Category Archives: awareness trips

A small group traveled to Guatemala in 1988 to meet sponsored friends and see our work firsthand. The program continues today, coordinating trips to 15 countries for nearly 1,000 travelers a year.
Nov 9 2016

Did you know: You can travel with Unbound

A small group traveled to Guatemala in 1988 to meet sponsored friends and see our work firsthand. The program continues today, coordinating trips to 15 countries for nearly 1,000 travelers a year.

A small group traveled to Guatemala in 1988 to meet sponsored friends and see our work firsthand. The program continues today, coordinating trips to 15 countries for nearly 1,000 travelers a year.

By Jordan Kimbrell, writer/editor for Unbound

After 35 years, we have a lot of stories to tell. As we lead up to our anniversary on Nov. 20, we want to tell you a little bit about our history. We hope you’ll learn something new about who we are and how we work. So far we’ve shared about one of the ways we connect with the church community and how our headquarters used to be a bowling supply company.. This week, we’ll learn about Unbound’s awareness trips which give travelers the chance to witness the work we do firsthand.

One of my favorite stories I’ve written about awareness trips started with a quote from Jesse Fabian, a traveler who didn’t really want to go. He thought it was going to be just another mission trip where they, “put a lot more religion down my throat”, but his wife insisted on going to visit their sponsored friend. And, according to Jesse, that trip to the Philippines in 2010 ended up changing his life.

Though, initially, he may have been more reluctant than others who travel with Unbound, Jesse’s experiences on the trip gave him a better understanding of the work we do and a better connection with his sponsored friend, something we hope all awareness trip participants go home with. But he’s not alone in having misconceptions about what an awareness trip is all about.

Some history

Unbound has been providing sponsors and other travelers with the opportunity to see our work firsthand since 1988. That first trip included a group of seven sponsors who accompanied our late co-founder Bob Hentzen to Guatemala so they could meet their sponsored friends.

Today, hundreds of individuals travel with Unbound to 15 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Some countries, like Guatemala, have multiple trips a year, while other countries only have trips at certain times of the year or every other year.

You can visit unbound.org/trips for our full schedule.

It’s life-changing

After returning from his first awareness trip, Jesse told his wife it was the best trip he’d ever been on.

“I said, ‘I could not go to a five-star hotel and be fulfilled as much as I am now,'” Jesse said. “I went home, I looked, and things were different. I had much more appreciation for what we had.”

Traveling with Unbound, you’ll gain new insights into the realities of sponsored friends and their families around the world. Returning travelers often share stories of something they learned, even if they’ve been on awareness trips before.

You’ll also have the chance to immerse yourself in the local culture. That can mean seeing wildlife in Kenya or learning a new dance in Colombia. You’ll see beautiful landscapes, try local foods and visit the homes of sponsored friends while learning more about how the Unbound program works from our local staff members in each country.

It’s affordable

Traveling internationally can be expensive, but traveling with Unbound is one of the more affordable ways to experience another culture. Fees are $650 for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, $800 for South America and $1,200 for Africa and Asia. This covers meals, lodging, activities with sponsored friends, interpreters and in-country ground transportation for one person. Airfare is not included.

It’s your turn

Our 2017 schedule is starting to fill up, so make sure to contact our trips team at trips@unbound.org or (800) 875-6564 to get on the list to travel or request more information.

Check out unbound.org/tripstories to read more travelers’ experiences.

Maryluize DaSilva has been a sponsor since 2012 and is deeply passionate about Unbound's work.
Aug 5 2016

Unbound at NCLR — photo essay

Gustavo Aybar, Barclay Martin, Dora Tiznado and Paola Moreno, all staff members at Unbound's Kansas City office, traveled to Orlando to connect Unbound with the Latino community at the NCLR annual conference. Read what the team had to say about NCLR before heading to Orlando.

In late July, four Unbound staff members from our Kansas City office traveled to Orlando, Fla., to represent Unbound at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Annual Conference. NCLR is the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., and Unbound was proud to participate in the conference, connecting the Latino community in the U.S. with families served by Unbound in the 13 Spanish-speaking countries where we work. Check out some photos from the conference and find out who was the big winner of our Guatemala Awareness Trip giveaway!

See more photos

Juan Danilo and his mom, Lourdes, in Mexico.
Jul 22 2016

Humor and generosity in adversity

Juan Danilo and his mom, Lourdes, in Mexico.

Juan Danilo and his mom, Lourdes, in Mexico.

By Loretta Shea Kline, managing editor for Unbound

I count the times I’ve been able to visit the homes of children and elders as the greatest privilege of my work as a writer and editor with Unbound. One child and mom I met on a trip to Mexico inspired me with their gracious spirit.

Keep reading

Jul 20 2016

Making connections in the Latino community

Four Unbound staff members are headed to the NCLR Annual Conference to share their love for Unbound with the Latin American community. Pictured, from left, are Barclay Martin, Gustavo Aybar, Dora Tiznado and Paola Moreno.

Four Unbound staff members are headed to the NCLR Annual Conference to share their love for Unbound with the Latin American community. Pictured, from left, are Barclay Martin, Gustavo Aybar, Dora Tiznado and Paola Moreno.

This week, four Unbound staff members from our Kansas City office will travel to Orlando, Fla., to represent Unbound at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Annual Conference. NCLR is the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., and Unbound is proud to participate in the conference, connecting the Latino community in the U.S. with families served by Unbound in the 13 Spanish-speaking countries where we work.

This will be the second time Unbound has had a presence at the NCLR conference, beginning last year when the gathering was held just down the road from the main office in Kansas City. Unbound will be set up at booth #908 in the exposition hall and host a drawing for a free awareness trip to Guatemala.

“We want the NCLR community to know that [Unbound] does a lot of work in Latin America, so it’s a great opportunity for people to get involved, make connections and give back,” Unbound’s volunteer outreach manager, Claudia Vázquez-Puebla, said. “The impact that [sponsorship] makes and the results we have is something that needs to be out there in all kinds of communities.”

Previously involved with NCLR on her own, Claudia paved the path for Unbound to participate in last year’s NCLR conference. This year, four other Unbound staff members will attend, forming an experienced, passionate and bilingual team.

One of those four is Paola Moreno, who first heard of Unbound at last year’s conference when she helped out at a booth for a radio station.

“Claudia came to talk to us about Unbound,” Paola said. “And out of nowhere, I said, ‘Are you hiring?'” Paola had a job at Unbound within a few weeks as an outreach volunteer coordinator, and now is returning to NCLR to represent Unbound.

Paola Moreno, an Unbound representative at NCLR 2016.

 

Like Paola, the other Unbound staff members attending NCLR are deeply passionate about Unbound’s work with families living in poverty and love to tell its story. From talking about the connections sponsors make with their sponsored friends to passing out Unbound materials, the team is excited to engage with people of all backgrounds.

Gustavo Aybar, an Unbound representative at NCLR 2016.

 

At the Unbound booth in the expo hall, the team will share Unbound’s work and encourage attendees to participate in the giveaway for an Unbound Awareness Trip to Guatemala, which includes airfare. Following and sharing about Unbound on various social media platforms will generate entries into the drawing, and a lucky winner — who will get to see Unbound’s work firsthand — will be announced in coming weeks. The contest will spotlight those at the NCLR conference, but will be open to anyone on social media who would like to participate.

Dora Tiznado, an Unbound representative at NCLR 2016.

 

In addition to the booth and the trip giveaway, the Unbound team will also have the fun opportunity to meet with Unbound sponsors who live in the Orlando area. Local sponsors are invited to join them at the booth so the staff can hear about their experiences as sponsors and personally thank them.

Barclay Martin, an Unbound representative at NCLR 2016.

 

Unbound is honored to be a part of this year’s NCLR conference. Learn more about Unbound’s work in Latin America by visiting our blog.

Learn more about the giveaway and enter to win the trip to Guatemala!

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Jul 13 2016

Trip stories: ‘Beyond our expectations’

Bob and his sponsored friend, Mercy enjoying a beautiful day at the Blue Post Hotel and Park near Nairobi, Kenya.

Bob and his sponsored friend, Mercy enjoying a beautiful day at the Blue Post Hotel and Park near Nairobi, Kenya.

Bob Hirtzel and his wife Pat traveled to Kenya on an Unbound Awareness Trip in February 2016. Sponsors for 18 years, they support children in Kenya, the Philippines and Guatemala. After the trip, Bob wrote a thank you letter to many of the Unbound Kenyan staff he met on his trip. This piece is pulled from that letter.

Read Bob’s trip reflection.

Trip coordinator Diana Loera (center) dances and celebrates with Unbound staff members Cristina Hentzen (left) and Maureen (right) on an Unbound awareness trip to Guatemala.
Jul 11 2016

Meet the awareness trip team — Part 2

This is the second part to our post about our awareness trip team in Kansas City. These amazing staff members are dedicated to making sure our travelers have all the information they need to have a great trip and a chance to learn more about Unbound’s work. Learn about the trips team, and then check out upcoming awareness trips with Unbound.
Get to know the team

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Jul 8 2016

Meet the awareness trip team — Part 1

At Unbound, we love providing the opportunity for our sponsors and supporters to travel to see our work and meet their sponsored friends on Unbound awareness trips. We have a great team here in our Kansas City office that works closely with our staff abroad to make it all happen. This team is here to answer all your questions and get you ready for your trip, and we want you to get to know them! Learn about the trips team, and then check out upcoming awareness trips with Unbound.

Lead trip coordinator Stacy King, right, and her husband, Matt, left, meet their sponsored friend Esther — and her kittens — on an Unbound Awareness Trip in Kenya.

Lead trip coordinator Stacy King, right, and her husband, Matt, left, meet their sponsored friend Esther — and her kittens — on an Unbound Awareness Trip in Kenya.


Meet the team

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Jul 6 2016

Trip stories: ‘I was the one receiving the greatest gift’


Jim and Ellen Storey have been Unbound sponsors for 19 years. They sponsor four children in Colombia, where they recently visited on an Unbound Awareness Trip. Jim took some time to describe his experience with Unbound.
Read Jim’s insightful trip reflection.

Joanna, a member of the trips team in the Kansas office, with a sponsored friend named Maria in Merida, Mexico.
Jul 1 2016

Trip stories: Where ‘beauty and brokenness’ meet

Joanna, a member of the trips team in the Kansas office, with a sponsored friend named Maria in Merida, Mexico.

Joanna, a member of the trips team in the Kansas office, with a sponsored friend named Maria in Merida, Mexico.


Joanna Pergande is a trip coordinator for Unbound Awareness Trips. Based in the Kansas office, Joanna has been an Unbound staff member since August 2014 and is a fluent Spanish speaker. Here she reflects on what it’s like to go on awareness trips and see the transformation that happens in the lives and hearts of travelers.
Read Joanna’s reflection on being a trip coordinator.

Blue Michel and her sponsored friend Gloria on an awareness trip in Kenya.
Jun 29 2016

Trip stories: ‘Hearts joined in unity’

Blue Michel and her sponsored friend Gloria on an awareness trip in Kenya.

Blue Michel and her sponsored friend Gloria on an awareness trip in Kenya.

Unbound sponsor Sandra “Blue” Michel traveled to Kenya in February on an Unbound Awareness Trip. She joined Unbound as a sponsor seven years earlier, after doing extensive research to choose an organization to partner with.

Read Blue’s passionate reflection about her trip.