An image of two women sitting at a table at Unbound.
Aug 26 2017

The heart of Unbound

A student intern's reflection

An image of two women sitting at a table at Unbound.

Selica (right), an Unbound student intern and former sponsored child from Guatemala, interviews Maria, who works in our service center.

For college students, summers are often a time for continued learning through internships. And this summer was a special one at Unbound, as one of our eager, talented student interns was Selica Piloy, a former sponsored child who now attends Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri, just a few hours’ drive from our headquarters in Kansas City. Selica brought her international relations education and her personal passion for journalism to her internship. In this piece, she reflects on her experience of observing the inner workings of a major international nonprofit.

By Selica Piloy, student intern

This summer I had the wonderful opportunity for an internship at Unbound. Working here has always been one of my dreams and now it has come true. The environment here is really lovely. Unbound employees are always helping each other, and the role of each one is very important to the team as a whole. I have seen them working hard every day to accomplish their goals and better serve the sponsored children and families.

I’ve come to understand the daily work of all the different departments at Unbound. All of their efforts together form the veins of Unbound, and I want to take some time to recognize that.

I have seen the communications department spend their days sharing sponsored friends’ stories, writing about families’ successes and the challenges they face. I appreciate all their effort because their writings are one of the lungs of Unbound; they help the organization breathe by telling its stories. If they don’t write the story behind the success of sponsored friends, the sponsors would not see how poverty affects the families’ lives in all the corners of the world where Unbound serves.

I also admire the job that those in Sponsor Services do every day. Their team works hard, making and receiving hundreds of calls every day to assist sponsors. Some of the calls are easy and others are difficult, but they have a good heart and remain patient even in challenging situations. They are also one of the lungs of Unbound, because the calls are the voice of Unbound and a very important tool to keep sponsors informed.

The awareness trips team serves as the eyes of Unbound by promoting the opportunity for sponsors to visit their sponsored friends and experience the reality of the families’ lives. Through the trips, visitors are more aware of what is happening in the places where we work and of the challenges that families face.

I love hearing about the child services team. Their job is fundamental for Unbound since they create, sort and maintain the sponsored friends’ data and profiles. They also write the short stories describing each child, youth and elder that help sponsors learn about them.

I enjoyed working with the outreach team this summer. This team is the mouth of our organization because they are dedicated to raising awareness about Unbound and inviting people of goodwill to be a sponsor. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to make connections with new groups of people who are willing to support Unbound through their sponsorship or donation. This team also includes Unbound preachers, who are doing a great job of sharing about the impact of sponsorship in parishes around the country. I love the personal interaction they all have with the sponsors and future sponsors.

Everyone in the Unbound community is the heart of Unbound. Through your work and support, you’re pumping life into our organization.

The international programs department serves as the legs of Unbound, and a bridge between the programs around the world and the headquarters in Kansas City. Through them, we learn how things are going in the field and about the needs of the families. This team is also committed to accompanying all staff in the field and supporting them in decision-making, so they can improve the services that Unbound provides to the sponsored families. Moreover, they are the ones who witness the realities of the families and the needs of their communities.

I applaud the job that the service center does. They are the hands of Unbound because they process 1.4 million letters a year from sponsored members to sponsors. Just a few people work on this team with volunteers to sort this amount of letters! They must be incredibly busy every day. Their team also cares for our building in Kansas City and supports the employees in so many ways.

The finance team is the brain of our organization and they have an essential role. Without them, we could not keep a fair account of the generous donations from the Unbound community. Their team gives us the honesty and transparency necessary to run our organization. The finance team also makes sure that the offices in the field receive what is necessary to perform their work with quality, as well as ensuring that the money goes directly to benefit our sponsored families.

I also have realized the admirable jobs the operations and information systems teams perform. They are the nervous system of Unbound and they help to make our jobs less complicated. All the computer programs and the organizational systems they create and maintain make it easier for us to keep our records safe, and get information faster from our coworkers in the field. They also work with our website, which is a very important tool.

In addition, I really appreciate the work that all of our social workers do every day in the field. They are the feet of our organization. Through them families are walking toward a better future. The social workers have the firsthand experience of how poverty affects families. Many of them are former sponsored children or scholars themselves! More than anyone, they have experienced the challenges that the families face daily, and they are always looking for solutions to overcome poverty.

Being here and doing an internship means a lot to me. I am gaining great experiences. Unbound helps me with both professional training and personal growth. Through the time I have been here I have learned the value of teamwork and the value of helping our neighbors amidst differences. Also, it has helped me to understand better the true meaning of giving without expecting anything in return.

Everyone in the Unbound community is the heart of Unbound. Through your work and support, you’re pumping life into our organization. Thanks for giving hope for many families. My gratitude goes out to all Unbound employees in Kansas City and around the world, to its founders and all the sponsors and donors.

Read about Selica’s experience growing up in Guatemala.

Selica Piloy

Student intern

Selica Piloy is a Guatemalan student at Cottey College in Missouri where she is studying International Relations. Selica was sponsored through Unbound as a child. She came to the U.S. in 2016 to study at Cottey College through a scholarship and joined Unbound as a student intern in 2017. In the future, she hopes to be a journalist or public speaker and empower young women to keep fighting for their dreams.

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