“Friends are Family…!

Thanksgiving For Much!

It is December…and the Copey Learning Center (CLC) is closed CLC graduation down for their summer break. Before closing, CLC conducted its annual graduation ceremony Sunday, November 24th. Among these graduates are a couple future “Pathway Project” recipients we can expect to see in June 2020.

The enthusiasm continues among the Copey parents and the community for the work of the CLC. This grass roots level of folks is determined to keep this learning center operating.

Congrats to all of the students, parents, and the Board of Directors and thank you for letting us be part of your success.

Ana Yancy…says goodbye!

Ana Yancy’s final week of work with the CLC ended last week. She has served as the Executive Director and “interim” director for four years. She traveled twice to America as chaperone for the “Pathway Project”, and has been my key contact with the CLC since Angela left. I have enjoyed working with her and will miss her cheerful and positive “can do” attitude she always expressed. Ana Emory 36recently posted her final goodbye on the CLC Facebook page. She says…

“Today I say goodbye after four years of unforgettable experiences. Feelings found, but above all, a deep thank you to all the people who through these years I have known, have helped me, corrected and supported.
To every family father, to every volunteer, to every student I say thank you and wish you growth and prosperity in the most human program I have ever known. Thank you to all the people who provide selfless support of time and money for this program to hold. Thanks to the board of directors.
Ana yancy

Ana Yancy with Daughter

Thanks to Arthur Broady and all the friends of copey, who despite the distance, collaborate and identify with each of our purposes.
I’m following a dream, but with the certainty that these years have turned me not only into a better professional but a better human being. With a deeply grateful heart and with a thousand memories.”
Ana Yancy

From all the “Friends” Ana touched along her journey with the CLC, “Thank You”! 

Maliek Broady…!

My oldest grandson, Maliek, played his final regular season football game for the University of Nevada last Saturday. Game day was also Senior Day and several family members and friends attended the game to share “Senior Day”.  Nevada lost in overtime but still seem to have a great chance of being invited to a bowl game during the Christmas season.  Maliek.xx

Being a grandpa means you can be proud of your grandchildren for anything. And, I am often proud! The past few days in Reno sharing time with family and friends and especially time with Maliek and his brother Mykel have been very special.

Maliek arrived at the University of Nevada as a “walk on” out of his desire to be a member of the football team. After two years of personal determination and devotion to his dream of  playing college football, he was awarded a very precious scholarship which are not just handed out. He earned it and this alone speaks volumes about his willingness to sacrifice, to hold fast to his dream, meet all the obstacles in his path, and have the power of faith. There are many life-lessons played out in Maliek’s journey to “Senior Day”.

Maliek Broady. rev. 2

So hats off to a really wonderful grandson who has completed his college journey as an excellent student, a really decent young man, well-mannered, well-adjusted, and academically successful in spite of all the demands imposed on him as a student athlete.

Maliek reminds me that dreams are powerful and important. Whether on the football field or sitting in a learning center in some remote part of Central America, young people have dreams.

Our job is to care…to motivate…to inspire! We can be engaged to guide young folks through those wonderful life-lessons. Helping in small ways produces big results. I continue to remind us of the motto we adopted nearly six years ago as it seems more and more appropriate to our efforts as “Friends of Copey”.

zzzBanner of FOC

“When many will do just a little…A lot will get done for Kids!”

Family Illness Continues!

Harold Evans (my uncle), who resides in Hampton, Virginia has been reported having experienced a stroke following Thanksgiving Day. He is in need of prayer and I call on all my “Friends” and prayer warriors to get busy with prayers. AMEN!

 

 

 

Dr. Stephen and Ms. Edeltraut Gilgan-Hunt…Key Friends!

Dr. Stephen and Ms. Edeltraut Gilgan-Hunt, residents of Asheville, North Carolina, are the third among the recently named “Key Friends” who have provided unique and significant support to “Friends of Copey”. I am extremely pleased to honor both Stephen and Edeltraut for their devoted support over the full term of our “Friends of Copey” project.

Stephen and I attended Emory & Henry College (E&H) together 50 years ago. Stephen, a 1971 E&H College graduate, continued to earn his Ph.D from the University of Virginia and enjoyed a distinguished career in service to our country. He spent 30 years in the United States Department of Education after a stint teaching and conducting research in the private sector. Near the end of his long and distinguished career in government, he enjoyed a close affiliation with the United States Department of State and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Council of Europe where he was responsible for a 56 country education information network. He worked on projects which deepened his understanding of Third World education systems and their problems.

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Stephen and Edeltraut

Edeltraut’s background is also very unique and impressive. Her career in the World Bank’s Africa Division involved projects across that continent concerning economic development, water resources, project management, and related social issues including education.

Both Stephen and Edeltraut have traveled extensively in Africa and Europe providing them both an up-close and first-hand understanding of Third World education systems and educational barriers challenging people from Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Dr. Earl G. Hunt, Jr.EH college

My relationship with Stephen actually has roots before we attended college together. Stephen’s father, Dr. Earl G. Hunt, was E&H College President from 1956 to 1964 and played a key role in the racial integration of the college. President Hunt’s careful and deliberate efforts resulted in Afro-Americans enrolling in E&H College in the mid 1960’s despite much reluctance from the surrounding community, the college’s Board of Trustees, and at great risk to his professional career.

In 1966, two years after President Hunt left the college, I was the first Afro-American male to enroll full-time at E&H College. I benefitted directly from President Hunt’s earlier decisive, determined, and unrelenting commitment to integration during the time most southern and mid-Atlantic segregated small liberal arts colleges showed very little interest. President Hunt was among the very few college Presidents during his time willing to go all in for integration. Stephen.xx

Then, as fate would have it, President Hunt’s son, Stephen and I attended E&H College together. Stephen, similar to his father’s devotion to integration, also embarked on equal educational opportunities throughout his professional career and has continued to advocate for justice and rights even as a current member of E&H College’s Board of Trustees.

The Legacy Continues…!

When the first call went out for support to “Friends of Copey”, Stephen and Edeltraut were among the first to respond. They have been devoted supporters of “Friends of Copey” since day one. Their financial and non-financial support has been consistent and generous.

Stephen says, “when Scrapper invited us to become involved with Copey, we were and remain enthusiastic. The Copey project has enabled us to continue our involvement with the development in poorer societies into retirement. Scrapper’s leadership and the dedication of Copey’s citizens continue to impress us and justify all that we do. We are proud to partner with my old college friend and wish Copey all the best.”

The quality of support we “Friends of Copey” have been blessed with is never in question. “Friends of Copey” has successfully pooled some of the best and most talented “friends” around to support a very uncommon mission. I get to see and to know all “active friends” as we move along with our efforts year after year. In other words, I have the “best seat in the house!”  And, I can fully attest to the fact…”Friends of Copey” are different…and the best!

Stephen and Edeltraut are wonderful “Key Friends”. It is a truly unique history because our history begins before our paths ever crossed and that is not very common. But, I have so many special stories about the devoted “friends” who have remained supportive. I hope to share more of these with you in the future.

Thanks for making a difference!

 

 

 

 

Dr. Celeste Gaia…Key Friend!

Dr. Celeste Gaia, Director of International Education at Emory & Henry College since 2007, is Emory & Henry College’s master-mind behind the now popular “Pathway Project”.

Celeste Gaia

Dr. Celeste Gaia

She received her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Tennessee and her academic work and body of professional publications are substantial. She is highly respected among her peers, colleagues, students and others within the academic community.

As the Director of International Education and a strong advocate for global citizenship education and cultural exchange, she is the college’s strongest advocate for study abroad programs. Also, she is the campus liaison for international students.

I first met Dr. Gaia in 2012. Several of Dr. Gaia’s students had just returned from their study abroad assignments and were the dinner guest speakers at an Emory & Henry College Board affair, describing their very positive international educational experiences. I was struck by the excitement and enthusiasm the students expressed as each student shared their life-changing experience while abroad.

WOW! During that dinner presentation…the thought/vision struck me! If “we” could bring Copey students to Emory & Henry College, perhaps they also would return home to Costa Rica with life-changing experiences.

Church service

2019 Pathway Project Students

In 2013, I discussed in detail my vision with Dr. Gaia. She agreed to partner with me in an effort to develop such an opporunity for the Copey students.

Necessary authorizations/permissions, room and board, course tuition, hosts, local travel, and other logistical arrangements where needed to host Copey students and chaperones on the E&H campus. Dr. Gaia spearheaded this effort requiring much dedicated time and attention.

My challenges were a little different. I had to help Angela, the Copey Learning Center Director, sell the idea to the Copey community. Culturally, this is not typically a familiar proposition. Getting permission from parents to allow their students to travel to America to unknown destinations and be in the care of unknown “friends” would not be an easy task.

Also, there was the small issue of funds needed to support the transportation costs to America and back to Copey. I had to launch a fundraiser and we successfully raised the funds to cover the costs.

In June 2016, the first two Copey students arrived in the USA as our guests to spend approximately two weeks on campus.

Angela with students

Xavier, Casey, and director Angela

Thanks to Dr. Gaia, there is more to the story.

While establishing the “pathway” for Copey students to visit the E&H College campus, Dr. Gaia went a step further. She also established a process for E&H students to travel to Copey for a four or five week volunteer assignment. The E&H students to make the first journey were Xavier and Casey…very special students!

Today in 2019, nine Copey students plus chaperones have journeyed to the E&H College campus and seven E&H students have served as volunteers in Copey.

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Kara

Kara Stewart, the 2018 E&H “Pathway Project” student, wrote these words on her final day in Copey before returning back to the USA: “This is so bittersweet for me because I miss my friends and family like crazy, but boy I wish you all could just come here. This place [Copey] is truly incredible.”  Today, the “Pathway Project” is a truly amazing success story.

Without question, Dr. Gaia is a real “Key Friend” of Copey! In only four years, sixteen students have had life-changing experiences similar to the Copey experience Kara describes…largely due to the willingness and determination of one “Key Friend” who saw the vision and agreed to help.

Dr. Gaia…you are a Key Friend who “makes a difference”.

 

 

 

 

 

Lou Peery…My Friend

“Though it is hard to let you go, in the Father’s hands we know, that a life-time’s not too long to live as Friends.”      By Michael W. Smith

This is now my second week in east Tennessee and southwest Virginia. I reported last week the news about my long time friend, Lucian “Lou” Peery, whose medical condition was not good. He passed away at home October 30th at the young age of 72.  2222222222

Gene Gabriel, our fraternity brother, and the third member of this close trio, joined me as we gathered by Lou’s bedside to say our collective goodbyes on Sunday October 27. We three have been as close as brothers since college and it was important we three have our time together…apparently our last time together. It was nearly magical as we spoke to Lou and knew Lou was aware that we had come to visit him. Lou understood everything perfectly. I might add that the odds of this happening as it did can only be explained by way of “divine intervention”.

My initial introduction to Lou dates back to 1965 when we were both high school seniors on opposing football teams. Because of events at this football game involving both Lou and me, it should have been a clue that one day Lou and I would again meet. I enrolled in Emory & Henry College in 1966 and in 1967, Lou arrived as a transfer student. We would have the distinction of being the first two and only Afro-American males and athletes enrolled at Emory & Henry College. We instantly became friends, teammates, roommates, and fraternity brothers. We even joined the US Air Force following our graduation from college.

After joining the military, there would always be at least 2,500 miles between us. When Lou’s military service time ended, he returned home to Tazewell, Virginia. When my service time ended, I became a resident of Anchorage, Alaska and later Washington state. The distance did not matter as the next 45 years involved phone calls and visits which sustained our relationship until the end.  Lou Peery

Yesterday, during Lou’s going-home service, Larry Blankenship, a long-time friend, spoke about Coach Lou’s tremendous impact on his community, the countless number of kids he coached, and the many lives Coach Lou touched. Over his 35 years coaching, several of Coach Lou’s players made it to the professional baseball league because of the early instruction and guidance Coach Lou provided. The size of this man inside and out earned him a status of a “giant” in his community. Larry did an outstanding job representing the community who knew and loved Lou the “Coach”.

I was also asked to speak and my message related to “friendship”. I had enjoyed a completely different connection to Lou than Larry and the community. Ours was much more personal and our distance apart demanded that we skip talking about careers and politics and many other matters. We had very little time or need to compare individual accomplishments. We had accumulated so many past memories and shared so many wild experiences, those areas were the places we would naturally default to.

I would spend 95% of the time just enjoying his company, his amazing humor, and his wonderful gift of joke telling which served to bring so much joy and laughter into the time we shared. And, even from a long distance, I knew what Larry spoke of regarding the “Coach”. I summed it up yesterday from my viewpoint in the following way:

  1. Lou lived a life of purpose. Although he spent 35 years as a high school baseball coach, he was far more than that. He was a light others would follow. He was an inspirational motivator, counselor, and had the ability to move players to be better today than yesterday….and better tomorrow than today. He led by example.
  2. Lou made a difference. He did not have the greatest tools, the greatest intellect, the best timing, and certainly Tazewell, Virginia may not have been the best location to build a successful career. But, Lou took each of these less than perfect conditions and did the miracles only those who have been ordained or called to do. It all resulted in the betterment of others. He made it all work and he made a difference.
  3. Lou lived life as a servant. In biblical terms, he served by putting others above self.  Although referred to often as a “giant” of a person in his community and he was a big man, Lou never thought he was larger or bigger than those he served each day.  The following is a local newscast regarding his service.

https://wvva.com/sport/top-sports-stories/2019/11/05/remembering-lou-peery-the-man-who-was-and-is-tazewell-baseball/

Lou being a very humble man and someone who prefered to have others stand in the bright light of  fame and success, it was difficult yesterday to play down the impact he had on his community and how important he was as my friend and brother. I hope he will forgive me for writing this post in his honor.

“Lean On The One!”

“If we don’t listen to everything that the spirit of God has to say, eventually we won’t hear anything.”     by  Mark Batterson, Pastor

“Wherever I am…I am near Friends of Copey”

This week I am on the other side of the country back in the wonderful southwest Virginia/east Tennessee area. I am here to attend my final Board of Trustees meeting at the Emory & Henry College (E&H College) and to bring to a close a very wonderful eight years. I will be saying farewell to many good friends and carrying away many positive memories. zzzEmory image 5

This does not mean E&H College will no longer be our partner. The various relationships and projects we have established with the Copey Learning Center will not cease. Not at all!. While on campus, I will be discussing the 2020 Pathway Project and will have meetings pertaining to two very special initiatives. These new special initiatives are possibly groundbreaking and exciting but it is far too early to share the details. So one door closing means another door may be opening.

“Let’s Pray!”

I am asking for prayers for my dear friend Lou Peery. As I am writing this Post, I am sitting in the Bristol Regional Hospital’s cafeteria. Upstairs on the fourth floor is my friend facing life-challenging medical issues. Plans are underway at this moment to return Lou back home where he will receive Hospice care. Lou and I have a long history as college roommates, football team members, fraternity brothers, and just close friends that began as far back as 1965. “Friends of Copey” pray for him and his family.

Some Good News!

This week’s update from the Copey Learning Center is positive. I skyped with Ana Yancy last Friday. The volunteer teachers for the 2020 year beginning March have been confirmed. I hope to get additional information on each later but I do know one is from Germany, another from the United Kingdom, and the third from Wisconsin. All this is encouraging and it includes the new Director coming on board soon. The year 2020 appears to be off to a great start.

I continue to thank the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund (AGBSF) early bird donors. These early donations serve to further our optimism and high expectations. If the trend continues, we may be 50% of our goal or higher with funds in hand when we officially open the campaign in early January.

Remember Brian?

Over the past few weeks, I have been exchanging emails again with Brian. RememberEmory 22  Brian? He was a 2018 Pathway Project recipient and a recipient of our AGBSF support. Brian is excited about his life and he has set highEMOry 37 educational and professional goals.

Brian represents a special type of success. Many of the older male students attending the Copey Learning Center are seriously challenged to stay in school and are challenged to consider non-traditional occupations. This explains why to date we have had only one male student participate in the Pathway Project. We keep working to change this condition.

I keep in touch with Brian because I press him to be a real effective “ambassador” and role model for other males attending the Copey Learning Center. Helping Brian to see he too can make a difference is a wonderful learning experience for him. Thanks Brian.

New Key Friends Announced!

Last week our first three new Key Friends were announced and I am trying to put the special Post together to properly introduce each one. Events leading up to my trip here to my current location overtook my time and opportunity. Stay tuned. If you want to know the names of those honored, check out last week’s Post. Thanks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compelling Vision…Relentless Implementation!

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”                                     By Peter Drucker

Key Friends Announced!

I am very happy to announce the newly named “Key Friends”: Dr. Lin ChurchDr. Celeste Gaia, and Dr. Steve and Edeltrout Hunt. These “Key Friends” have contributed significantly to the development, progress, and sustainability of the “Friends of Copey” project.

A special Post is forthcoming to highlight their background, service/support, and affiliation to “Friends of Copey”.       

“Thank You”!!! 

New Executive Director Announced!

We are another week closer to the end of the Copey Learning Center school year. Graduation is scheduled for November 29th.Good News

In 2020, a new Executive Director will take over to meet the challenges of moving us on to the next chapter of this successful project. Ines Segura Serrano, the recently named Executive Director will follow three previous Executive Directors who have contributed immeasurably to the continuation and sustainability of the Copey Learning Center. A skype session is being worked out for me to meet and welcome the new Director to the partnership with “Friends of Copey”. More information on our new Director will be forthcoming.   

Past Executive Directors!

The Copey Learning Center has been  very successful attracting qualified and competent

Angela Professor

Angela

leaders to manage the day to day operation of the center. I have worked closely with each Executive Director and together we have accomplished much over the years. Angela Ramos, next Ana Yancy, and then Andrea Serrano  have all demonstrated their skills and commitment to do the work needed to face the challenges and demands of operating an

Ana Yancy.Post

Ana Yancy

educational center in rural Costa Rica. And, much credit goes to the center’s Board of Directors’ choices in leadership. Attracting qualified and dedicated talent to take on the leadership challenges of the center is not easy. If the candidates are qualified to work at the center, then they are qualified to work anywhere in Costa Rica and beyond. 

 

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Andrea

The attraction for quality applicants is not the plush job possibilities or the high wages being offered. It is neither since there is little to find plush and the wages are certainly meager. I contend some of the attraction is linked to the beauty of the community, the wonderful students, and the people of Copey. And, if you want to truly learn some things about yourself, test your metal, and make a huge difference in a life…Copey Learning Center is a great place to be.  I am honored to have worked with each one. 

Thank You

 

 

 

 

“Education…Is A Passport!

” I tell students that the oportunities I had were a result of having a good educational background. Education is what allows you to stand out. ”   By  Ellen Ochoa

Spelling Bee!

The Costa Rican Spelling Bee (aka English Festival) is now underway and our Copey Learning Center students are involved. Recall,  this Spelling Beecompetition features spelling English words and includes a “conversational” competition. The Copey students have done exeptionally well in this nationally sponsored spelling competition. “Friends of Copey” has been supporting the Copey students’ involvement in the Spelling Bee since 2015.

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Marianna Wins in 2016

Mariana has been a Spelling Bee participant for serveral years and even made it to the National Championship level in 2016 and 2017.

She visited us last summer as one of the 2019 Pathway Project students. We were treated to her advanced English skills during her time in America and on the Emory & Henry College campus. We predict she will enjoy a great deal of

Mariana.1

Mariana at E&H College 2019

personal and professional success in the future.

Now, her sister Margarita is following in her big sister’s footsteps. Recently, Margarita placed 1st in the first round of competition. Other Copey Learning Center students also participated but I do not know the official results of their competitions.

Margarita and two other Spelling Bee participants (Ruben and Erick) joined in on the Skype call between Ana Yancy and me last week.

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Ruben, Erick, and Margarita

It is a real joy to be in touch with students who are eager to learn and have a strong appreciation for the opportunity to attend this English based Learning Center in rural Costa Rica.

They know this English education is not available to the vast majority of rural communities throughout the country. The more urban locations provide urban students a greater opportunity to learn English and a significant advantage in Spelling Bee contests. 

For the Copey students, the Spelling Bee helps develop pride, confidence, and serves to underscore the point: “where you are from does not dictate where you can go”.  The upper echelon of the Spelling Bee organization has come to recognize and respect the Copey Learning Center students who compete. 

We are impacting the educational and future lives of children with our support and this is just one more way we “Friends of Copey” is making a difference.  This ” impact goes far beyond the boundaries of the Copey community.

Key Friends…!

The work is underway to put the first list of supporters who will be inducted in the “Key Friends” group. Should be news on this list next week.

Angela Ramos Has A New Family Member

Angela, past Executive Director of the Copey Learning Center, recently gave birth to a baby boy. I was happy to communicate with Angela who now resides in America and to send our collective congrats from “Friends of Copey”.  Blessings to All!