Representing Unbound on the Notre Dame Trail
By Lisa M. Hendey, founder of CatholicMom.com and Unbound sponsor
Sponsor Lisa Hendey on the fifth day of the Notre Dame Trail, a 320-mile walking and biking journey in Indiana.
When I applied up to be a “core pilgrim” for the Notre Dame Trail, I had no idea how my life would be impacted by the simple act of walking. Having spotted information about the 320-mile pilgrimage being undertaken by my alma mater in honor of the university’s 175th anniversary, I decided to go for it and apply.
One special day in the fall of 2016, I received a package letting me know that I’d been selected. Included was an intense training schedule. Suddenly, reality set in: Could I, a 54-year-old non-athlete, be ready to cover that distance in time?
Watch our latest video to learn how your support helps young people build a better future
Students in the countries where Unbound serves are getting a step above the rest through education. They’re making plans for the future and pursuing their educational goals — from secondary school to vocational training to university — and Unbound’s scholarship program is helping them along the way.
In this video, you’ll meet Rosaura in Guatemala. You’ll learn about the hardships of her past, and about her experience as an Unbound scholar and what that means for her future.
“I want to get ahead,” Rosaura said. “I’m giving the best of me because I know nothing is impossible with this scholarship I have.”
Students are building better futures with the help of Unbound scholarships. When you give to our Education fund, you’re helping them along the way. You’re playing a part in their tomorrow.
Stay tuned this month to learn how our scholarship program helps young people around the world and why it works.
Reflections from Madagascar
By Regina Mburu, Unbound’s communications liaison for Africa
Regina Mburu and sponsored elder Michel in Madagascar.
Sponsored elder Michel from Madagascar.
Visiting Madagascar, the fourth largest island in the world, I felt the refreshing breeze of renewed energy and excitement blowing my way.
Madagascar is located off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. I was a bit nervous about the weather because the last time I visited, which was four years ago, there was a day that was so chilly I had to ask for extra blankets from the hotel where I was staying. It was a pleasant welcome when I arrived to see a brilliant blue sky and feel the sun’s rays cast their glow on my skin.
My colleagues from our program in Madagascar were waiting for me at the airport. As it is often said, a radiant smile is the universal sign of welcome. I felt welcomed.
A focus on the realities of housing
Cynthia (right) and her mom, Pamela, in Kenya, enjoy the new home they built with the assistance of Cynthia’s sponsorship benefits. Their previous home was a hut with a thatched roof that exposed them to the elements. In this new home, they feel secure.
This fall, we’re exploring the realities of housing for families around the world through blog posts, social media and print publications.
In the latest edition of Impact, you’ll read about families in Medellin, Colombia, who live in precarious homes so far up steep hills that their main form of transportation is a cable car. You’ll also learn about how housing in Kenya can be vastly different if you live in a rural community compared to an urban one.
Check out the current issue of Impact, and be on the lookout for more stories about housing in our upcoming edition of Living Unbound, scheduled to be published in December.
Have you made a Christmas Fund donation yet? Look for the donation envelope inside your copy of Impact or visit unbound.org/Christmas to make your contribution today!
Sponsored youth Damaris, 23, has faced an uphill battle since childhood to complete her education. Nevertheless, she’s close to reaching her goal of a college degree in human resources.
Every path out of poverty is lined with obstacles. Damaris’ journey has been extraordinarily difficult.
Most sponsored children need additional support to help them continue their studies past primary school. For Damaris, it took sponsorship support and her willingness to work while attending school to afford her living and education expenses.
From left, Chico Chavajay, Hugo Beltran and Manuel Pineda, Unbound program coordinators from Guatemala, Bolivia and Honduras, respectively, visit Unbound headquarters in Kansas City.
A few times a year, the 180-member staff of our headquarters in Kansas City is privileged to welcome some of the greatest leaders in Unbound — our program coordinators from the countries where we work. Recently, three coordinators from Latin America joined us to share, learn and collaborate. They each came prepared to share unique aspects of the program in their countries, and lessons learned that our Kansas City staff members are always eager to hear.
What we learn when we listen
From left, Unbound program coordinators Chico Chavajay, Hugo Beltran and Manuel Pineda present at the second event in our Global Insight Series.
Audience members at Unbound’s second Global Insight Series.
The legendary college basketball coach John Wooden said, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” Coach Wooden would likely have enjoyed what took place on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 14 at Unbound’s headquarters in Kansas City, when three of Unbound’s Latin America program coordinators shared what they’ve learned from the families they serve.
The occasion was the second presentation in the Unbound Global Insight Series, attended by about 100 people. The main presenters were the coordinators of three of our programs in Latin America.
The Global Insight series was begun as a way for sponsors and other interested members of the local community to learn more about the work of Unbound and, especially, to take advantage of the opportunity to hear from those who are closest to the work of the organization in the field.
A staff member's reflection on the reality of poverty in Medellin
The view from the patio of the home of sponsored child Johan in Colombia.
Poverty looks different across countries and regions. What comes easily for one family might be a great struggle for another. From climate to landscape to politics, the conditions of where one lives have a huge, and widely varying, impact on their lives. In upcoming publications, we’re taking a look at the realities of poverty around the Unbound world to get a better glimpse into the lives of the families who are a part of our community.
This fall, we’re focusing that look on the issue of housing, something that impacts every family no matter where they live. Watch your mailboxes for our upcoming edition of Impact on the topic of housing, and read on for a staff member’s reflection on her unexpected experience facing that reality on a trip to Colombia.
Unbound staff members Patricia and Henry (right) say goodbye after visiting the family of sponsored child Johan in Colombia.
By Maureen Lunn, writer/editor
Sitting on a twin bed in a small Colombian home, I felt unusually wary. I’d visited huts and shacks in many countries around the world, but on this visit to the home of an Unbound family in Medellin, I was legitimately nervous. The home I was sitting in felt like it could splinter and fall to the ground far below at any moment.
Sponsored youth 'does not give up so easy'
Edwin uses a ledge in his home to study.
When Edwin was sponsored through Unbound in Costa Rica at 8 years old, he probably never thought he’d have the opportunity to go to college. He and his family faced challenges that would have made getting an education difficult.
“My life was very complicated because sometimes we did not have money to buy food, school supplies or other basic needs,” Edwin said. “With Unbound, thank God, it has been a blessing in our lives.”
Reflections from Guatemala on the occasion of his beatification
Father Stanley Rother at a Carnival celebration in Guatemala. Photo courtesy of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.
Father Stanley Francis Rother served in Guatemala at the mission in Santiago Atitlan starting in 1968. As the Guatemalan civil war raged between military and guerilla forces, the Catholic Church became a target. Determined to stay with the people, Father Stan remained in Guatemala and was murdered in July 1981.
Unbound’s co-founder Bob Hentzen met Father Stan while working in Guatemala. Father Stan’s love for God and people has long served as inspiration for our work.
In December 2016, Pope Francis recognized the martyrdom of Father Stan, whose beatification (the final step before sainthood) will take place Sept. 23 in Oklahoma City. Father Stan was a priest of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, and is the first recognized Catholic martyr born in the United States.
Unbound staff member Barclay Martin recently traveled to Guatemala and listened to the stories of many who knew Father Stan, and here he reflects on that journey.
Reflections from Guatemala on the occasion of his beatification Father Stanley Francis Rother served in Guatemala at the mission in Santiago Atitlan starting in 1968. As the Guatemalan civil war raged between military and guerilla forces, the Catholic Church became a target. Determined to stay with the people, Father Stan remained in Guatemala and was murdered in July 1981. Unbound’s […]