Massachusetts sponsor David Scarpello has gone on three Unbound awareness trips to Honduras since 2007. On his latest visit earlier this year, he decided to take his 13-year-old son, Nick. From his own previous experience, David knew the awareness trip could be a good learning tool.
“I wanted [Nick] to have an appreciation and better understanding of what growing up in poverty is,” David said. “I hoped it would give him a greater appreciation of what he has and the advantages he has growing up in the United States.”
Unbound awareness trips offer travelers the opportunity to meet the people they sponsor and see first-hand the impact our program has on individuals and communities. David started sponsoring in 2001, but it was the letter he received in 2007 from his sponsored friend Reyna that gave him the final push he needed to go on his first trip.
When David started sponsoring Reyna she was just 11 years old. Through letters and awareness trips, David learned about her dreams and watched her grow into an accomplished young woman. Reyna completed her education last year, achieving her goal of becoming a teacher.
Though Reyna is no longer sponsored, Unbound staff in Honduras were still able to arrange a farewell visit during the awareness trip for David and Nick.
Even better, Reyna took them by her classroom, located less than a mile from her home. She’s currently teaching a pre-school class, though a substitute stepped in so she could spend the day with her former sponsor.
“You could tell how much the kids loved her,” David said. “When she walked in to the classroom, you could really see the kids light up. … Reyna said in her letters what she was studying and that she wanted to be a teacher, but actually being there and seeing it is a huge difference.”
Nick grew up with Reyna’s letters, but actually visiting her country gave him a new perspective.
“My dad was always saying how much he enjoyed the trips,” Nick said. “I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but it really opened my eyes about how people in Honduras live. The differences in how they live were amazing. Many of the homes we visited only had one or two rooms.”
David said he would like to go on an awareness trip every three years if he can.
“Going on the awareness trip makes the connection [with your sponsored friend] so much stronger. You can really see the dedication, the love and the support the staff has for them.”
Nick’s take away from the trip?
“I got to spend the whole week with my dad, which was nice. I got to see why he loves [Unbound] so much. He’s always loved the program, and now I can better understand why.”
Learn more about Unbound awareness trips.