Category Archives: Community

Several smaller mothers groups come together in Warangal, India for "Pratibhautsav," a traditional celebration of light and splendor. This particular gathering was dedicated to the initiative of the women.
Jul 27 2016

Small groups offer empowerment and support


Perhaps nothing says more about Unbound’s culture of learning than our movement toward small, community-based groups within our programs. The families themselves taught us that when those who are systemically disadvantaged come together, great things can happen.

Local Unbound program staffs discovered early on that small peer groups were ideal for building trust and an environment of mutual support within a larger community. They found that the ideal size was about 25 members — large enough to feel empowered but small enough to maintain a sense of intimacy.

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Dan Pearson (right) with social worker Mirna on an Unbound staff awareness trip to El Salvador in 2014.
Jul 25 2016

‘The transformative power of relationships’

Dan Pearson (right) with social worker Mirna on an Unbound staff awareness trip to El Salvador in 2014.

Dan Pearson (right) with social worker Mirna on an Unbound staff awareness trip to El Salvador in 2014.

By Dan Pearson, director of international programs

At Unbound, we take the long view in measuring impact. We aren’t trying to prove the value of our work. Rather, we’re trying to learn what’s working and what isn’t so we can continue to make improvements in how we serve families. Our focus on learning builds trust and opens everyone to surprising lessons that hold the most power for improvement.

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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!

Nancy gets ready to enjoy a bowl of mukimo, a traditional Kenyan dish of mashed vegetables, which she makes for her family. Nancy’s 17-year-old son, David, is sponsored through Unbound.
Jul 18 2016

Faces of triumph — photo essay

Nancy gets ready to enjoy a bowl of mukimo, a traditional Kenyan dish of mashed vegetables, which she makes for her family. Nancy’s 17-year-old son, David, is sponsored through Unbound.
Taste of tradition

Nancy gets ready to enjoy a bowl of mukimo, a traditional Kenyan dish of mashed vegetables, which she makes for her family. Nancy’s 17-year-old son, David, is sponsored through Unbound.

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tripsteamfeaturedimage
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

The home of a person sponsored through Unbound.
Jun 1 2016

Through holy doors to graced encounters

The home of a person sponsored through Unbound.

An Unbound sponsor stands just outside a bamboo door of a small dwelling in a village in the central Philippines. She has traveled thousands of miles to be there after months of anticipation. Her sponsored child and his parents wait just inside the small house, smiling their welcome.

Feeling excited and nervous, the sponsor steps through the door and into the home, somehow knowing that her world is about to be forever changed.

On Dec. 8, Pope Francis stood outside an ancient set of doors in St. Peter’s Basilica, surrounded by hundreds of people. Performing a ritual dating back to the 14th century, the pope solemnly pushed the ornate doors open and walked through, officially inaugurating the Holy Year of Mercy.

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Sponsored elder Rosa (left) and Ellen Edgar, project specialist for Unbound, at Rosa's home in Chile.
May 13 2016

Elder exemplifies the real story of sponsorship

Sponsored elder Rosa (left) and Ellen Edgar, project specialist for Unbound, at Rosa's home in Chile.

Sponsored elder Rosa (left) and Ellen Edgar, project specialist for Unbound, at Rosa’s home in Chile.

Ellen Edgar, who works in international programs for Unbound, shares the story of Rosa, a sponsored elder who shows us what it means to be resilient.

Read Ellen’s reflection

MothersDayFeaturedImage
May 6 2016

Happy Mother’s Day from Unbound

Throughout our Unbound communities, mothers are at the center of their families. Our mothers groups enable parents to develop creative, practical ideas aimed at generating income and supporting their families. A small contribution to Microfunding can provide immense opportunity for a mom. Donate today.

Mayra and Mirna grind coffee beans to sell. They're part of the same mothers group livelihood initiative in Honduras.
Apr 27 2016

Without limitations

Mayra and Mirna grind coffee beans to sell. They're part of the same mothers group livelihood initiative in Honduras.

Mayra and Mirna grind coffee beans to sell. They’re part of the same mothers group livelihood initiative in Honduras.


While in the hospital recovering from surgery on her hand, 45-year-old Mirna decided she could do more with her inherent potential.
She took inspiration from her favorite book, “The Pursuit of Excellence” by Ted W. Engstrom. The book follows an eagle raised with the mentality that it couldn’t fly, until one day it sees other birds flying.

“I think I’m like that eagle,” Mirna said. “During so many years I thought I wasn’t able to do many things, until one day I decided to leave all that behind and decided to pursue my dreams and [support] my family.”

And that’s exactly what she did.

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Malou Navio (center), coordinator for Unbound in Antipolo, speaking at a parent leader training session.
Apr 18 2016

Impact of gentle, balanced leadership

Malou Navio (center), coordinator for Unbound in Antipolo, speaking at a parent leader training session.

Malou Navio (center), coordinator for Unbound in Antipolo, speaking at a parent leader training session.


In our Antipolo program in the Philippines, like in many of our Unbound communities around the world, staff members represent a leadership style we call Gentle, Balanced Leadership or GBL, which supports not only their fellow coworkers, but also extends to the families they serve. Staff members in Antipolo worked together to create this reflection outlining how GBL manifests itself in their program.

“With this form of leadership, we believe the pilgrim family of Unbound will continue at a sustainable pace to be a liberating force of love in our world today.”
— Bob Hentzen, co-founder of Unbound

Unbound’s Antipolo teams work with 8,400 families in marginalized urban, rural and indigenous communities. The families are organized into small neighborhood groups called kapitbahayans. More than 1,000 parents of sponsored children are leaders in their communities.

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