Nov 25 2016

Making Christmas merry in the Philippines

Parents of children sponsored in the Philippines turn tree branches into a crepe paper Christmas tree.

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.

See the photos!

Nov 23 2016

Unbound is thankful for …

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!

Wilber, 12, a sponsored child in Guatemala who hopes to be an architect or engineer someday, partly because "Wilber the architect sounds nice!"
Nov 21 2016

35 snapshots of Unbound: 29-35

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!
Yovana, a social worker for Unbound in Guatemala, who deeply appreciates how members of the Unbound community share similar values, regardless of their backgrounds.
Check out the snapshots

Unbound's 35th anniversary
Nov 20 2016

Happy anniversary, Unbound!

Unbound's 35th anniversary

Unbound was founded 35 years ago this day, Nov. 20. We’re grateful for all that has brought us this far, including our committed sponsors and donors, the hard-working sponsored children and elders and their families, and all the staff near and far who foster those connections. Thank you for being a part of our story.

We’re pleased to announce that Nov. 20, 2016, has been officially proclaimed as Unbound Day in the State of Kansas, the State of Missouri, and the cities of Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri! Thank you to the governors’ and mayors’ offices on both sides of the state line for honoring our 35 years of service with this proclamation!

Happy anniversary, Unbound!

Read our blog series in honor of our anniversary.

Florelia Delgado of Colombia was the first person sponsored through Unbound. She's pictured here in her home city of Bogota.
Nov 18 2016

Meeting the first sponsored child

Florelia Delgado of Colombia was the first person sponsored through Unbound. She's pictured here in her home city of Bogota.

Florelia Delgado of Colombia was the first person sponsored through Unbound. She’s pictured here in her home city of Bogota.

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.

Keep reading

Bob Hentzen walks with families in Guatemala in 2009, at the start of his second marathon walk. His wife, Cristina (far right) walks with them.
Nov 16 2016

Did you know: Our co-founder walked 12,000 miles

Bob Hentzen walks with families in Guatemala in 2009, at the start of his second marathon walk. His wife, Cristina (far right) walks with them.

Bob Hentzen walks with families in Guatemala in 2009, at the start of his second marathon walk. His wife, Cristina (far right) walks with them.


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.

Keep reading

Lyka, 11, is a sponsored child from the Philippines who dreams of becoming a teacher when she grows up so she can help children like her learn to speak English.
Nov 14 2016

35 snapshots of Unbound: 22-28

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!
Lourdu, 76, is a sponsored elder in India who used to play the church organ and piano during Mass and enjoys singing and dancing with his fellow sponsored elders at Unbound events.
Keep reading

Near the time of Unbound's founding, co-founder Bob Hentzen visits a school in rural Honduras, representative of the humble places where some sponsored children were educated in the early days, and continue to be today. This, along with many other historical photos, is featured on our new timeline.
Nov 11 2016

A new way to learn about Unbound’s history

Near the time of Unbound's founding, co-founder Bob Hentzen visits a school in rural Honduras, representative of the humble places where some sponsored children were educated in the early days, and continue to be today. This, along with many other historical photos, is featured on our new timeline.

Near the time of Unbound’s founding, co-founder Bob Hentzen visits a school in rural Honduras, representative of the humble places where some sponsored children were educated in the early days, and continue to be today. This, along with many other historical photos, is featured on our new timeline.


As we celebrate our 35th anniversary this month, we are pleased to present a new way to learn about Unbound’s founding, history, and all that’s happened along the way. Our new timeline will take you on a journey from 1981 until now.

Unbound was founded in 1981 by five lay Catholics who had a vision to challenge poverty in a new way. These five — four siblings and a friend — used their personal Christmas card lists to reach out to the first donors and sponsors, some who still support Unbound today.

The first programs were established in Colombia and Honduras, and over the next several years spread throughout Latin America and ultimately into Africa and Asia. From the first awareness trip to office relocations to cross-continental walks, our history is rich with progress, all with a personal touch.

Visit the new Unbound timeline on our website to see the astonishing changes over the past 35 years, that have grown the movement from the very first sponsored child in Colombia to 310,000 sponsored children and elders in 20 countries today.

Unbound would like to thank all the staff near and far who contributed information to this timeline, and our amazing web and design team for putting it together. Finally, thank you to all those who have been a part of this history — and that includes you!

Check out the history of Unbound.

A small group traveled to Guatemala in 1988 to meet sponsored friends and see our work firsthand. The program continues today, coordinating trips to 15 countries for nearly 1,000 travelers a year.
Nov 9 2016

Did you know: You can travel with Unbound

A small group traveled to Guatemala in 1988 to meet sponsored friends and see our work firsthand. The program continues today, coordinating trips to 15 countries for nearly 1,000 travelers a year.

A small group traveled to Guatemala in 1988 to meet sponsored friends and see our work firsthand. The program continues today, coordinating trips to 15 countries for nearly 1,000 travelers a year.

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.

Some history

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.

It’s life-changing

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.

It’s affordable

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 trips@unbound.org 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.

Maria, 92, is a sponsored elder in El Salvador who enjoys performing folkloric dance for sponsors who visit on awareness trips.
Nov 7 2016

35 snapshots of Unbound: 15-21

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 over the next several weeks leading up to Nov. 20, right here on the blog. Check out the next set of snapshots in the series, and stay tuned!
Maria, 92, is a sponsored elder in El Salvador who enjoys performing folkloric dance for sponsors who visit on awareness trips.
See more photos!

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 […]

Around the world with Unbound