Category Archives: Get involved

Oct 19 2016

35 years of service

Unbound 35 years of service
What started in 1981 with our five co-founders and their Christmas card lists has bloomed into a global humanitarian community that impacts hundreds of thousands of families around the world. It’s Unbound’s 35th Anniversary Nov. 20, and we want you to celebrate with us! Follow along during these next five weeks as we share stories about our history and all the amazing people that make up the Unbound community. We guarantee you’ll learn something new.

The story of Bob’s walks might be one of those new things. In 2011, at age 75, Unbound co-founder Bob Hentzen finished a walk from Guatemala to Chile as a show of solidarity with the people of Unbound, after having walked from Kansas City to Guatemala 15 years earlier. Upon completing the second walk, Bob said, “The adventure is just beginning.”

That’s the spirit with which we celebrate our 35th anniversary, honoring our past and looking forward to the adventures ahead. You’ll learn more about Bob’s walks in coming weeks, along with reflections from sponsored children and elders and their families. And you’ll learn about how the organization bloomed over the years from the very first sponsored child to supporting 310,000 children and elders.

Follow along with us here on the blog, on Facebook and Instagram, and look for a special issue of the Living Unbound magazine in your mailbox in the coming weeks. We hope you’ll stay tuned and celebrate with us.

Luciana, a 6-year-old sponsored child from Kenya, works on a Christmas card for her sponsor, JoAnne in Kansas.
Oct 12 2016

Don’t forget to mail your holiday greetings!

Share the joy of Christmas.
Christmas is right around the corner, and soon our sponsors will be receiving Christmas cards in their mailboxes from their sponsored friends. Each year, sponsored friends send their greetings at Christmas as a special way to express their gratitude.

Christmas cards give sponsored friends like Luciana (below) a chance to share the joy of the season with their sponsors.

Luciana, a 6-year-old sponsored child from Kenya, works on a Christmas card for her sponsor, JoAnne in Kansas.

Luciana, a 6-year-old sponsored child from Kenya, works on a Christmas card for her sponsor, JoAnne in Kansas.

Many of our sponsored friends start on their Christmas cards in the summer to make sure they reach their sponsors in time.

While it might not take quite as long for you to create a card, we do recommend mailing holiday greetings by the end of October. This leaves plenty of time for the card to reach the local office that serves your sponsored friend, be translated and then hand delivered by our office staff.

Please remember that our international offices are not able to accept packages. For more information about this policy, please contact us at (800) 875-6564 or

Want to avoid the lines at the post office? Check out our eLetter feature.

  • Go to
  • Log in to your account (if you’ve never logged in, it’s easy to sign up)
  • Select a template, enter your message, attach a photo if you’d like and send!
  • Unbound staff in your friend’s local office will print the letter and deliver it to your friend

Sending an eLetter is fast, simple and doesn’t require postage. And it’s a great way to send your friend a holiday greeting.

During a Skype call with Unbound staff members Andrew Kling, Joe Sundermeyer, Melissa Velazquez and Barclay Martin, G.W. Carver Elementary School sixth-grader Anahy asks questions on behalf of her class.
Oct 5 2016

Teaching a global perspective

Teachers serve an important role in society. Along with parents, they have the enormous task of preparing the next generation with the knowledge and skills needed to be successful adults. We celebrate these individuals today on World Teacher’s Day.

Mark De Young teaches sixth grade at G.W. Carver Elementary School in Yuma, Arizona. Mark has been teaching for 13 years, but in the past two years he’s introduced a philanthropic project for his students to help them gain a global perspective.

“Students also have the opportunity to use their skills [that they’ve learned in class] in a meaningful fashion,” Mark said. Through this project, they learned that there is a purpose to the persuasive writing skills that I taught them.”

Keep reading

Jaileen works on a project for Communications as part of her internship.
Sep 23 2016

Reflections from an Unbound intern

Jaileen works on a project for Communications as part of her internship.

Jaileen works on a project for Communications as part of her internship.

By Jaileen Guadalupe Escalante, a junior at Cristo Rey Kansas City High School and an Unbound intern

I am 16 years old, love the color pink, volleyball, track and field, and traveling.

I’m a very active, happy person, always smiling and caring for others. I don’t like being bored; in fact I believe you should try to have fun 24/7, even if things aren’t going right. That way you’ll get through everything, because being yourself makes you special.

You’re getting to know so much about me, now let’s talk about what I do at Unbound!

Keep reading

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.

Father Mike Rieder celebrates Mass with a group from McGann-Mercy High School during a 2014 service trip to El Salvador.
Jun 24 2016

Music to our ears: a baseball bet ten years in the making

By Larry Livingston, senior writer

Father Mike Rieder is a modern Renaissance man. He’s a pastor, a seasoned international traveler and a diehard New York Mets fan (more about that to come). He’s also a treasured member of the Unbound community.

“I’ve been a sponsor a little over 20 years,” Father Mike said. “A friend of mine who I love and trust invited me to join. It has changed my life, the whole experience of being connected with Unbound. Then, becoming a [Unbound] preacher, I felt like, ‘Wow I made the team!’ But, honestly, I was then told I’d been part of the team the whole time.”

Keep reading

Ask Sponsor Services
May 20 2016

Ask Sponsor Services: Letters and packages

Ask Sponsor Services

The personal connection between a sponsor and sponsored friend is among the best outcomes of Unbound’s sponsorship program. The relationship can have a huge impact on both the sponsor and the sponsored friend.

Jacqueline Castiblanco Suarez, who was sponsored through Unbound from the time she was a young girl until she began a career in social work, established such a relationship with her sponsor, Janice from Kansas.

“The truth is that my sponsor Janice’s letters filled me with joy,” Jacqueline said. “The first time that I received a letter, I felt that I was important for someone.”

Read more

Unbound Trailblazer David Scarpello with his wife, Jennifer, after completing the 2015 Twin Lights half marathon in Gloucester, Mass.
Apr 8 2016

The path to becoming a Trailblazer

When David Scarpello first sponsored 11-year-old Reyna from Honduras in 2001, he had no idea he was about to set foot on a path that would eventually take him on three trips to Honduras, into the lives of 17 more sponsored children, and into the role of an Unbound Ambassador.

In June, that path will also lead David from his home in Boston to the starting line of the Hospital Hill Run in Kansas City, where he will participate for the first time.

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Clair Paul, outreach coordinator for Unbound
Mar 28 2016

Behind the scenes: Volunteer Outreach Team

Clair Paul, outreach coordinator for Unbound

Clair Paul, outreach coordinator for Unbound

By Clair Paul, outreach coordinator for Unbound

Clair has been with Unbound for more than three years. She enjoys developing relationships with supporters and helping them become ambassadors for Unbound.

Sponsors are one of the best resources that Unbound has. What better way is there to get the word out about our program than to engage the 250,000-plus people who already support our work? I’m proud to be a part of the team that empowers our sponsors to grow our Unbound family.

The Volunteer Outreach Team was created in 2008 and works out of our international headquarters in Kansas City. Our purpose is to better connect with our sponsors and invite them to be more involved with our program.

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Callie, 10, from Grandview, Mo., takes part in the #UnboundSelfieDay.
Mar 21 2016

5 creative ways kids give back with Unbound

Callie, 10, from Grandview, Mo., takes part in the #UnboundSelfieDay.

Callie, 10, from Grandview, Mo., takes part in the #UnboundSelfieDay.

Parents who give time or money to charity set an important example for their kids. They teach their kids about gratitude and compassion while developing the next generation of leaders and social entrepreneurs.

Unbound offers a personal way to help people living in poverty through one-to-one sponsorship. It’s a great way for a family to give back together.

It can also be good for your child’s happiness.

“Research shows that giving to others benefits not only the recipient, but also the giver,” said Michael Norton, of Harvard University’s business school and coauthor of ‘Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending.’ “In countries all over the world, and in children as young as 3 years old, we’ve found that giving makes givers happier.”

Kids want to make the world a better place. Here are five creative ideas from kids who’ve helped families living in poverty.

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