A group of sponsored youths in Guatemala make Christmas cards to send to their sponsors.
At this time of year sponsors often ask us, “Do you have any suggestions for what I can give my sponsored friend for Christmas?” As a matter of fact, we do, and all it will cost you is a wee bit of your time. OK, that and an international postage stamp.
After his father left three years ago, Brayan and his family were in a tough situation. His mother, Lucretia, had to leave then 8-year-old Brayan at home with his older sister for long periods while she worked far away to pay off a bank loan. Fortunately, Brayan heard about Unbound from a friend at school who was sponsored.
“I told my mother and she was able to reach the office and talk to the coordinator,” Brayan said. “I have now been sponsored for three years. I had to wait for about a year to find a sponsor.”
Carlos outside his home in Guatemala. He rents a room constructed of corrugated metal for the walls and roof and concrete for the floor.
Carlos, 73, dreams of returning to college to finish his education. He started studying when he was young, but the need to earn money at a young age to help his family kept him from consistently attending classes after primary school.
“I would ride my bicycle over a narrow dirt road for an hour to get to school,” Carlos said. “It was good exercise, I was in good shape. I had strong legs. Then I worked for years in a carpenter’s shop and at a gas station.”
A sponsored child in the Philippines writes a letter to her sponsor in Tagalog. The letter is then translated into English.
As an international organization, it’s no surprise Unbound comprises diverse communities speaking numerous languages. While countries we work in might share an official language, such as Spanish, it may not be the first language of many of the residents.
There are hundreds of languages spoken across the Unbound community. From Kaqchikel in Guatemala to Tagalog in the Philippines, languages represent the unique cultures that are part of Unbound.
Sponsored member Vaishnavi (center) in Hyderabad, India, celebrates the holiday spirit with her parents.
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.
When the popular jewelry shop Kendra Scott hosted a Kendra Gives Back event last year at their Kansas City location, the result was 12 Unbound scholarships going to support young adults in Merida, Mexico. One of those young adults is Joyce.
Joyce, an Unbound scholar in Mexico, studies psychology at a university.
“Unbound has been a very important part of my development,” Joyce said. “… [Unbound] has taught me how to be more independent and know who I am as a person.”
After she graduates, Joyce would like to set up workshops and conferences for youth struggling with issues such as lack of self-esteem and addiction, and provide resources to help them overcome their challenges.
More young people like Joyce will benefit from Unbound scholarships as a result of this year’s Kendra Gives Back event held on Nov. 22.
More than 70 people popped in to the Kendra Scott store in Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza between 6 and 8 p.m., when 20 percent of all proceeds went to Unbound Education to provide scholarships for students pursuing higher education. With a raffle for a $50 gift card, there was extra incentive to visit the store, but call-in orders were also welcomed and counted toward the total contribution.
Within just two hours, the event raised $639 for Unbound Education, almost doubling last year’s total.
So far this year, Kendra Scott has donated more than $2 million to charities through these types of events. Thank you so much to Kendra Scott and especially Hayley Keown, community relations and event manager for the Plaza location who sets up these events for organizations around Kansas City. And a big thank you to all those who participated in Kendra Gives Back with Unbound.
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.
Alexander is a scholarship student in Lima, Peru. He was initially attracted to acting, but his teacher saw that he had a knack for art. Alexander chose to pursue graphic design to connect art and media, a perfect choice for today’s technological age .
Beatriz is an Unbound scholar in Santa Ana, El Salvador. She grew up walking an hour each way to school, and now her perseverance still shows in her commitment to her studies and supporting her mother.
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.
Parents of children sponsored in the Philippines turn tree branches into a crepe paper Christmas tree.
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!