At Christmas, many people give charitably in honor of a loved one instead of giving traditional Christmas gifts. For a family member who doesn’t want more stuff, or a friend who loves the idea of sponsorship but is unsure about the financial commitment, giving the gift of sponsorship is a beautiful way to celebrate.
We’re so honored that more than 1,000 people celebrated 35 years of service with us on Saturday, Nov. 19 at our Global Block Party. Located at our headquarters in Kansas City, the party was packed with sponsors, neighbors, employees and founding families. The day was a meaningful symbol of the growing Unbound community in Kansas City and around the globe.
Over the course of the crisp, fall afternoon, guests learned about Unbound’s unique model through a staff-created exhibit about our work, listened to speakers and performers, and visited with staff and family members of our founders. From a KC drill team to African traditional dancers, performances were running throughout the event, reflecting the colorful cultures of Unbound from Kansas City to around the globe. Check out some photos from our big day.
On Nov. 29, help students achieve their goals in higher education by donating to our Education fund on #GivingTuesday.
When you support education through Unbound, you’re investing in the dreams of students. Your contribution means children and young adults can continue their education into secondary schools, technical schools or even university programs.
Close your eyes and picture a Christmas tree. If you’re from the United States, there’s a good chance you pictured some type of fir tree covered in baubles and topped with a star. And while there are plenty of firs in North America, they’re scarce in places like the Philippines, especially when looking for ones with the iconic conical shape.
But families of sponsored friends in the Philippines don’t let that scarcity stop their holiday cheer. Using recyclable materials, several families created their own Christmas trees and decorations.
Unbound is thankful for all the support and encouragement sent from our sponsors and donors to families living in poverty around the world. As a community, we’re making a big difference in many lives.
Happy Thanksgiving from Unbound!
One of the ways we’ve been celebrating our 35th anniversary is by hearing from sponsored friends and staff around the world. We asked them how Unbound has changed them, what their favorite thing about being sponsored is or what greeting they have for us at this milestone. We’ve featured 35 snapshots of our global community over the past several weeks right here on the blog. Check out the final set of snapshots in the series below, and check out previous posts in the series here!
Check out the snapshots
The following post includes reflections from Judith Bautista, coordinator of Unbound’s program in Bogota, Colombia, on meeting Florelia Delgado, the first person sponsored through Unbound. It also includes excerpts from an interview Judith and members of her team conducted with Florelia. The interview served as the basis for a story in our 35th anniversary edition of Living Unbound.
Her name evokes flowers. Florelia Delgado is a woman born in Bogota, Colombia. She’s intelligent, brave, creative, sweet and inspiring. She’s a mother, daughter, sister, friend and worker. But for Unbound, she also represents the beginning of sponsorship.
Florelia, almost 35 years ago, was selected to initiate a program that today has a presence in 20 countries, and has more than 310,000 sponsored around the world and more than 260,000 sponsors. She was the first person sponsored in the Unbound world, and her sponsors were Robert [Bob] Hentzen, the late co-founder of Unbound, and his wife, Cristina.
Being the 35th anniversary of the birth of Unbound, we in the Bogota project felt inspired and motivated to work on finding the first sponsored girl. We thought it would be lovely to be able to contact her, especially since the first project that opened was precisely in Bogota.
By Loretta Shea Kline, managing editor at Unbound
People are capable of more than they think they are.
Our late co-founder Bob Hentzen shared that wisdom with me in a December 2009 interview at the start of his extraordinary walk from Guatemala to Chile, a trek that crossed 12 countries, 18 months and nearly 8,000 miles. He’d answered a question I asked him about parallels between the long haul of the walk and our work with families in poverty.
One of the ways we are celebrating our 35th anniversary coming up on Nov. 20 is by hearing from sponsored friends and staff around the world. We asked them how Unbound has changed them, what their favorite thing is about being sponsored or what greeting they have for us at this milestone. We’re featuring 35 snapshots of our global community as we lead up to Nov. 20, right here on the blog. Check out the next set of snapshots in the series and stay tuned for more!
By Jordan Kimbrell, writer/editor for Unbound
After 35 years, we have a lot of stories to tell. As we lead up to our anniversary on Nov. 20, we want to tell you a little bit about our history. We hope you’ll learn something new about who we are and how we work. So far we’ve shared about one of the ways we connect with the church community and how our headquarters used to be a bowling supply company.. This week, we’ll learn about Unbound’s awareness trips which give travelers the chance to witness the work we do firsthand.
One of my favorite stories I’ve written about awareness trips started with a quote from Jesse Fabian, a traveler who didn’t really want to go. He thought it was going to be just another mission trip where they, “put a lot more religion down my throat”, but his wife insisted on going to visit their sponsored friend. And, according to Jesse, that trip to the Philippines in 2010 ended up changing his life.
Though, initially, he may have been more reluctant than others who travel with Unbound, Jesse’s experiences on the trip gave him a better understanding of the work we do and a better connection with his sponsored friend, something we hope all awareness trip participants go home with. But he’s not alone in having misconceptions about what an awareness trip is all about.
Unbound has been providing sponsors and other travelers with the opportunity to see our work firsthand since 1988. That first trip included a group of seven sponsors who accompanied our late co-founder Bob Hentzen to Guatemala so they could meet their sponsored friends.
Today, hundreds of individuals travel with Unbound to 15 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Some countries, like Guatemala, have multiple trips a year, while other countries only have trips at certain times of the year or every other year.
You can visit unbound.org/trips for our full schedule.
After returning from his first awareness trip, Jesse told his wife it was the best trip he’d ever been on.
“I said, ‘I could not go to a five-star hotel and be fulfilled as much as I am now,'” Jesse said. “I went home, I looked, and things were different. I had much more appreciation for what we had.”
Traveling with Unbound, you’ll gain new insights into the realities of sponsored friends and their families around the world. Returning travelers often share stories of something they learned, even if they’ve been on awareness trips before.
You’ll also have the chance to immerse yourself in the local culture. That can mean seeing wildlife in Kenya or learning a new dance in Colombia. You’ll see beautiful landscapes, try local foods and visit the homes of sponsored friends while learning more about how the Unbound program works from our local staff members in each country.
Traveling internationally can be expensive, but traveling with Unbound is one of the more affordable ways to experience another culture. Fees are $650 for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, $800 for South America and $1,200 for Africa and Asia. This covers meals, lodging, activities with sponsored friends, interpreters and in-country ground transportation for one person. Airfare is not included.
It’s your turn
Our 2017 schedule is starting to fill up, so make sure to contact our trips team at email@example.com or (800) 875-6564 to get on the list to travel or request more information.
Check out unbound.org/tripstories to read more travelers’ experiences.