Category Archives: Unbound

Mar 24 2017

Challenge poverty, conquer the hill

Join Unbound for the 2017 Hospital Hill Run

Challenge Poverty at Hospital Hill Run 2017 from Unbound on Vimeo.

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.

Claudia, right, with sponsored child Josesuan, center, and her mother, Evelin.
Mar 20 2017

Love crosses all cultures

Unbound staff member reflects on lessons from travels

Claudia, right, with sponsored child Josesuan, center, and her mother, Evelin.

Claudia, right, with sponsored child Josesuan, center, and her mother, Evelin.

By Claudia Vázquez-Puebla, outreach volunteer director for Unbound

Thirty-three years ago, my father made the decision to move our family from Zacatecas, Mexico, to the U.S. Having four daughters and a son, he wanted all of us to have an opportunity to get an education and have better options for our futures.

Many generous people guided and cared for us as we were welcomed into schools and communities in Oklahoma and Kansas. This afforded us opportunities to earn college degrees and work in careers focused on giving back to our communities.

In the last four years, I’ve had the opportunity to travel with Unbound to Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, the Philippines and, most recently, India. All of these countries are characterized by vibrant cultures, patriotism, passionate Unbound staff and, most importantly, sponsored members overcoming poverty. The families that I met have grounded me spiritually and challenged me to think about my needs versus my wants. These are important lessons that have reminded me of my own journey out of poverty.

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Maria smiles while visiting with a guest. Though nearly deaf and blind, she is filled with joy in life.
Mar 10 2017

A heart of gratitude after a life of struggle

Guatemalan elder faces aging with joy

Maria smiles while visiting with a guest. Though nearly deaf and blind, she is filled with joy in life.

Maria smiles while visiting with a guest. Though nearly deaf and blind, she is filled with joy in life.


Aging is in part a process of letting go. Abilities once relied upon begin to fail. Possessions once treasured can be lost or taken away. Sometimes these diminishments are slow and graceful and sometimes swift and cruel. But, for all who live long enough, they are inevitable.

Yet, for all that, there is a blessing in the ability to come to terms with our own human frailty and mortality. There is grace in the realization that, in the words of poet Theodore Roethke, “body from spirit slowly does unwind, until we are pure spirit at the end.”
That is part of the wisdom of the aging. It is a wisdom reflected in Maria.

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Eustaquia stands arm in arm with her husband, Felipe, outside their home. After his accident, she became the family's main provider.
Mar 1 2017

An eye for value that others overlook

Elder in Mexico recycles for a living

People committed to recycling recognize beauty and worth in what others discard. Some also recognize a way to generate income. Eustaquia is an elder who recycles to earn a living. Now 76, she lives in Mexico with her husband, Felipe, whom she describes as her “wonderful companion.” Together, they raised seven children, now all grown and married.

Felipe was seriously injured in an accidental shooting 14 years ago, after which he suffered debilitating memory loss and was unable to work. As a result, Eustaquia needed to find a way to earn an income and began recycling.

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From left: Chandler Johnson, Erica Braker and Amanda Burian represented Unbound at the third annual SMCKC AMPS Awards.
Feb 27 2017

Unbound wins gold for social media campaign

Our Giving Tuesday campaign raised more than $83,000 for scholarships

From left: Chandler Johnson, Erica Braker and Amanda Burian represented Unbound at the third annual SMCKC AMPS Awards.

From left: Chandler Johnson, Erica Braker and Amanda Burian represented Unbound at the third annual SMCKC AMPS Awards.


For the second year in a row, Unbound has been named a gold winner at the SMCKC AMPS Awards. The AMPS Awards are presented by the Social Media Club of Kansas City, the most active of Social Media Club Global’s nearly 350 chapters worldwide. The awards, which are named for the word “amplify,” honor excellence in social media throughout Greater Kansas City.

Unbound took home the gold in the nonprofit, in-house team, multi-channel category for our Giving Tuesday campaign. Our social media team exceeded the campaign donation goal by nearly 400 percent, raising more than $83,000 to fund scholarships for enterprising students around the world.

The campaign highlighted stories of young adults, like Ralldy from Guatemala, who are fighting for their dreams to finish school and get good jobs to help support their families and communities. Donations to Unbound’s scholarship fund allow young people around the world to continue their educations in secondary schools, technical schools or university programs. By telling students’ stories through social media, Unbound opens the door to people who want to celebrate generosity.

“Social media is an important part of how we tell the incredible stories of young people in our program who are working hard to achieve their dreams,” said Joe Sundermeyer, director of outreach at Unbound. “We are honored to be recognized for our efforts in helping connect these important stories with people who want to make a positive difference in the world.”

Last year, Unbound won a gold award in the nonprofit, in-house team, Facebook category for our Birthday Week campaign. The campaign highlighted children waiting for a sponsor during the first week of their birthday month. It led to 77 percent of the featured kids getting sponsored.

Sponsored elder Eusebio, 73, from Guatemala.
Feb 22 2017

Enjoying the benefits of restored health

Guatemalan elder finds new perspective on life

Eusebio enjoys some time outdoors with his "soulmate," wife Tiburcia.

Eusebio enjoys some time outdoors with his “soulmate,” wife Tiburcia.

Sometimes a person doesn’t realize how bad things have been until they begin to see how much better they can be.

That’s the way it was for sponsored elder Eusebio, 73, from Guatemala. Six years ago he injured his leg while collecting firewood. But because he couldn’t afford proper medical care, the wound never healed and eventually developed into a trophic ulcer.

When Eusebio became sponsored through Unbound in 2014, he was finally able to see a doctor. He learned just how close he had come to losing his leg and, possibly, his life. He began receiving treatment, which continues today.

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Becky Findley (left) with fellow Unbound Trailblazer Xandra Alpiser.
Feb 20 2017

Reflections from an Unbound Trailblazer

Finding inspiration to push through to the end of a race


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.

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Feb 17 2017

Unbound Unscripted

Gene Komer, Unbound receptionist

We’re pleased to present “Unbound Unscripted,” a monthly video series introducing staff members at our HQ in Kansas City. The staffers all have unique stories of how they came to Unbound and what makes it so special to them. First up is Gene Komer, who for many is the voice of Unbound. Watch the video to hear Gene’s story of taking 732 phone calls on his first day as our receptionist!

Julia, a sponsored elder from Bolivia.
Feb 15 2017

For the love of God

Bolivian elder living out compassion and forgiveness

Julia and her husband, Dionicio, in their home in Bolivia.

Julia and her husband, Dionicio, in their home in Bolivia.

The experience of having been hurt by others is, sadly, not an uncommon part of the story of many elderly people who live in poverty. Being poor carries with it great vulnerability and it only increases with age.

Many endure their hurts with grace and even learn to forgive. Those who find it within themselves to not only forgive, but actually reach out in compassion to the people who’ve wronged them, inspire us.

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