Category: awareness trips

Image = The skytram or metro cable in Medellin, Colombia.
Jun 5 2017

10 impressions from 10 days in Colombia

Staff member reflects on her Unbound adventure


By Maureen Lunn, writer/editor

I’ve had the privilege of trotting around the globe quite a lot in my life thus far, and by my mid-30s had set foot on every continent except South America. (Well, and Antarctica. But that doesn’t really count, does it?) So when I had the opportunity recently to travel to Colombia with Unbound, I knew it was going to be a special journey. I was right.

A week in Medellin and four days in Cartagena provided some of the most exceptional cultural experiences I’ve ever had, some of the craziest views I’ve ever seen and some of the warmest people I’ve ever met. Here are 10 impressions that have really stuck with me from my 10 days in the country.

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May 29 2017

On Memorial Day, honoring a life lost and a dream pursued

Esther McClimans of Jamestown, Pennsylvania, has been an Unbound sponsor for almost 12 years. She’s sponsored Esdras from Guatemala since he was 8 years old, and he’s now 20 years old.

With Esther’s support through sponsorship, Esdras has excelled as a student and is now studying to become a nurse. His choice of profession is especially meaningful to Esther. Her late grandson, Capt. Joshua McClimans, was a nurse with the U.S. Army. He was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2011.

“The fact that Josh is gone but we have this young man that cares about nursing, it made me feel good,” Esther said. “[Nursing] is such a wonderful profession.”

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Image = Rural community in Honduras.
May 8 2017

Travel with Unbound in August!

Visit Honduras, Nicaragua

Looking for a meaningful getaway this summer? Why not go on an awareness trip with Unbound?

Unbound awareness trips offer an adventure like no other, all under the careful guidance of our staff in Kansas City and the country where you travel. From arranging your accommodations, itinerary, meals and in-country transportation, to connecting you with sponsored members and their families to learn about their lives, Unbound staff members are your guides.

There are still spots open for our August trips to Honduras and Nicaragua.

Traveler testimonials

“Until one meets and experiences the child or elder in the home and sees how many people in the country live in poverty, a poverty that challenges their existence and that of their children, one cannot really understand how Unbound positively impacts their lives.” — Margaret from Minnesota

“I was impressed by the happiness and spirit of people who live in poverty. They are affectionate, outgoing and appreciative of everything they have.” — Nancy from Georgia

“I gained a better understanding of how people live in another culture through this trip.” — Mariellyn from Minnesota”

Can’t make those dates but still want to travel with Unbound? Visit unbound.org/trips to see the full schedule.

Ingrid (left), a sponsored youth in Guatemala, displays her high school diploma with her mother, Rosalinda, in front of their home.
Apr 26 2017

Inspired by a young woman’s wisdom

Staffer experiences essence of Unbound on Guatemala trip

Ingrid (left), a sponsored youth in Guatemala, displays her high school diploma with her mother, Rosalinda, in front of their home.

Ingrid (left), a sponsored youth in Guatemala, displays her high school diploma with her mother, Rosalinda, in front of their home.

By Stacy King, lead trip coordinator

As a member of the Unbound trips team, I’ve had the honor of traveling with sponsors and coworkers abroad, and meeting some awesome sponsored families. Many of the families have shared their beautiful and inspirational life stories, and hearing them never grows old. But every once in a while, a story will connect and touch my heart in a special way.

Keep reading

Claudia, right, with sponsored child Josesuan, center, and her mother, Evelin.
Mar 20 2017

Love crosses all cultures

Unbound staff member reflects on lessons from travels

Claudia, right, with sponsored child Josesuan, center, and her mother, Evelin.

Claudia, right, with sponsored child Josesuan, center, and her mother, Evelin.

By Claudia Vázquez-Puebla, outreach volunteer director for Unbound

Thirty-three years ago, my father made the decision to move our family from Zacatecas, Mexico, to the U.S. Having four daughters and a son, he wanted all of us to have an opportunity to get an education and have better options for our futures.

Many generous people guided and cared for us as we were welcomed into schools and communities in Oklahoma and Kansas. This afforded us opportunities to earn college degrees and work in careers focused on giving back to our communities.

In the last four years, I’ve had the opportunity to travel with Unbound to Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, the Philippines and, most recently, India. All of these countries are characterized by vibrant cultures, patriotism, passionate Unbound staff and, most importantly, sponsored members overcoming poverty. The families that I met have grounded me spiritually and challenged me to think about my needs versus my wants. These are important lessons that have reminded me of my own journey out of poverty.

Read more

Feb 24 2017

Unbound Global Points Program

How to earn a trip to visit your sponsored friend

Two women hugging in El Salvador.

Sponsor Cathy (right) gives a squeeze to a sponsored elder, Blanca, on an awareness trip to El Salvador. Cathy and Bill from Wisconsin sponsor 5-year-old Jennifer in El Salvador.

Unbound is pleased to announce the new Global Points Program (formerly known as the Ambassador Points Program). As an Unbound supporter, you can earn points toward an awareness trip through sharing the word about Unbound! Keep reading

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.

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

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