Tag: nonprofit work

Gabriela studies at her home in Guatemala.
Jan 11 2017

‘My sponsor is my guardian angel’

Youth continues education with help from sponsor

Gabriela studies at her home in Guatemala.

Gabriela studies at her home in Guatemala.


At 23 years old, Gabriela is determined to complete her education so she can become a lawyer.

Gabriela lives with her mother and three brothers in Guatemala and has been sponsored by Bruno in Canada since 1996. With the support of her family and of her sponsor, Gabriela is closer to her dreams of completing her education and opening a law office to serve the poor, despite the obstacles poverty has put in her way.

“I dream of helping others,” Gabriela said. “I decided to study law because the poor usually don’t have access to a lawyer. I feel that my career will provide the opportunity to help the less fortunate and defend their rights.”

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Mercy is proud to show off the fruits of her and her husband's work on their farm.
Dec 19 2016

Mercy works hard for her sisters’ education

Mercy is proud to show off the fruits of her and her husband's work on their farm.

Mercy is proud to show off the fruits of her and her husband’s work on their farm.


Mercy from Kenya is 29 years old, married and has three children. Mercy and her husband work hard to provide for their children along with Mercy’s younger sister, who she began caring for after her parents passed away.

“I take care of my sister, Caren,” Mercy explains. “My parents died a while back. I am the first-born in a family of six. I am charged with the responsibility of taking care of my siblings.”

Mercy takes this responsibility very seriously, but her and her husband struggled to provide for their own children and had difficulty paying Caren’s school fees on time.

“Each time I saw her chased away from school because of [a lack of] school fees, it hurt me a lot,” Mercy said. “I did not want her going through what I did. I had dropped out of school in class 8, because I had no one to help me pay my school fee.”

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Dec 12 2016

Dedicated to education and helping others

Brayan smiles as he does his homework because he likes to study and is proud of the good grades he gets.

Brayan smiles as he does his homework because he likes to study and is proud of the good grades he gets.

For Brayan, an 11-year-old boy in Bolivia, sponsorship through Unbound could not have come at a better time.

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.”

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Carlos outside his home in Guatemala. He rents a room constructed of corrugated metal for the walls and roof and concrete for the floor.
Dec 9 2016

A lifelong education

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 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.”

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Sponsored member Vaishnavi (center) in Hyderabad, India, celebrates the holiday spirit with her parents.
Dec 5 2016

Giving sponsorship as a gift this Christmas

Sponsored member Vaishnavi (center) in Hyderabad, India, celebrates the holiday spirit with her parents.

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.

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Dec 2 2016

Kendra Scott event benefits Unbound scholars

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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.

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.

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.
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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.