, just more fun things like standing in Virginia and Tennessee at the same time, and visiting the Country Music Capital located in Bristol, Tennessee.  More photos to follow.Emory Group 3  Emory Group 5

emory group 6


Bristol 2

Emory Group

Bristol    Emory Group 2

Once back home, Fatima and Ariana will instantly become the latest local celebrities and role models for other students to follow. Similar to Noelia and Celeste in 2016, we will have two more outstanding ambassadors inspiring more students to take education seriously.

As “Friends of Copey”, we have been successful.

Each of the four guests represented the country of Costa Rica and the Copey community in grand fashion. As “Friends” we are certainly encouraged to continue the “Pathway Project” as we look forward to the next two students coming our way in 2018.

In closing, several times over the past couple weeks I heard how really wonderful this “Pathway Project” is. Many seem to think this is something very special. My reply is simply that we do not have to be rich and famous or have some special intelligence or be gifted. For the most part, we just believe in possibilities. We believe that if enough people can cause “sparks of possibilities” to start…we then can move on to “probabilities”. This project began simply as a possibility…today it is a fantastic reality.



Part II- Sparks of Possibilities

As promised, today I am sharing some of the very special photos showing some of the 1st time experiences of Adriana and Fatima…even some for Ana Yancey. We are having a great time and you have to be present to experience the first time reactions to many new things.  These are only a few photos and more will be shared later.

Airplanewhite house 1

WashingtonNatural Bridge

bowlingTennesseeCampusThere has been a wide range of activities since their arrival to the US. The time spent in Washington, D.C. included visits to the White House, Lincoln Memorial, and the Smithsonian. They attended the Kennedy Center to watch the New York Ballet perform and that was very special. Traveling down Interstate 81 included the stop at the Natural Bridge, Planetarium, and the caverns. Since arriving on campus, their time has been spent attending the reception, shopping, bowling, rock climbing, the trampoline, time at the lake swimming and boat paddling, attending a live concert, and eating at different restaurants. Later today, they will go hiking. This has been a fun-filled week with endless excitement.

I will be saying goodbye to them this evening and on Monday I travel to eastern Virginia to visit my aunts. Angela, Ana Yancey, Fatima, and Adriana will still be on campus next week attending the Young Scholars Institute and Leadership Program.  

Voted Best Summer Camp by Virginia Living Magazine

The Emory & Henry Summer Scholars program is a one-week residential academic program for rising middle and high school students inclined toward academic adventure. For rising 6th – 9th graders, the traditional Summer Scholars program offers a unique mix of learning activities designed to broaden academic interests and expose students to a college-like setting. The Leadership Program, for rising 10th-12th graders, provides the same academic adventure while building the student’s leadership skills. 

They will depart one week from today and will leave behind many new friends and will take home many memories and a treasure chest of stories to share.  Once again “Friends of Copey”…you helped make this all happen!