Dream Big…Fear Small!

“An act of goodness is of itself an act of happiness. No reward coming after the event can compare with the sweet reward that went with it.”   by  Maurice Maeterlinck

Over the years of my involvement with “Friends of Copey”, I have noticed that just when I start thinking things could not get better…it somehow does! This is one reason I really love this work. You can dream a big as you like…and fear little!

I had the pleasure of reading some of the early impressions Kara Stewart has shared on her website. Kara and Matthew (pictured on far right below) aKara Matthews student photore the two newest E&H College students volunteering time at the Copey Learning Center as part of their course work under the “Pathway Project”. As expected, Kara is enjoying the entire experience including the young kids, adults, host family, food and the work. Ana Yancy reported earlier today that both students are doing very well and the community has already opened their arms to them.

“Pathway Project for 2018”

The Goal  $6,500.00         Actual Income=$2,850.00        Deadline:  May 25th, 2018

The other side of the Pathway Project” is also in full speed. The fundraising campaign is plugging along and we continue to have funds come in. We are still trailing a little on our

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tracking schedule but several donors have sent notes saying the check is in the mail. Our current progress is shown on the chart indicating we are almost 44% of our goal…lower than expected.

I certainly urge “Friends” with intentions of financially supporting the “Pathway Project for 2018” to do so quickly. The official end date for the campaign is this Friday, May 25th but will be extended a couple more weeks. Some of the planned expenses will happen later. Most of the costs for the trip happen early such as purchasing plane tickets. This provides some flexibility for managing later plans based on funds available. “Friends” want to provide a high quality travel experience with hopes the travelers will return to Copey as strong and inspirational ambassadors for learning.

Please send your 501c3 donation to:

guidelines for Pathway

And, please do not make the check to “Friends of Copey” or to me personally. All funds will go into the TCI Kiwanis Foundation account to pay the expenses. The account will be managed by the Foundation’s Treasurer, Ms. Julie Meek, CPA. The Foundation has 501c3 status. Thanks in Advance

Remember….our goal is to provide the highest quality experience possible within budget. Prayers, great positive thoughts, and money are all welcomed for this project.  Thank You!

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“Just Reach Out and Touch…!

“The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.”     by Denis Waitley
Thanks to all who commented last week on my very short Post. It is wonderful to have “Friends” who appreciate and understand when some detours are needed to get to where you have to be. Although I am still extremely busy, the pathway to get all things done is much clearer.

Today, I am officially announcing the three-week fundraising campaign for the “Pathway Project for 2018”. For many “Friends” this will be the first invitation to help

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support this project. During the previous two years, only selected Emory & Henry College affiliates were asked to support this one a kind project. It was my decision to limit donors to E&H folks because I simply wanted E&H College to be the first primary supporters of a project that would highlight the special place our college is. The recent E&H College Alumni story points out this special place and special people. Then, at times, non-E&H College members expressed disappointment in being excluded. Now, everyone and anyone can share in this one of a kind venture. Here are the details:

Pathway Project for 2018

The Goal  $6,500.00         Actual Income=$850.00        Deadline:  May 25th, 2018

The project will provide transportation for two Copey Learning Center students and two adult chaperones traveling from Costa Rica to Washington, DC on June 9th. Then, on June 11th, the guests will travel to E&H College for an approximate two-week stay which will include attendance at the annual Young Scholars and Leadership Program held on campus. Nearly two-thirds of the funds will be applied to airline travel expenses. Over the next few weeks, more specific information will be provided.

I invite “Friends” to join in from all over and support this outstanding partnership effort being undertaken by E&H College, the Learning Center and the Copey community, Kiwanis of Tri-City Industry in Washington state, and of course “Friends of Copey”. Below are the guidelines to follow for making a donation in support of this project.:

Make check to TCI-Kiwanis Foundation and include in memo section: “Pathway Proj. FOC”.  Then please mail the check to the address below not later than May 25th, 2018.

guidelines for Pathway

And, please do not make the check to “Friends of Copey” or to me personally. All funds will go into the TCI Kiwanis Foundation account to pay the expenses. The account will be managed by the Foundation’s Treasurer, Ms. Julie Meek, CPA. The Foundation has 501c3 status. Thanks in Advance

Other News

There are a variety of activities underway including some pen pal letters from one or two elementary schools and a skype session planned for students in Copey and Richland, Washington, Also, another fantastic “Welcome the Pathway Project 2018 Guests” reception is planned and scheduled for June 15th. If interested, please let me know so you can be placed on the guest list.

Other news but no time to share. Just keep reading the Posts and stay informed. This is as much about you as anything.

Thanks for being a “Friend”

                                 

 

Living…the Challenges!

“Trusting your individual uniqueness challenges you to lay yourself open.”                         by James Broughton

I am mid-way through the Spring season bouncing between four different projects. Each project is very important to me but none is more important than the upcoming “Pathway Project for 2018”.

In about six weeks, I will return to Emory & Henry College (E&H) to help welcome theEmory Photo “Pathway Project” students arriving from Copey. We will celebrate our third year anniversary of the “Pathway Project” and I am certain the project will provide another year of wonderful results.

The March issue of the E&H College Alumni Magazine covered the “Pathway Project” in wonderful detail. It has a full-page photo of the 2017 “Pathway Project” students from the Copey Learning Center, Fatima and Ariana as it provides a full account of the origin and successes experienced to date.

Upon the Copey students’ arrival at E&H last year, George Whitley, E&H Board Trustee and devoted “Friend of Copey”, provided his lovely home as the location for the E&H reception. It was a wonderful evening and gathering which led Fatima to proclaim “this was when I felt part of a new family, the E&H family.”reception 5

Emory & Henry College student Melody Lipford had spent the previous five weeks volunteering at the Learning Center. She returned home when the Copey Learning Center students traveled to America. She and her mother were also in attendance at last year’s reception when Melody’s mother commented that “a different person [Melody] stepped off that plane from Costa Rica”. There is much evidence regarding people traveling to Copey and returning home “different”.

Next week, the campaign will start to help raise the funds to support the Copey group’s air travel and other activities associated with their visit. I am making my special annual appeal to my E&H affiliated “Friends” because we consider E&H College as the destination point for the students to attend the Summer Scholars program. And, all “Friends” are invited to help support this effort. Scholars Group Picture 1

The budget planned for “Pathway Project 2018” is now being finalized and is expected to require close to $6,000.00 to bring our two Copey students and two adult chaperones to our campus. Over two-thirds of the cost is needed to cover air and ground travel.

During the short four and half-year history, “Friends of Copey” has an unbelievable track record for achieving goals in support of the mission of the Copey Learning Center. And, the “Pathway Project” has become the signature project for us because its impact is far-reaching and has many enduring qualities. There are E&H students and Copey Learning Center students traveling to and from Copey and from E&H. In addition, the Copey community has fully embraced us as loyal and committed “Friends”.

So, join in and be actively involved in the next couple months. If possible, be part of the “Welcome Reception” at George’s home the week our guests arrive at E&H. 

 

 

 

“Friends…Are Everywhere”

“Friends is not about who you have known the longest. It is about who walked into your life, said “I’m here for you” and proved it.”             by unknown

“The Principal…The Leader”

The Post from last week written by Principal Carolyn Johnson was very well received. Several comments came in expressing views of appreciation and admiration for the work and efforts the Utah Team undertook to support the Copey Learning Center. I personally thank the Utah Team once again for their support and for the wonderful Copey folks for their unique friendship.

If you have not read Principal Johnson’s Post, please click on this link:

https://friendsofcopey.com/2018/04/09/the-principal-the-leader/

I am including a few of the comments I received pertaining to the Post.

“This experience shows that God can work in extraordinary ways to bring people together to do great work for the “children of His world.” God bless all of you who answered His call for action. Your trip was filled with love and inspiration. Amen.”  K. Ford from VirginiaUtah Team and kids

“Thank you for your service. I understand the love for children after spending more than thirty-four years as an educator.”  C. Clark from Maryland

“Carolyn’s note brought tears to my eyes!”  L. Church from North Carolina

“I’m wishing Principal Johnson many blessings and good fortune.”  P. Wright from Washington State

“That was a great post. Inspiring!”  E. Davis from Virginia

“The Pathway Project 2018”

For the next several weeks the “Pathway Project 2018” will be our primary focus. We are moving quickly towards the departure of the two Emory & Henry College students heading to the Copey Learning Center to perform volunteer work.

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Lourdes and Brian

Then, in early June, four Copey Learning Center guests will travel to the USA and the E&H College. We are looking forward to having two very good students who are learning English at the Copey Learning Center, Lourdes and Brian, come to America. This is a thrill for them, their parents, their friends and their community. In all probability, these students would not have the opportunity to travel to America without their accomplishments at the Learning Center and certainly not without the support of “Friends”.

Lourdes and Brian will be added to the list of “Pathway Project” students; Noelia, Celeste, Ariana, and Fatima. These past travelers have become excellent representatives and ambassadors at home encouraging students to strive to learn English.

All “Friends” living around or near the E&H College campus should get ready for a very nice reception being planned for June 15. It is very seldom when “Friends” gather as a group. Last year’s reception included the gathering of 20-25 guests (“Friends”) to welcome last year’s “Pathway Project” students. This meet and greet event was among the students’ trip highlights.

Thank You Delta Sigma Theta Sorority for Your Donation

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The Deltas includes “Friends of Copey” in their annual budget because of their very strong interest in the Copey Learning Center. These outstanding Deltas have earned highly regarded professional reputations. Two of the members  were outstanding elementary school principals now retired with notable careers. Others are well-known for their professional careers. I regard itDeltas 2

an honor to have their interest and support for the educational and professional future of the Copey students. Each serve as excellent role models for students with educational disadvantages and one or more are seriously inquiring about doing some volunteer work in Copey. I believe anyone of these Deltas would have a significant impact on the lives of students they meet. We thank these Deltas and all the Deltas everywhere for making differences in lives of young folks.

Deltas are “Friends of Copey”

 

 

 

The Principal…The Leader!

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”                                                                                                       by Mahatma Gandhi

When Arthur asked me to write something about our experience at the Copey Learning Center I didn’t know if I could put my feelings into words. I could use words like amazing, unforgettable, memorable, remarkable, and extraordinary, but it was so much more! 

There are so many people to thank that it’s difficult to know where to start. Nothing would have happened without Arthur’s willingness to share his passion with a stranger on an airplane. As he shared his vision it was evident to Tamarie that this was going to be a wonderful opportunity for Meadow. So, thank you, Arthur for becoming such a force for good.Utah 3

Lisa Watters, Tamarie McMullin, and Debbi Christiansen. They are the planners, schedulers, packers, idea-givers that, said simply, “Love children!” Also, the students at Meadow Elementary for their generosity when it came to bringing in a massive amount of school supplies. Is it any wonder why I love being the principal of such a marvelous school? I have been blessed!

I want to thank the people of Copey!! We were showered with love, hugs, food, and much attention. It’s the closest I will ever get to feeling like a dignitary! I know I will forget someone so I will just say, thank you for sharing your homes, food, cars, time andUtah Team w Carolyn goodness with us. However, the best part was sharing your beautiful children as we worked in the learning center. When all is said and done, after all, it is about the children. They literally have stolen our hearts!

As an educator I know that within each child is the potential to change the world. Nothing is truer than this, as stated by The Spoken

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Word in 2002. “The power of one person to affect the lives of millions becomes clear when we think of Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi bringing freedom to India, Abraham Lincoln uniting a country divided by war, or Mother Teresa showing love and compassion for the forgotten outcasts of Asia.”

But for a moment, picture each of these as a ten-year-old child: Gandhi—shy, unsmiling, awkward; Lincoln—lanky and sober; Mother Teresa—a tiny girl named Agnes from a country many people still can’t find on the map.  None was marked by any outward sign of what strength lay within them. Each seemed just an ordinary child. And therein is the wonder: ordinary folk can and do make extraordinary differences.Utah Team and kids

“Everyone can make a difference! Everyone can get involved! Don’t be afraid to give the same love we have all been given in large measure.”

I want to return to Copey, where their needs are great, but love and dedication are not in short supply. They are making such a difference in the lives of each child they teach.

Miracles happened on this trip and we felt God’s hand in everything we did. Miracles can happen in your life as well. We are all God’s children journeying together to make our world a better place for those who follow after us, our children, the most precious commodity any nation has.

“For me, the people of Copey are forever etched on my heart and I will never be the same.”  Carolyn Johnson, Principal of Meadow Elementary School, Lehi, Utah

 

 

 

“Friends…Caring Magnets!”

“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.”  By  H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Welcome Home to Lehi!

About this time last week, we were tracking the movement of the Utah Team as they arrived in Costa Rica and later on to Copey. And, it feels wonderful this week to be bathing in the sunlight of excitement and joy. The team had an amazing experience and from all indications, their expectations were all exceeded. They accumulated a very long list of great memories I am told.  utah-team-and-kids.jpgMy impression is the excitement began quickly upon arrival in Costa Rica.

The 400 pounds of school supplies were successfully delivered last Sunday. Utah Team.jpgThey spent time on Monday helping unpack supplies and worked with the Copey Learning Center students. They visited Larry and Cindy, Larry’s Fold-A-Mansion construction site, visited both the local elementary and high school, skyped with their Meadow Elementary students, shared a farewell dinner with several board members, and did much more in the short three plus days in Costa Rica. I am so grateful for Carolyn, Tamarie, Lisa, and Debbi. You all made a difference!  A few more of the great photos are shared.

Utah Team and Skyping  Utah Team and kids 6

Utah Team and kids 3  Utah Team and kids 2   Utah team and kids 8  utah-team-and-larry.jpgPossibly, next week you will be treated with a first-hand trip report by Principal Carolyn Johnson. She has accepted my invitation to be the “guest Blogger” and plans to share many of the details and impressions she and her team experienced in Copey.

Pathway Project 2018

Being back at my college here in southwest Virginia and east Tennessee provides me the opportunity to serve and support the institution that made a huge difference in my life. zzzEmory image 5It also provides me the opportunity to visit with both family and friends. Among the friends are those “Friends” who support the Pathway Project. So wonderful to know there are many “Friends” gearing up to support the arrival of two Copey Learning Center students in June. Additionally, there are two Emory & Henry College (E&H) students preparing to leave for Copey in May.

The E&H College Alumni magazine hit the streets recently and “Friends of Copey”, “TheImage result for ampersand images“Pathway Project”, and our “Friend” Jane Rutledge were all featured in the magazine. Such a thrill to see our “Friends” story being told in such eloquent fashion.

Our college emphasizes “Ampersand” as one of its true educational values. “Ampersand” focuses on stressing the importance of education and the common good for our society. In other words, Ampersand is seeing a problem, obtaining the needed knowledge/skills, and applying these to achieve a solution that serves or benefits our world community. We believe with sincerity that “Friends of Copey” models the principles of “Ampersand” and grateful to be included as an example for some to learn about and others to follow. The article concludes by saying “This is just one story that exemplifies E&H College’s commitment to educating students who understand how to build relationships and solve problems.” That’s Ampersand…&…that’s “Friends”.

If you are an alumni, check out the story in the current March issue. You won’t be disappointed.

 

 

“Friendships…Engines That Work!”

“I touch the future. I teach!”     Christa McAuliffe

One week from today, the Utah Team will be settled in Copey and growing acquainted with some of the best folks they will ever want to meet. Their first day will include spending the morning at the Learning Center working with volunteers and interacting with the students. They will arrive in Costa Rica next Sunday morning and will reach Copey later in the afternoon.  Church after

Getting to Copey will provide some adventure with the traffic, roads, and the amazing scenery along the way.  Once in Copey, one of the most striking sights to see will be the burned down church located in the center of this small community.

Carolyn Johnson, Principal of Meadow Elementary School leading the others to Copey, commented in a recent note to me… “I was telling my son about our trip and he was stunned by the generosity you all display. He has a 16-year-old daughter and expressed that he would love to see her involved in something like this. I am retiring this year, but would absolutely love to have an opportunity to get some young people involved, if you think that would ever be a possibility.” 

I shared with Ms. Johnson our deep belief in “possibilities”. “Friends” are true “Possibilitarians”.  Most things we have done started out as only a “possibility”. I am looking forward to her retirement! In the meantime, we hope to build a strong partnership with the school to provide student interactions for educational purposes.    Meadow elementary students

And, let’s not forget the purpose of their trip to Copey.  Ms. Johnson, teachers, and students in her school led the way for the collection of school supplies and materials for the Learning Center. The quantity of this collection is huge and four educators will personally deliver the goods to the Copey Learning Center.

Next week’s Post will provide an updated report on the delivery and hopefully some great photos will be available. Until then, we wish them well and safe travels.

Larry and Cindy Windes

Copey and its surroundings has some really great folks with unbelievable talents. Recall Larry and Cindy. The proposed new Learning Center which is currently on hold was designed by Larry, a transplanted retired architect from Phoenix. Now, Larry is busy on a new project…“Fold-A-Mansion”.Larry Windes House.jpg

This unique house under construction near Copey has great potential. It has all the usual accommodations any home would have. Larry and Cindy will host the Utah Team next week for a few hours and will treat the team with a visit to the construction site.

They have resided in the area for about 10 years and have a great understanding of the many facets of Costa Rican life, culture, and its people. Hearing the American perspective on Costa Rica from this couple will be a significant and enjoyable experience for the Utah Team.  Oh yes, if you want to know more about the “Fold-A-Mansion” project, let me know.

Final Words!

Each day I am reminded how messed up this world is and see little ahead to be optimistic about. The news is full of accounts showing the dark side of folks and only occasionally something positive slips into the news day. At times it all just seems too hopeless to do anything that matters or makes a difference.

Then, there comes this ray of light. My sanity is saved. I do not get lost in the craziness confronting us each day . I can get temporarily distracted but I do not get lost because I have seen this project touch others in ways I never anticipated. It is very humbling and I have come to see “Friends” or friendships as engines that can do things. These engines are fueled in a large part by our “agape” relationship and purpose.

“Friends” have become involved in many different ways. There are volunteers in the Learning Center, workers participating in the “Pathway Project”, supporters for our scholarship fund and other fundraising efforts, those who keep us on their praying lists, those who apply their positive energies to  help us succeed, and so many I do not know much about all making up the family of “Friends”. I think the attraction is because we do share the hope of a community and believe we “can make a difference”. And…We Do!