The “Heart of a Servant” took over………
Enter stage right… Hailey, a new graduate from Washington State University was beginning her professional career as an elementary school teacher and had been substituting locally for a couple months. Well, that divine intervention thing showed up and on that very sunny morning in the spring of 2013, we met. Hailey arrived with her mother at our local library to help me gather and purchase children’s books that would be delivered to The Learning Center in Copey, Costa Rica. When I shared with her that I originally had an interest in volunteering to teach English in The Learning Center, Hailey’s “heart of a servant” took over. She immediately expressed her interest in being a volunteer teacher at The Learning Center.
Hailey applied to The Learning Center and was quickly accepted as a volunteer. In early August, she boarded a plane to Costa Rica to begin her 90 day volunteer teaching assignment. Compared to those great Kiwanis members I know who operate with a servant’s heart, Hailey’s response was similar. She sensed the need to help others and was willing to make the personal and professional sacrifices needed. It involved traveling to another country at her own expense, moving into a very unfamiliar community and culture, being challenged by her limited Spanish speaking skills, and working with other teachers with diverse educational and teaching experiences. She had not traveled that far alone before and on that early August morning, she waved goodbye to Mom and Dad and left behind the familiar, comfortable, and secure world she knew in Kennewick, Washington.
The ninety day assignment proved challenging and even emotionally painful at times for Hailey. Many of the support systems she had at home were not available in Costa Rica, except for family via phone calls and e-mails.
But she survived by focusing on her purpose for being there. During the assignment, she grew as a teacher, team player, and became more confident as a person. Upon departing Copey, she had earned the love and respect of her leader, her co-workers, students, and the community she lived and worked in for 90 days. She learned Spanish and became familiar with the Costa Rican culture. She lived with a host family and developed a special relationship with the mother and father and their two children. She had time to visit other areas of the country and spent time at the beaches. She came home with much more than she left home with. The following is a letter from The Learning Center thanking Hailey.
Friends of Nature
COPEY LEARNING CENTER November 22, 2013
We wish to thank you for all of the wonderful work you did for Copey Learning Center during your time here. Your patience, careful planning, and enthusiasm were noted in and out of your classes.
We all loved watching you blossom on your journey here – you overcame challenges with fierce bravery and were an inspiration to us all.
Thank you for touching the lives of your students here at CLC. Please visit us soon.
Eve, Seidy, Gloria and the CLC team
Hailey represents more than an excellent example of someone with a “heart of a servant”. She demonstrates how amazing this entire adventure in Copey has been for many of us. It has given rise to a growing community of friends becoming well known in Copey as “Friends of Copey” and it has given birth to various projects of hope for the Copey community.
She was presented a framed collection of photos of her students, including the letter shown above, and a Certificate of Achievement from the “Friends of Copey”.
Hailey left home on that August morning and returned home in October with a new perspective on her life and the world around her. She has been tried and tested, and met the challenges she faced both in the classroom and outside the classroom. She saw what I have seen…the small community in a very beautiful country that is growing economically. She saw a community of young people who may not benefit or enjoy this prosperity because of the lack of the very basic educational tools and opportunities to master English now needed for a quality education and a productive future in their country. We thank you Hailey and we are honored you are counted among the “Key Friends of Copey”.