Trailblazer Gary Thompson celebrates after finishing the 2016 Hospital Hill Run half marathon course in Kansas City, Missouri.
Run 70 marathons by age 70.
That was Gary Thompson’s goal, and he exceeded it. His most recent race was the Shamrock Marathon last month in Virginia Beach. It was his 72nd marathon at “70 years young,” he said.
For Gary, a professor in the law and criminal justice department at Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York, running is about more than fitness. It’s about travel, being social and doing something good for others. Get more inspiration from Gary!
Liva Rajaonarisina, program coordinator in Antsirabe, Madagascar presents at Unbound’s Global Insight Series on March 29 in Kansas City.
Liva Rajaonarisina is Unbound’s program coordinator in Antsirabe, Madagascar. With experience working in mission work, translation and employee training, Liva has worked for Unbound as program coordinator since 2008.
Unbound has 37 projects in the 19 countries where we work. The projects serve as regional hubs in areas where sponsored members live, and are the coordinating centers for community-based programs that span the area. Each of these hubs is led by a coordinator who helps guide and manage the Unbound program in that area.
At both Unbound’s Global Insight Series on March 29 and at an employee-wide presentation the next day, Liva shared about the benefits of sponsorship in Madagascar. Benefits are distributed in two primary and effective ways — cash distribution and a livelihood program called “Market Market.”
Risa Vereña, program coordinator in Manila, Philippines, presents at Unbound’s Global Insight Series on March 29 in Kansas City.
“We love peanut butter,” Risa Vereña said with a grin, describing Filipino culture to an audience of 100 at Unbound’s Global Insight Series on March 29. “… And [no matter the] religion or place, we cannot live without videoke .”
What does making peanut butter and renting videoke (a video version of karaoke) machines have to do with Unbound sponsorship? They are two of the many businesses started by parents of sponsored children in Manila, and according to Risa, they are ventures that will be welcomed readily by the community.
Risa is Unbound’s program coordinator in Manila, Philippines. With a bachelor’s degree in development communication and education communication, Risa has worked for Unbound for 15 years. She began as the communications officer in 2009 and took on the role of program coordinator in 2014.
The inaugural edition of the Unbound Global Insight Series March 29 at our headquarters in Kansas City unfolded as an evening of discovery, an opportunity to listen and learn from three program coordinators visiting from India, Madagascar and the Philippines.
Saritha Mendanha, Liva Rajaonarisina and Risa Vereña shared insights on our programs and the innovative ways that sponsorship provides opportunities for families around the world.
Unbound has 37 projects in the 19 countries where we work. The projects serve as regional hubs in areas where sponsored members live, and are the coordinating centers for community-based programs that span the area.
Each of these hubs is led by a coordinator who helps guide and manage the Unbound program in that area. Unbound’s co-founder Bob Hentzen once described these staff members as “saints with talent.” Those attending last Wednesday’s event got a glimpse of what Bob meant.
Read on for a photo essay depicting the event, and stay tuned next week for three more blog posts on topics presented by Saritha, Liva and Risa. What they shared reflects the program innovations in their countries and shows that their work holds true to one of our most important organizational values — that we, as sponsors and staff, are students of the families we accompany in overcoming poverty.
Did you know that Unbound has several great ways to stay in touch digitally? From social media to email, we have something for everyone.
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• Ambassador Tip of the month: Do you like to tell others about Unbound? Then the Ambassador Tip is the perfect email for you! Receive monthly tips and ideas about how to spread the word about Unbound.
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Calling all runners, walkers and Unbound supporters!
Unbound will once again walk and run to overcome poverty while conquering the hill as a charity partner of the 2017 Hospital Hill Run in Kansas City June 2 and 3.
Last year, more than 150 walkers, runners and “cheerleaders” came out to support families served by Unbound, and we invite you to help increase our impact this year.
Join us for the Friday evening 5K, which is open to walkers and baby strollers, or the Saturday morning 10K or half marathon. By participating in the event, you’ll help create awareness of the work Unbound is doing around the world. You can also make an impact on a scholarship student’s life by fundraising prior to the event.
Can’t make it to K.C.? Become a Trailblazer and raise awareness at athletic events in your area. Visit UnboundTrailblazers.org to sign up today.
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
Becky Findley after completing the 2015 Kansas City Marathon as an Unbound Trailblazer.
Becky Findley (left) with fellow Unbound Trailblazer Xandra Alpiser.
By Becky Findley, Unbound International Evaluations Manager and Unbound Trailblazer
We’ve all been there. That point during a run when you begin to think — “how much longer? Why am I even doing this anyway?” Unbound Trailblazer and staff member Becky Findley shares her reflection on her pursuit to overcome these feelings and become a “real” runner.
I’ve almost reached mile 22, and I’m feeling beat. The weather is unseasonably warm and humid, and my legs are sore. I signed up for this marathon to test my limits, and, in this moment, I think I’ve found them. In this moment, the topic cycling my brain is the question of why I signed up for this race.
Like most runners who began in adulthood, starting to run was a struggle. Going to the park was a humbling act. Other runners zipped past with an elegant combination of speed and athleticism while I struggled to find my stride with the grace of a duck. Quickly, I’d lose my breath, slow to a walk and wonder if I would ever be a “real” runner.
Letter writing is an important part of the Unbound program. Letters connect sponsors with their sponsored friends, giving them a chance to learn about each other’s lives and offer encouragement.
But have you ever wondered about the journey your letter takes on its way to your sponsored friend? Watch this video, which illustrates the journey of a letter from a sponsor in the U.S. to her sponsored friend in the Philippines, to get a better idea of the effort and love that goes into delivering each letter.
Clair Paul, center, with some of her fellow Outreach team coworkers.
By Clair Paul, lead Outreach Coordinator for Unbound
It’s 2017 and we are excited to start a new year, set new goals and find new ways to share Unbound in communities around the country.
Last year, more than 1,700 children and elders were sponsored because our supporters talked about Unbound to people they know. Wow! That’s 1,700 families that can now send their kids to school, put healthy food on the table and know that someone believes in them reaching for their dreams.
And all because somebody was willing to start a conversation.