A Short Message…!

I am taking the very seldom used liberty to bypass issuing a detailed Post this week. I have been away and have several very pressing non-Friends of Copey issues to deal with this week. Starting next week, there will the kick off of the fundraising campaign for the “Pathway Project for 2018”.Alumni Mag. Excerpt

I spoke of the “Pathway Project” in recent Posts and have also shared the March edition of Emory & Henry College Alumni Magazine featuring our ongoing success. Small excerpt provided.

Therefore, looking ahead to next week, I will officially ask “Friends” to help make our third consecutive year of the Pathway Project” another year of success.

 

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.

Brian and Lourdes 3

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

 

 

 

Happy Easter

Happy Holy Week (Semana Santa)!  

Today ends the first quarter of our calendar year. And, it has been an amazing three months of accomplishments.

First,  two very successful fundraising activities were conducted. Donations in support of the Anne G. Broady Scholarship Fund and salary support for the Executive Director came in way ahead of schedule and exceeded our goals.

When “Friends” began in late 2013, the working concept was to establish meaningful “partnerships” to help reach our goals. This has been the successful working model we have used time and time again.

A case study of “partnership at work” included the recent interaction between the Copey Learning Center, the Utah Team, and “Friends”.

utah-team-church.jpg

Standing Together on Holy Ground

It was a major logistical challenge to deliver 400 pounds of school supplies to a rural community outside our country. Also, there were housing accommodations, meals, and transportation needed to be available for the Utah Team to enjoy during their visit. Each of these challenges were met because of the close planning and coordination that took place between the Utah Team, the Learning Center, and “Friends”. This involved addressing numerous details and effective communications among all of us.

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“All Kids Can Be Great Kids!”

The Utah Team feel they were well attended to and the plans put in place all worked well. Mostly, their time was spent with children and the adults in the community and with little need for concern about health, well-being, and safety. Time was all “well spent” creating lasting memories. They have even stated being in Copey was a life-changing experience.

Today, another “partnership” is busy at work. The Copey Learning Center, Emory & Henry College (E&H), Tri-Cities Industry Kiwanis Club, and “Friends” are gearing up for “Pathway Project 2018”.

“Friends” will conduct a fundraiser to support “Pathway Project 2018”. Emory & Henry College has two students preparing now for their departure to Copey in May and the Learning Center students are preparing for their trip to the United States and E&H College in early June. My Kiwanis Club is in place to manage the donations once the requests for support go out. This four-way partnership worked well last year and we are looking forward to another successful “partnership” year.

Final Word

Meadow Elementary School Principal and leader of the Utah Team, Carolyn Johnson,

utah-team-w-carolyn.jpg

“Heart of a Servant”

plans to share soon as my “guest blogger” the story of their recent trip to Copey for us to all enjoy.

 

Also, the local Lehi, Utah newspaper recently covered the Utah Team’s trip to Copey and provided excellent background on how the school focused on the Copey Learning Center’s need for help.

 

https://www.lehifreepress.com/2018/03/29/meadow-elementary-donates-school-supplies-to-costa-rican-students/

We just knew 2018 would bring great and wonderful things for us to experience. So, no matter what part of the world you reside in as a “Friend of Copey” and no matter what kind or type of support you provide to “Friends”, this first quarter has been one we can all find something to be proud and excited about. Don’t leave…the next quarter promises even more for us to shout about.

Happy Easter to all!

 

 

“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.

 

 

“Have Supplies…Will Travel!”

“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good teacher.”                                   By Temple Grandin
My Oh My!.…The wonderment of this “Friends” project continues. Now, we have our Utah Team safely inside of Costa Rica and enjoying their short stay in Copey. They departed Saturday evening and arrived early Sunday morning and were greeted by their Copey hosts. utah-photo.jpg

This is what 400 pounds of school supplies looks like being checked in as additional baggage.  Each bag arrived safely with them.

These supplies will take an enormous financial burden off of the Learning Center by providing all of the students educational resources for a long time. The Team plans to Utah 4visit the local elementary school in Copey and deliver some of the supplies as a “goodwill gesture” to benefit more of the students in the community.

Here are some early photos showing their arrival and meeting up with Ana Yancy. The baggage arrived successfully without any issues with Customs and then meeting Ana Yancy meant all went well. Everyone could take a sigh of relief.

Utah 5.jpgAlso, here is a photo showing the Team gathered at Catalina’s home in Copey. Catalina opened her new home to the guests where they can all stay together, relax, and comfortably enjoy the natural beauty of the region.

I received a note from Tamarie after her first few hours in Copey. She said…“These people are incredible. I LOVE them already!  What a wonderful opportunity! And, Tamarie is absolutely correct. Copey is something very special because of the Copey people and their genuine kindness. This Utah Team is also very special. I see this quality in all of the “Friends of Copey”.

Using Skype earlier today, I spoke with all of the Team and witnessed first-hand their excitement. They had begun to unpack the supplies and it was amazing to see all of the various items now on hand. Their afternoon will include hanging out with Larry and Cindy and visiting some wonderful places around Copey. There will soon be more photos and events to share.

Katherine Johnson

My introduction to Tamarie came about during a flight to Atlanta in October 2017. AszzzBanner of FOC passengers and unacquainted, we began to talk about “Hidden Figures” and Aunt Katherine. Eventually, the conversation moved along to “Friends of Copey”. I credit both Aunt Katherine and Tamarie for the 400 pounds of school supplies sitting in the Learning Center and four of Meadow Elementary School’s finest educators visiting Copey. Tamarie’s actions inspired others to do something and it clearly demonstrates our motto…“when many will do just a little…!”

Katherine Goble

Speaking of Aunt Katherine, two recent major developments have occurred. First, Aunt Katherine has been honored by Barbie’s Inspiring Women series will a Barbie Doll representing Aunt Katherine…”paying tribute to incredible heroines of their time; courageous women who took risks, changed rules, and paved the way for generations of girls to dream bigger than ever before.”

Also, Aunt Katherine is featured in the March 2018 AARP Bulletin. The headline quote reads “I believed I was where I was supposed to be.”  This is a similar theme for “Friends” as I fully understand her pronouncement.

Personally, I pay very little attention to coincidences. I firmly believe there is “divine intervention” constantly at work but unfortunately we seldom give such intervention the credit it deserves. For Aunt Katherine, numerous life events had to take place including societal, legal, occupational, and even personal to cause Aunt Katherine to end up where she was supposed to be. My opinion, none were by coincidence!

As she moves on towards her 100th birthday in August, we continue to wish her well.

Final Word

This is a time of great significance. Let’s enjoy it!

Also, I will be on the east coast later this week to do work at Emory & Henry College. While there, I plan to help with the final arrangements for the arrival of our Learning Center students in the US and on our campus in June under “Pathway Project 2018”. Also, I look forward to meeting the two E&H College students traveling to Copey in May to do volunteer work in the Learning Center under “Pathway Project 2018”.

We are constantly on the move!