Unbound's Outreach Volunteer team, from left: Claudia Vázquez-Puebla, Lydia Leffelman, Clair Paul, Laurel Harrold and Maureen Ortiz.
Apr 17 2015

Celebrating volunteers, Unbound style

Unbound's Outreach Volunteer team, from left: Claudia Vázquez-Puebla, Lydia Leffelman, Clair Paul, Laurel Harrold and Maureen Ortiz.

Unbound’s Outreach Volunteer team, from left: Claudia Vázquez-Puebla, Lydia Leffelman, Clair Paul, Laurel Harrold and Maureen Ortiz.

To celebrate National Volunteer Week, we checked in with Unbound’s Outreach Volunteer team. It’s their happy duty to support the efforts of volunteers who are willing to help find new sponsors in their local communities. The team calls these dedicated supporters “ambassadors,” and they are an invaluable part of Unbound’s outreach efforts.

Though the team spends much of their time finding volunteers to assist Unbound preachers at weekend church presentations, ambassadors contribute in a number of other creative ways as well.

Team member Clair Paul appreciates their devotion.

“I find the passion of our volunteers very inspiring,” she said. “It’s obvious they care so deeply for their sponsored friends and want their family and friends to have the experience they’ve had with Unbound.”

That passion is often kindled when sponsors travel to meet their sponsored friends. Team member Laurel Harrold knows what a powerful experience these trips can be.

“After sponsors return from an awareness trip with Unbound, they are usually really excited,” Laurel said. “They have seen, firsthand, what our families go through each day and what an impact their sponsorship makes. They can’t wait to invite others to join Unbound.”

Many ideas sponsors come up with flow from their own interests. Team member Lydia Leffelman told of one Unbound-themed event she helped support.

“I had a sponsor,” she said, “hold a dinner party where each table setting was equipped with promotional materials about the organization, as well as a profile of a child or aging in need of sponsorship.”

Another ambassador recently put a new twist on an annual family celebration.

“There was a sponsoring couple that was planning a birthday party for their son,” Lydia said, “and they needed brochures and stickers from us. Their son wanted to raise money to send to his sponsored friend rather than having guests bring gifts.”

Unbound’s ambassadors often go the extra mile, sometimes literally. Clair shared a story about a project that really hits the ball out of the park.

“Right now I’m working with a couple who is taking a three-month trip to visit all 30 Major League Baseball parks and find 30 sponsors along the way,” she said. “That’s one of the most creative ideas I’ve seen.”

But as creative as the ambassadors can be, that isn’t what impresses team leader Claudia Vázquez-Puebla most about them.

“What inspires me about our volunteers,” Claudia said, “is that they are willing to be bridge builders between their own families and families throughout the world.”

If Unbound ambassadors are bridge builders, then the Outreach Volunteer team is providing the building materials. The enthusiastic team is, for these generous volunteers, the voice of Unbound, sharing words of encouragement and expressing the gratitude of the greater Unbound community.

Learn more about becoming an Unbound ambassador.

Larry Livingston

Larry Livingston
Senior Writer/Editor

Larry has been with Unbound since 2005. He has a background in theology, pastoral ministry and Catholic education, and has written for several national publications. Larry holds a bachelor’s degree from Benedictine College and a master’s degree from St. Meinrad School of Theology. He lives in Shawnee, Kansas with his wife, Kristi, and their son, Ben.

One thought on “Celebrating volunteers, Unbound style”

  1. Finally, I can see the faces of my angels! I’m so thankful for their work. It has been a beautiful experience to share with this team and with other volunteers the desire to find an sponsor to each person in the Unbound’s waiting list. Sometimes you may think that is not easy to be a volunteer and to get other people involved. It is hard work, but in all places we have been with the sponsorship campaigns, there is people willing to help you! People you don’t know who gives you thanks for letting them know about Unbound. Every time I hear Pope Francis talking about the urgency of helping others who live in other countries as well as helping the ones close to us, I definitely think in Unbound’s values. I would love to talked with him about Unbound’s work. The joy, blessings and love you receive as a sponsor makes all the work as a volunteer worthy! Thanks to the Outreach Volunteer Team to make possible our efforts. Thanks for your prayers and your patience. Thanks for giving us enthusiasm when our energies go down. Please, receive from my beautiful island, Puerto Rico, a big hug. God bless you all!

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