Jacqueline Castiblanco Suarez, who was sponsored through Unbound from the time she was a young girl until she began a career in social work, and Judith Bautista, Unbound’s coordinator in Bogota, Colombia, know a lot about what goes into a good letter. They shared their expertise and gave several tips for writing a letter to your sponsored friend.
By Gustavo Adolfo Aybar, communications services manager for Unbound Sponsor Services
As a native Dominican, raised in the United States the majority of my life, I believed my summer vacations, plus my connection to the island — both personal and through my studies — kept me culturally aware and prepared to serve as an ambassador for families struggling in poverty. That was before I traveled to El Salvador to participate in an Unbound staff awareness trip.
We’re excited to embark on our second annual blogger trip next week, and we hope you’ll follow along.
Five extraordinary bloggers and social media specialists will travel with Unbound to Guatemala where they’ll meet children, families and elders in the Unbound program. The bloggers will post stories and photos about their experiences on their blogs and social networks.
Want to help spread the word? You can follow the journey and share their stories on your own social media channels. Maybe you know someone who will be moved to sponsor a child!
Meet the team of bloggers traveling with us to Guatemala.
Want to learn more about our blogger trips? Read blog posts and meet the bloggers from our blogger trip to El Salvador in 2014.
Our third blogger trip will be in Merida, Mexico, in February 2016. Where should we travel for our fourth blogger trip? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.
Letter writing is an important aspect of Unbound’s sponsorship program. Not only do we require sponsored members to write at least two letters a year to their sponsors, we encourage sponsors to write back. We frequently hear from sponsored members how much getting letters from their sponsors means to them. Sometimes those letters have the ability to change lives.
But when sponsored friends are between sponsors, they don’t have anyone to write to or receive letters from. When sponsors must discontinue their support, their sponsored friends continue to participate in the program and receive assistance while Unbound tries to find new sponsors for them.
Currently, we have more than 5,000 children, youth and elders waiting for new sponsors. Some of them have only been waiting a couple of months, while others have been waiting a couple of years. They’re missing out on a huge part of the Unbound program experience.
Today in the United States we celebrate mail carriers and thank them for their work. In honor of this day, we’d like to say thank you to all those in the U.S. and around the world who help deliver and send mail to and from sponsored friends. Because of you, relationships grow and friendships are formed. Thanks for all of your hard work!
To celebrate today, we’d like to give you a look behind the scenes at a letter’s journey from your sponsored friend. It all starts with a piece of paper and pencil …
Click here to follow the journey of a letter!
By Veronica Batton, writer/editor
It’s around 9 a.m. when Edwin Cocon, a social worker for Unbound in Guatemala, walks into a large room with cinderblock walls and a round tin roof. Wooden tables covered in plastic tablecloths line the walls, and plastic lawn chairs are haphazardly arranged around them.
Cocon begins to straighten the chairs when more than 100 sponsored children, with big smiles and eyes that suggest an eagerness for the day’s activity, flood into the room.
It’s letter-writing day, and there will be several more to come. In a period of 11 days, more than 2,000 sponsored friends will visit this room and compose letters to their sponsors.
Each year Unbound sponsors receive at least two letters and a Christmas card from the person they sponsor. But not as many letters go the other way.
There are lots of reasons for not sending a letter. Not knowing what to say (here are some useful tips), international postage can be a hassle (did you know you can send eLetters?), or maybe life is just plain hectic.
To counter that, here are six reasons from Unbound staff and sponsors on why you should be writing letters.
1. “Each day I communicate in an overwhelming number of ways: social networks, texts, emails, phone calls. However, nothing brightens my day like receiving a little piece of news from one of my sponsored friends in a faraway country. I write because I want them to have the same experience.” — Ellen Edgar, project specialist
By Larry Livingston, senior writer/editor
This month, in cities and towns all over the U.S., Unbound sponsors will be receiving Christmas cards from their sponsored friends. A small expression of cheer, gratitude and creativity, these cards have become a cherished Unbound tradition. But what sponsors may not realize is that when their card arrives in their homes it is at the end of a very long journey.
In most of our 21 countries, the process of creating Christmas cards begins in the summer. Following a few practical guidelines set by the Kansas office, the various project staffs form their individual plans. Some will create themes or design templates, while others set wider parameters that allow for more personal creativity.
By Kathy Ackerman, Unbound sponsor
Kathy Ackerman has been an Unbound sponsor for 12 years. She has been sponsoring Jay for half that time. She shares how one family photo changed the relationship between her family and Jay.
For many years my family has sponsored a child through Unbound. Jay is the second child from the Philippines we have been able to help by providing financial support through this organization.
It is very easy to write a check and feel good about making a difference. We frequently received update letters from Jay. I occasionally sent a short note or card back, but honestly, I didn’t fully invest myself in trying to establish a relationship with this child so far away.
Follow us on our first blogger trip to El Salvador!
Beginning June 1, four bloggers and two journalists will be visiting our project in El Salvador to share stories, photos and videos from the field.
You’ll see content from our travelers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as well as featured stories on their blogs and ours.
Click here to find more about each blogger!