Carlos outside his home in Guatemala. He rents a room constructed of corrugated metal for the walls and roof and concrete for the floor.
Carlos, 73, dreams of returning to college to finish his education. He started studying when he was young, but the need to earn money at a young age to help his family kept him from consistently attending classes after primary school.
“I would ride my bicycle over a narrow dirt road for an hour to get to school,” Carlos said. “It was good exercise, I was in good shape. I had strong legs. Then I worked for years in a carpenter’s shop and at a gas station.”
Sponsored member Vaishnavi (center) in Hyderabad, India, celebrates the holiday spirit with her parents.
At Christmas, many people give charitably in honor of a loved one instead of giving traditional Christmas gifts. For a family member who doesn’t want more stuff, or a friend who loves the idea of sponsorship but is unsure about the financial commitment, giving the gift of sponsorship is a beautiful way to celebrate.
When the popular jewelry shop Kendra Scott hosted a Kendra Gives Back event last year at their Kansas City location, the result was 12 Unbound scholarships going to support young adults in Merida, Mexico. One of those young adults is Joyce.
Joyce, an Unbound scholar in Mexico, studies psychology at a university.
“Unbound has been a very important part of my development,” Joyce said. “… [Unbound] has taught me how to be more independent and know who I am as a person.”
After she graduates, Joyce would like to set up workshops and conferences for youth struggling with issues such as lack of self-esteem and addiction, and provide resources to help them overcome their challenges.
More young people like Joyce will benefit from Unbound scholarships as a result of this year’s Kendra Gives Back event held on Nov. 22.
More than 70 people popped in to the Kendra Scott store in Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza between 6 and 8 p.m., when 20 percent of all proceeds went to Unbound Education to provide scholarships for students pursuing higher education. With a raffle for a $50 gift card, there was extra incentive to visit the store, but call-in orders were also welcomed and counted toward the total contribution.
Within just two hours, the event raised $639 for Unbound Education, almost doubling last year’s total.
So far this year, Kendra Scott has donated more than $2 million to charities through these types of events. Thank you so much to Kendra Scott and especially Hayley Keown, community relations and event manager for the Plaza location who sets up these events for organizations around Kansas City. And a big thank you to all those who participated in Kendra Gives Back with Unbound.
We’re so honored that more than 1,000 people celebrated 35 years of service with us on Saturday, Nov. 19 at our Global Block Party. Located at our headquarters in Kansas City, the party was packed with sponsors, neighbors, employees and founding families. The day was a meaningful symbol of the growing Unbound community in Kansas City and around the globe.
Over the course of the crisp, fall afternoon, guests learned about Unbound’s unique model through a staff-created exhibit about our work, listened to speakers and performers, and visited with staff and family members of our founders. From a KC drill team to African traditional dancers, performances were running throughout the event, reflecting the colorful cultures of Unbound from Kansas City to around the globe. Check out some photos from our big day.
Alexander is a scholarship student in Lima, Peru. He was initially attracted to acting, but his teacher saw that he had a knack for art. Alexander chose to pursue graphic design to connect art and media, a perfect choice for today’s technological age .
Beatriz is an Unbound scholar in Santa Ana, El Salvador. She grew up walking an hour each way to school, and now her perseverance still shows in her commitment to her studies and supporting her mother.
On Nov. 29, help students achieve their goals in higher education by donating to our Education fund on #GivingTuesday.
When you support education through Unbound, you’re investing in the dreams of students. Your contribution means children and young adults can continue their education into secondary schools, technical schools or even university programs.
One of the ways we’ve been celebrating our 35th anniversary is by hearing from sponsored friends and staff around the world. We asked them how Unbound has changed them, what their favorite thing about being sponsored is or what greeting they have for us at this milestone. We’ve featured 35 snapshots of our global community over the past several weeks right here on the blog. Check out the final set of snapshots in the series below, and check out previous posts in the series here!
Unbound was founded 35 years ago this day, Nov. 20. We’re grateful for all that has brought us this far, including our committed sponsors and donors, the hard-working sponsored children and elders and their families, and all the staff near and far who foster those connections. Thank you for being a part of our story.
We’re pleased to announce that Nov. 20, 2016, has been officially proclaimed as Unbound Day in the State of Kansas, the State of Missouri, and the cities of Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri! Thank you to the governors’ and mayors’ offices on both sides of the state line for honoring our 35 years of service with this proclamation!
Florelia Delgado of Colombia was the first person sponsored through Unbound. She’s pictured here in her home city of Bogota.
The following post includes reflections from Judith Bautista, coordinator of Unbound’s program in Bogota, Colombia, on meeting Florelia Delgado, the first person sponsored through Unbound. It also includes excerpts from an interview Judith and members of her team conducted with Florelia. The interview served as the basis for a story in our 35th anniversary edition of Living Unbound.
Her name evokes flowers. Florelia Delgado is a woman born in Bogota, Colombia. She’s intelligent, brave, creative, sweet and inspiring. She’s a mother, daughter, sister, friend and worker. But for Unbound, she also represents the beginning of sponsorship.
Florelia, almost 35 years ago, was selected to initiate a program that today has a presence in 20 countries, and has more than 310,000 sponsored around the world and more than 260,000 sponsors. She was the first person sponsored in the Unbound world, and her sponsors were Robert [Bob] Hentzen, the late co-founder of Unbound, and his wife, Cristina.
Being the 35th anniversary of the birth of Unbound, we in the Bogota project felt inspired and motivated to work on finding the first sponsored girl. We thought it would be lovely to be able to contact her, especially since the first project that opened was precisely in Bogota.
Bob Hentzen walks with families in Guatemala in 2009, at the start of his second marathon walk. His wife, Cristina (far right) walks with them.
By Loretta Shea Kline, managing editor at Unbound
People are capable of more than they think they are.
Our late co-founder Bob Hentzen shared that wisdom with me in a December 2009 interview at the start of his extraordinary walk from Guatemala to Chile, a trek that crossed 12 countries, 18 months and nearly 8,000 miles. He’d answered a question I asked him about parallels between the long haul of the walk and our work with families in poverty.