Unbound’s director of sponsor experience, Mary Geisz, traveled to Kenya for the first time on an Unbound awareness trip, where she was rewarded beyond expectation.
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.”
Before Al Nhadzar of the Philippines was sponsored at age 12, he hoped for a sponsor not only to help with his education, but to have a friend in another part of the world.
“It [the sponsorship] will be a help to me and my family, especially in my studies,” he said. “I will gain a friend from the other side of the world, which is a very important experience for me.”
Al Nhadzar, who goes by Al, found that friend in Patricia Lazzaro of New York.
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.
An interruption in Guatemala’s postal services has delayed the delivery of letters to children and elders sponsored through Unbound.
Mail services in Guatemala halted May 18 as the company that operates those services attempted to negotiate a new contract with the Guatemalan government, local news agencies reported.
Sponsors should expect delays in their letters reaching children and elders even after mail service resumes, since Unbound offices will have a backlog of letters to process.
The disruption in mail service will not affect the delivery of letters from sponsored children and elders in Guatemala to their sponsors, however, since Unbound uses a private delivery service for correspondence sent to the U.S.
We encourage sponsors, especially at this time, to communicate with their sponsored friends in Guatemala using our convenient eLetter option. Visit unbound.org/eletter to learn more.
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.”
By Tristan John Cabrera, communications liaison in the Philippines
Unbound in the Philippines has five offices and more than 50,000 sponsored members, including children, youth and elders. As communications liaison for the Philippines, I cover stories from the region through text, photos, audio and video. To be able to effectively cover the whole region, a correspondent network was created. It’s composed of sponsored students and Unbound scholarship holders who have an interest in writing and photography. They receive basic training in journalism and photography, and I encourage them to submit story ideas that could inspire the Unbound community.
If you were to ask Ana Alicia what drives her, at age 68, to stay as active as she is, she would probably tell you it’s the desire to help others.
“My secret for a long life,” she said, “is to pray, to get on my knees and pray to God to grant me life and health to help people.”