By Larry Livingston, senior writer
Larry Livingston (right) introduces Father Mike Rieder to members of the Unbound staff in Kansas City, KS.
Father Mike Rieder makes good on his bet over the results of the 2015 World Series.
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.”
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.”
Unbound Trailblazer David Scarpello with his wife, Jennifer, after completing the 2015 Twin Lights half marathon in Gloucester, Mass.
From left: Nick, Reyna and David
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.
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.
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.
Each year, Unbound get the chance to share some amazing photos of our work around the world. The stories and images of the families we serve are just one way we show our supporters how they’re making a difference.
Here’s a selection of some of our Kansas City staff’s favorite photos from 2015.
Sponsored children and their classmates stand outside their school in Guatemala.
Microsoft Windows recently launched its #UpgradeYourWorld campaign to celebrate nonprofits doing good work around the world. They’ve selected nine and they’re searching for one more international organization to fill the last spot.
Unbound wants to be the 10th nonprofit picked to win $500,000 to support our work — part of a $10 million Microsoft Windows investment.
The 10th organization will be chosen by the people and the number of votes collected via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook so we need your help!
Here are 10 reasons why Unbound should be one of Microsoft Windows’ global nonprofits.
An estimated 2.5 million people across the globe — many of them children — are victims of modern slavery in the form of human trafficking. Some are forced into brutal manual labor, while others become captive to the sex trade. Still others are forced to act as soldiers and, in some cases, participate in war crimes.
Unbound believes we have a special role to play in combating this epidemic.
This stack of letters was written by Kansas City-area middle school students to Unbound sponsored youth waiting for new sponsors.
Letter writing is an important aspect of Unbound’s sponsorship program. Not only do we require sponsored members to write at least two letters a year to their sponsors, we encourage sponsors to write back. We frequently hear from sponsored members how much getting letters from their sponsors means to them. Sometimes those letters have the ability to change lives
But when sponsored friends are between sponsors, they don’t have anyone to write to or receive letters from. When sponsors must discontinue their support, their sponsored friends continue to participate in the program and receive assistance while Unbound tries to find new sponsors for them.
Currently, we have more than 5,000 children, youth and elders waiting for new sponsors. Some of them have only been waiting a couple of months, while others have been waiting a couple of years. They’re missing out on a huge part of the Unbound program experience.
Topeka sponsor Christie Appelhanz and her daughter, Kate, often go for runs together.
Sponsor Christie Appelhanz is starting her birthday celebration a couple days early. Not with a big party or a fancy dinner, but by running for charity. She’ll be visiting Kansas City on June 5 to take part in the Hospital Hill Run as an Unbound Trailblazer.
“Hospital Hill Run is special because the 5K takes place two days before my 40th birthday,” Christie said. “Instead of gifts, I’m asking friends and family to contribute $40 to Unbound.”