This is the second part to our post about our awareness trip team in Kansas City. These amazing staff members are dedicated to making sure our travelers have all the information they need to have a great trip and a chance to learn more about Unbound’s work. Learn about the trips team, and then check out upcoming awareness trips with Unbound.
Get to know the team
At Unbound, we love providing the opportunity for our sponsors and supporters to travel to see our work and meet their sponsored friends on Unbound awareness trips. We have a great team here in our Kansas City office that works closely with our staff abroad to make it all happen. This team is here to answer all your questions and get you ready for your trip, and we want you to get to know them! Learn about the trips team, and then check out upcoming awareness trips with Unbound.
Meet the team
Lead trip coordinator Stacy King, right, and her husband, Matt, left, meet their sponsored friend Esther — and her kittens — on an Unbound Awareness Trip in Kenya.
Jim and Ellen Storey have been Unbound sponsors for 19 years. They sponsor four children in Colombia, where they recently visited on an Unbound Awareness Trip. Jim took some time to describe his experience with Unbound. Read Jim’s insightful trip reflection.
In Colombia, many streets are full of vendors using tarps and umbrellas as their storefronts.
The bed of a sponsored member in Colombia.
Sponsored youth Franco, from Guatemala, rides his bike to and from school.
Happy Fourth of July! It’s Independence Day in America, and we are celebrating freedom with fireworks, food, friends and family. But let’s not stop there — what a great time to remember that the freedom we enjoy can help others, and the Unbound community around the world has many freedoms big and small that are worth celebrating.
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.
Joanna, a member of the trips team in the Kansas office, with a sponsored friend named Maria in Merida, Mexico.
Blue Michel and her sponsored friend Gloria on an awareness trip in Kenya.
Unbound sponsor Sandra “Blue” Michel traveled to Kenya in February on an Unbound Awareness Trip. She joined Unbound as a sponsor seven years earlier, after doing extensive research to choose an organization to partner with.
Read Blue’s passionate reflection about her trip.
Mary Geisz, Unbound’s director of sponsor experience, hugs her sponsored friend, Joyce, on an awareness trip to Kenya.
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.
Read Mary’s profound reflection about her trip.
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.”
Sponsored children in the southern Philippines play together. Unbound promotes peace and harmony in the region through activities with children and families.
Al Nhadzar, 14, from the Philippines
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.
Ismael Kwenga, a former sponsored member from Meru, Kenya.
By Ismael Kwenga, a former sponsored member
When a sponsored member leaves the program, especially after completing their education, it marks a new chapter in their lives. Sometimes Unbound is part of that new chapter, like when a former sponsored member takes on a staff position, but other times their lives take a different path.
That’s why it’s always a great joy to hear from former sponsored members about what they are doing after leaving the program. We received the following letter from Ismael in Meru, Kenya, updating us about his future plans. He left the program last year after completing his college degree. And though he is no longer part of the Unbound program, his story is a testimony to the lasting impact sponsorship can have on someone’s life.
By Ismael Kwenga, a former sponsored member When a sponsored member leaves the program, especially after completing their education, it marks a new chapter in their lives. Sometimes Unbound is part of that new chapter, like when a former sponsored member takes on a staff position, but other times their lives take a different path. That’s why it’s always a […]