Mom Remembered…!

“I don’t want my life to be defined by what is etched on a tombstone. I want it to be defined by what is etched in the lives and hearts of those I’ve touched.”  by Steve Maraboli
As it has become our family’s tradition, we spent some time together yesterday honoring Mom’s memory. She passed away on the morning of August 27, 2013. We have our annual family seafood feast, eating lots of seafood including claims, mussels, shrimp, and crab plus more. We declare mission accomplished on the feast and the tradition lives on.

Mom and “Friends of Copey” are connected!  Mom’s personal interest in the Learning Center during my earliest days of involvement subsequently inspired the establishment of the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund (AGBSF) following her death. IMG_5365Setting up the scholarship fund then demanded a more efficient way to communicate with friends which brought about our name “Friends of Copey” and the birth of my Blog by the same name.AGB Scholarships.1

So, it is impossible to honor Mom’s memory each year without also observing the official and important start of “Friends of Copey”. As much as Mom was a blessing to us, we are very fortunate and blessed to have “Friends” to share this opportunity to keep her memory alive by serving others.  Mom…you are missed!

Jane Update!

Well, this afternoon, Jane will head off to Costa Rica. With the help of Skype, I had the wonderful pleasure speaking with Jane yesterday and finally meeting  her family after knowing Jane and her late husband Gail since 1968.

Rutledge family

Jane with her sons and daughter

Jane’s sons and her daughter along with grand-kids gathered at Jane’s home yesterday in Matthews, NC to spend the day with her before her departure to Copey. They were also  there for an early celebration of Jane’s birthday which will come around before she returns home in late November.

Jane is packed up with suitcases filled for her and for the students at the Copey Learning Center. She is excited and has that positive attitude many of the “Friends of Copey” seem to have.

 

 

By the way, her host family will be Ariana’s parents. Ariana was one of our two students who visited us this summer. There should be plenty there to talk about.

As I indicated last week, we will try to keep close contact with Jane and her work in Copey. I can not think of a better way to rush into the final three months of school at the Copey Learning Center.  “Jane, may the force be with you!”

Happy Birthday!

Speaking of Special Dates, Aunt Katherine turned a young 99 years old this weekend. From all of us “Friends of Copey”, we celebrate you Aunt Katherine and wish you well. Yaunt-katherine-posterou have made such a difference in so many lives during the time we have been blessed to have you among us.

Your fame and recognition has brought much joy and praise to us and our family. We have experienced many acts and words of kindness from friends and strangers. All this because of what you have accomplished and for your life well lived. We keep you and Jim along with Joylette and Kathy and all the family in our thoughts and prayers.  Happy Birthday!

Hurricane Harvey 

Our thoughts and prayers also go out to all of those whose lives have been impacted by the recent and ongoing devastation Hurrican Harvey has caused. This event reminds us all just how temporary things can be as we watch homes and other property including some lives being taken away so quickly. Hope however prevails!

Been Interrupted by Another’s Need?

“From my early school days, I was brought up with the belief that we have a duty to use our talents, to volunteer and to make a contribution.”   By Michael Hintze

By now everyone has had either the full extent of the total eclipse or the partial effects. In my part of the world today it was the partial although I am only a few hours from the now famous Madris, Oregon site where thousands of people gathered for the total eclipse. I can only say it did not have the impact I anticipated. It was daylight and sunny much of the time and it really did not get dark outside…hardly noticeable. Okay…now back to normal life. Spelling Bee

Some really good news to report on the Spelling Bee contest results so far (also called the Language Festival in Costa Rica).  To date, there are two winners who are Copey Learning Center students and one high school winner who is a past student from the Learning Center.  Now, you must pay close attention!

Rodriguez photos
Mariana and Margarita

 Mariana Rodriguez won in two categories; the Spelling Bee Contest and the Impromptu Conversation category.  Her younger sister Margarita

Celeste Mora
Celeste  Ulloa Mora

won the Impromptu Conversation category in her group level.

 

Then Celeste Ulloa Mora won the Impromptu Conversation category at the high school level.

 

Now, let’s refresh our memories.  

First, Mariana was our star performer who made it all the way to the National competition in 2016. She lost in the finals but she established herself as a true contender. Well, she is back on track to make another run at the National Championship. This time, she is bringing along her younger sister who is following in “big” sister’s footsteps.

Remember Celeste? She was one of the first two “Pathway Project” students who traveled in June 2016 to the USA. She is an amazing student and could be a very strong contender for a National Spelling Bee Title. Next competition is set for October. Stay alert!

Church Update

Regarding the status of the church, the community is working through the planning for the new church.  As expected, there will be a church built and the community has already begun local fund-raising activities. I am trying to get more specific details on their plans and needs. Thank you for continuing to ask about the status of the church and expressing your regrets for the community’s loss.

Jane’s Latest Quote!

By the way, the title for this week’s Post came about because of a recent epiphany. During this day and time, we all struggle with allowing our needs to be interrupted by a need belonging to someone else. Even those with a “servant’s heart” struggle with being interrupted. This is one of the reasons Jane (and others) is a special volunteer. There are and have been many really great “Friends” and supporters who have invited the interruption and Jane is included. Jane’s notes to me reflect that “servant’s mindset and willingness” to endure the interruption in life caused by a need in another’s life.

For example, Jane wrote this note this week as she prepares to travel to Copey…“I am so excited. One suitcase for clothes and one loaded with books and yarn. The extra is donations and I have so many and more to come.”   

Is there any question why I love this project? “Friends” are just such wonderful people ready to take on the interruption!

 

The Union of the Faithful…!

“The Church is the pillar and the ground of Truth….”    1 Timothy 3:15

We are still feeling the loss of the wonderful church which was the centerpiece for the Copey community. Tomorrow will be one week since the fire destroyed a significant historical and religious symbol of probably all this is good about Copey.

Several “Friends” have expressed their thoughts over the week in response to last Monday’s Post. I wish to share some of these with you.

“Your Friends Say…”

“Expressing in words the sorrow over the loss of Copey church renders me speechless. Then as I gaze at the standing white pillars, I felt overwhelmed with the possibilities that will come of rebuilding. Church beforePrayers for Copey Church and your community are headed your way, from our churches, our communities and our families here in Washington State. We will spread the word around the world. Our love to everyone who is affected.”  Jennifer W. 

“We have learned from our past that we can rebuild and be stronger, wiser, and remain positive as we take on challenges each and every day. Much can be gained from a new beginning, especially when we are surrounded by love. I know the love is there.”  Lisa B.

“I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I will have the community in my prayers.” Ed. D.Church after

“My heart and my prayers are with them. I promise to do whatever I can to help them rebuild their temple. But today, I am specially grateful to know that people from so far away from my country, pray for this wonderful people.  Thank you!” Catalina C.

“So sorry to hear of this devastating loss. Prayers for healing and rebuilding, oh but what a tough loss.” Cynthia M.

“I’m so sad to hear about the church. I”m sure in a community that size that the church is probably the center of activity and community events. I”m so sad for everyone. ”  Monica H.

“Arthur, what a tragedy! I will let folks at my church know, please keep us updated on the plans and progress.” John L.

The community is in shock. So very sad!  Anne L.

“And I Say…”

During my very first trip to Copey, I was literally only steps from the front door and the pillars of this church when I met both Seidy and Anne for the first time. The church was fascinating to look at as it seemed to be the biggest building in the community, it appeared to occupy the most land, and seemed to be the center to everything else as if the community and maybe even the world revolved around it. It was the place where newly weds spoke their marriage vows, the place that welcomed newborns, the place where the community celebrated great news and the place where all could feel safe in times of trouble. And, it was the place many said goodbye to loved ones passing on.  It was all this to so many since about 1928.

One of those who commented asked the question what are the pillars made of since they appeared unmoved by the fire and destruction all around them?

Well…I am not sure about the answer to the question. But, maybe it is just symbolic of what Copey really is all about and what the community is made of. Perhaps those pillars represent the heart and soul of the people of that community. I have always said these are some very special people living in Copey and Copey is a special community. We can bet those pillars will not stand alone for long! Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

 

 

 

Summer Breeze!

“Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom. July is dressed up and playing her tune…!”    by Seals and Crofts

I am literally watching summer move along with me chasing it without much success. I have so many things I need to get done but most days I am constantly just trying to keep up. This is not Gerswin’s “Summertime…when the living is easy…fish are jumpin…!” kind of summer.

For many of us in the great Northwest, the weather has been close to picture perfect with
Columbia Point 2high temperatures (90’s and 100″s) and clear blue skies for more than 30 days non-stop. Gorgeous weather but the downside is the growing threat of wild fires. I hear the weather in Copey has had much less rain lately.

The Copey Challenge

In other news of great interest, provided assistance again by helping the Learning Center obtain a much-needed volunteer teacher. The volunteer, Jane Rutledge from North Carolina, has been interviewed and offered the opportunity to join the Copey Learning Center’s team starting in late August. Jane is very eager to get to Copey and we are Mt. Raineer.1 also happy Jane decided to meet the Copey Challenge. She will provide the Learning Center a lot of experience since she is a retired educator having seen a lot of classrooms in her career. We look forward to keeping you informed as she journeys through this experience. I will provide more information on Jane in next week’s Post since I have known her for about 50 years.

Power Point Presentation

We have a presentation that is nearly completed which provides a short photo journey of the recent “Pathway Project 2017” featuring Learning Center students, Fatima and Ariana. I am looking at reasonable/practical ways to share the presentation with you. I thank my dear friend Monica Hoel (E&H College staff) for the work she has done to produce this photo journey. It will be our very first quality production documenting this project. Will keep you informed on our efforts.

 Recap 2017 (Mid-Year)

Having read and re-read my draft of this week’s Post, I sense I am whining some about not getting much done lately. Perhaps, this is my mind and body suggesting I could use a needed mental vacation.

Looking back over the past six months, you and I have achieved several significant goals. We have completed three key fundraisers;  financial support for the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund, the funding for the Executive Director’s position, and the funding for the “Pathway Project 2017”. We have successfully planned for and hosted four guests from the Learning Lake 1Center by coordinating travel, housing, meals, recreation, and education.

We have also experienced a 28% increase in readership on the Blog over the past six months which will result in a significant year-end growth increase compared to the three previous years if we maintain this pace.

In addition, there has been many hours spent doing background work necessary for making presentations to interested groups and supporters along with the ongoing preparations for launching the “new Learning Center” building initiative. Bottom line: “Friends” has been busy!  Where is my fishing pole?

There are about 4 months left in this current school year at the Learning Center and our plate remains full. The evidence indicates we are stronger than ever and continually making differences with our support. One of the very memorable experiences I had during my visit on the E&HCollege campus during the “Pathway Project 2017” was to see assembled in one place at the same time, many “Friends”. My joy was seeing them (Friends) see the students and chaperones for the first-hand in living color. Unfortunately, about 95% of the “Friends” population are missing this “first-hand experience”. But…maybe one day even this will change.  Stay connected!

 

 

 

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!”