Category: awareness trips

An image of a precarious home in Colombia.
Sep 25 2017

The precarious home on the hillside

A staff member's reflection on the reality of poverty in Medellin

The image of a vast view of Medellin, Colombia.

The view from the patio of the home of sponsored child Johan in Colombia.

Poverty looks different across countries and regions. What comes easily for one family might be a great struggle for another. From climate to landscape to politics, the conditions of where one lives have a huge, and widely varying, impact on their lives. In upcoming publications, we’re taking a look at the realities of poverty around the Unbound world to get a better glimpse into the lives of the families who are a part of our community.

This fall, we’re focusing that look on the issue of housing, something that impacts every family no matter where they live. Watch your mailboxes for our upcoming edition of Impact on the topic of housing, and read on for a staff member’s reflection on her unexpected experience facing that reality on a trip to Colombia.

An image of a precarious home in Colombia.

Unbound staff members Patricia and Henry (right) say goodbye after visiting the family of sponsored child Johan in Colombia.

By Maureen Lunn, writer/editor

Sitting on a twin bed in a small Colombian home, I felt unusually wary. I’d visited huts and shacks in many countries around the world, but on this visit to the home of an Unbound family in Medellin, I was legitimately nervous. The home I was sitting in felt like it could splinter and fall to the ground far below at any moment.

Keep reading

An image of a handmade gift from Nicaragua.
Sep 16 2017

‘Past today and into tomorrow’

Gaining perspective through a trip to Nicaragua

An image of a handmade gift from Nicaragua.

By Corie Rast, social media coordinator

Nearly every weekday for the past 13 months, I’ve driven to my job at Unbound in Kansas City, Kansas, sipping on coffee and cycling through my regular stress points:

“Ugh, I hope it’s not freezing in the office today.”

“Kinda bummed I only have these leftovers for lunch. I just have … too much food.”

“If this meeting doesn’t go exactly how I want it to go, I’m just going to lose it.”

Don’t get me wrong — I’m lucky and thankful to have the job I do, but I also have a tendency to be kind of whiny and self-absorbed sometimes.

It’s for this exact reason that I jumped at the opportunity to tag along on an awareness trip to Nicaragua with Unbound. I’d been itching for a new adventure for months, and aside from trips to Canada and Mexico, I’d never traveled internationally before. (It’s a personal fact I held close to the vest working alongside some of the most well-traveled people I’ve ever met.)

More than the travel experience, I was ready to see our program in action. In my daily work, I have the chance to read about it, hear about it, even try to write pithy web copy about it, but it’s impossible to fully understand what we do without traveling to the field myself. I needed to see and hear the impact our program was having on staff, sponsors and sponsored members. An awareness trip was the perfect opportunity to do just that.

Keep reading

An image of a sponsor on an awareness trip in Colombia.
Jul 10 2017

Our 2018 Awareness Trip schedule is here

Pick one of the 14 countries we're traveling to in 2018 and come along!

An image of a sponsor on an awareness trip in Colombia.

John Harney from Arizona visits with his sponsored friends Juan and Karen on an awareness trip to Colombia in May 2017.

An Unbound Awareness Trip is the ultimate opportunity to see the work of Unbound firsthand. Whether you travel to meet your sponsored friend or simply experience the beauty of another culture, your experience on an awareness trip will be like no other.

We’ll be your guides all along the way on this affordable and exceptional experience. Sponsors and non-sponsors alike are invited to travel to any of the 14 countries we’re journeying to in 2018, or check out a trip later this year — there’s still time to sign up!

Learn more

An image of a sponsor and his sponsored friend in Colombia.
Jul 8 2017

Cast your net

A sponsor reflects on his trip to Colombia

An image of a sponsor and his sponsored friend in Colombia.

Sponsor Joseph Rivard (right) visits with his sponsored friend, 17-year-old Jan Sebastian, at Jan’s home in Colombia.


Unbound sponsor Joseph Rivard of Gulfport, Mississippi traveled to Colombia in May on an Unbound Awareness Trip. He joined Unbound as a sponsor less than a year before the trip, and sponsors three young men in Latin America. Joseph is a retired professor of psychology at Central Michigan University. He reflects on how the trip impacted his faith.

Like most Americans and others living in a “first-world” country, life is never perfect. Every Christian I know has a story to tell; stories that speak of the death of a loved one, sickness, stress in a career, family trouble, etc. Each of us, armed with faith, endeavor to overcome our own struggles. We journey through our lives doing the best we can to work through our own deficiencies while trying to understand and serve God in the midst of our confusing and sometimes tumultuous life journey.

When I left for Colombia in May, I knew this trip would be different from other mission-style trips I have made in the past. I knew it would be different, simply because God is always about things “now” and “new.” There were a lot of things in my life journey that could have justified not going on this trip, because life is that way — always filled with challenges and obstacles. Yet, whenever I quieted my worries, I was convinced in my heart that this trip was something God was calling me to do. He didn’t command me to go; God has never arbitrarily demanded things of me in that way. It was more of a gentle stirring and a pull on my heart that communicated invitation and opportunity.
Keep reading

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.

Read more

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.”

Read more

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